Madison Mitchell (1901-1993) Havre de Grace, Maryland
Madison Mitchell, who once said all he wanted to do was be a good funeral director and carve things out of wood in his free time, carved tens of thousands of decoys throughout his 60 year career. Mitchell is most famous for his duck and geese carvings, which he created in a small shop behind his funeral parlor, some of which have sold for over $10,000, as well as for his notable influence on other carvers. Mitchell began carving in 1924, when business at his family-owned funeral home was slow, and carved until his eye sight went bad in the 1980s. Along the way to becoming “the dean of Havre de Grace decoy makers,” Mitchell helped teach carvers of future generations, many of which he hired to work at his shop. His style is characterized by carefully detailed feathers and painting, done with world class precision. Today, some of Mitchell’s work is displayed by the Smithsonian Institute but the majority of it has been immortalized at the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum, which Mitchell himself helped found.