Thomas H. Gelston (1851-1924) Oyster Bay, New York
Thomas Gelston was the descendent of a prominent Long Island family. Although he enjoyed the privileges of wealth, Gelston clearly favored hunting the marshes of the bays to making his way in the business world. It was there that he honed his talent for gunning and a life- long appreciation for the wildfowl which inhabited the area. Gelston carved decoys for his own use and those wealthy sportsmen who came out from New York City to the hunt clubs that dotted the bays of Long Island.
A carver of considerable talent, in later life, Gelston and his son, George sold decoys to Abercrombie and Fitch of New York. Gelston worked in both wood and cork. His snipe and duck decoys are carved with great care. Gelston's talent for shaping the heads of his birds was a distinguishing feature of his work.
For additional information
American Bird Decoys, 1965 by William J. Mackey, Jr.
The Art of the Decoy: American Bird Carvings, 1965 by Adele Ernest.
Decoys - A North American Survey, 1983 by Gene and Lindy Kangas.
Decoy Magazine, January/February 2002.
Gunners Paradise: Wildfowling and Decoying on Long Island, 1979 by Jane E. Townsend.
Wildfowl Decoys, 1934 by Joel Barber.