The Carolina Decoy Collectors Association is an association of individuals organized to promote the preservation of artifacts and information related to waterfowl decoys of the Carolinas and Southern Virginia, to provide educational opportunities for decoy collectors, and to maintain a growing historical record relating to decoys and decoy carvers of the region.
In 1977, the concept of forming an association of decoy collectors in North Carolina was first envisioned. Today, the Carolina Decoy Collectors Association strives to support decoy related activities and create a better environment for collectors, carvers, decoy related festivals, waterfowl heritage museums and decoy auction companies.
In 1977, the concept of forming an association of decoy collectors in North Carolina was first envisioned by Malcolm Fleming and DC North, both residents of the Wilmington, NC area. Collecting decoys in the coastal areas of the state was evolving and a common interest among collectors was growing. The first meeting was held in 1978 at Malcolm’s house with 5 to 6 other collectors or carvers attending. The next meeting was held at the Pleasant Oaks Plantation on the Cape Fear River just outside of Wilmington. In 1979, Malcolm Fleming drew a sketch of a Lee Dudley teal that was adopted as the logo. This same sketch was used to create the current association logo that was designed and adopted by the association in 2010. Membership grew to around 50 members over the years so in the early 1980s Donald Mayo, an attorney and member from New Bern, drafted bylaws for the group as a social association.
The association was named the Carolina Decoy Collectors and Carvers Association. The purpose of the association was: to provide a medium of exchange of information about decoys; advance knowledge and interest in decoys; organize and conduct educational meeting about decoys; assist museums and other groups in advancing information about decoys and finally to promote decoy collecting and carving. The organization collected dues to financially support its business and elected officers to conduct its operations.
From the 1980s until 2005, the association’s activities were conducted as a social organization. Membership grew to 150 members in the 1990s and many educational and social events were held for the membership and public at large. With the evolution of the Core Sound Carvers Guild and the Back Bay Carvers Guild, the focus of the membership narrowed to collecting decoys. The decoy carvers evolved into a more specialized organization.
In 2005 under the guidance of the then president, Kroghie Andresen and the board, the association formally changed its name to the Carolina Decoy Collectors Association through its 501C3 filing with the Secretary of State in North Carolina. From then on the contributions to support the organization were tax exempt. The bylaws were updated and the purpose expanded to include more involvement in decoy commerce. A code of ethics was adopted to provide a safe medium of exchange for sale of decoys by dealers and collectors alike. The association became more involved in overseeing problems found in decoy sale transactions. Additionally, educational programs, support of the Harkers Island Festival and participation with museums sponsoring decoy exhibits were emphasized by the association. Today the association has over 100 active members, mostly in North Carolina.
In the past several years under the leadership of Howard Johnson, president, Lynn Wiggs, past president and Jesse Sorrell, secretary/treasurer, the association membership has grown. Educational programs in Manteo, NC and Raleigh were well attended and the association’s annual old decoy exhibit during the Harkers Island Festival has become a routine part of the show’s activities. In 2011, to further support related museums and decoy festivals and specifically decoy education, the association published its first book. The book is entitled: Master Decoy Carver: Mitchell Fulcher. Donations from CDCA members were made to produce the book. The association has a book donation program where books are given to two other decoy related entities – Core Sound Carvers Guild and the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center. Through this book donation program, all three entities are selling the Mitchell Fulcher book to the public.
Looking into the future, the Carolina Decoy Collectors Association will strive to support decoy related activities and achieve its goals and objectives in creating a better environment for collectors, carvers, decoy related festivals, waterfowl heritage museums and decoy auction companies. The Association is working towards increasing its presence on social media outlets and is currently developing a website in order to better serve the membership and potential new members.