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Austin Merrill Mecklem and Marianne Greer Appel papers, 1910-2009

Mecklem, Austin Merrill, 1894-1951

Muralist, Painter

Collection Information

Size: 5 Linear feet 0.035 Gigabytes

Summary: The Austin Merrill Mecklem and Marianne Greer Appel papers measure 5.0 linear feet and 0.035 GB and date from 1910-2006, with the bulk of materials dating from 1928-1977. Correspondence, writings, drawings, printed and digital material, miscellaneous items and photographs document Mecklem as an artist, muralist and art instructor and Appel as an artist, puppet designer and author and illustrator of children's books. A significant portion of Appel's papers consist of drafts of two illustrated children's books.
Austin Mecklem's papers include biographical materials, personal and professional correspondence and letters, and printed material from the WPA. Printed material includes newspaper clippings, exhibition catalogs, announcements and press releases, and an article from Fortune Magazine concerning the Coulee Dam, a subject of interest to Mecklem. Digital material consists of "Catalogue Raisonee as of February 2009".
Of particular note are Mecklem's lecture and teaching notes on the "Fundamentals of Art" prepared for his class at the Albright Art School. Also, there are photographs of Mecklem's paintings and murals, including his design for a mural for the Recorder of Deeds Building in Washington, D. C. Original artwork by Mecklem includes the blueprint for the Portland, Connecticut Post Office mural, drawings on tissue paper, a watercolor landscape, and a cartoon entitled "Life at the High."
Appel's papers consist of drafts of children's books, "The Story of Juliet" (1945) and "Perlydew" (after 1953), correspondence, writings, sketches and clippings from the period after Mecklem's death. Correspondence includes personal letters and letters from the Federal Works Agency Public Buildings Administration regarding the Agency's purchase of Appel's artwork. Also found are sketch books and an original watercolor signed by Appel.
Also found are photographs of friends and family as well as photographs of Appel's paintings and puppets she designed. Some photographs of puppets carry notes by Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets. Appel's book drafts include manuscripts, both typed and hand-written, with layouts and illustrations in tempera or gouache.
This collection contains scattered notes by the donors which identify or explain materials.
There is an unprocessed addition of 3.6 linear feet donated in 2019 relating to Marianne Greer Appel including biographical material, correspondence, writings, rare published and printed material, photographs, and preliminary works of art.

Biographical/Historical Note

Artists Austin Merrill Mecklem "Meck" (1894-1951) and Marianne Greer Appel (1913-1988) married in 1937 and lived and worked in Woodstock, New York as part of the Woodstock artists' colony, Maverick. Mecklem died in 1951 at age 56. In 1953, Appel and her two daughters moved to New York City where she pursued a career as a puppet designer and author and illustrator of children's books. She worked for puppeteer, Bill Baird, and later, Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets. Appel married Carl Harms, actor and puppeteer, in 1960.

Provenance

The papers were donated in 2010 by Sarah Greer Mecklem and Merrill Mecklem Piera, Austin Mecklem's and Marianne Appel's daughters, and in 2019 by Sarah Greer Mecklem.