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.
Both Mecklem and Appel were associated with the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Mecklem received notable commissions from the WPA, including the painting of murals for the Recorder of Deeds Building in Washington, D. C., the Wrangell, Alaska Custom House and Post Office, and the Post Office in Portland, Connecticut. Mecklem also taught art at the Museum School in Portland, Oregon, the Art Students League in New York, the Albright Art School in Buffalo, New York, and the Woodstock School of Painting. Mecklem's work has been exhibited in a number of one-man shows and at major museums such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Austin Mecklem was born in Califax, Washington and studied at Washington State University, the San Francisco School of Fine Arts, the Art Students League in New York and in Paris and Holland. His first marriage to Hannah Small, also of the Woodstock artist's colony, ended in divorce. In 1906 Appel began her studies at the Woodstock School, where she met Mecklem. Appel's work has been exhibited at museums such as the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago.