Marjorie Merriweather Post
Post in 1942
|Born||March 15, 1887|
Springfield, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||September 12, 1973 86) (aged|
|Alma mater||Mount Vernon Seminary and College|
|Occupation||Postum Cereal Company, General Foods owner; philanthropist, socialite|
|Net worth||US$5.7 billion (2017 dollars)|
Edward Bennett Close
(m. 1905;div. 1919)
Edward Francis Hutton
(m. 1920;div. 1935)
Joseph E. Davies
(m. 1935;div. 1955)
Herbert A. May
(m. 1958;div. 1964)
Eleanor Post Hutton
|Parent(s)|| Charles William "C. W." Post |
Ella Letitia Merriweather
|Awards||Legion of Honour|
Marjorie Merriweather Post (March 15, 1887 – September 12, 1973) was an American socialite and the owner of General Foods, Inc. She used much of her fortune to collect art, particularly pre-revolutionary Russian art, much of which is now on display at Hillwood, the museum that was her estate. She is also known for building Mar-a-Lago.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
A socialite is a person who plays a prominent role in high society. A socialite spends a significant amount of time attending various fashionable social gatherings.
General Foods Corporation was a company whose direct predecessor was established in the USA by Charles William Post as the Postum Cereal Company in 1895. The name General Foods was adopted in 1929, after several corporate acquisitions. In November 1985, General Foods was acquired by Philip Morris Companies for $5.6 billion, the largest non-oil acquisition to that time. In December 1988, Philip Morris acquired Kraft, Inc., and, in 1990, combined the two food companies as Kraft General Foods (KGF). "General Foods" was dropped from the corporate name in 1995 and now exists only as part of a y in Battle Creek, Michigan, having lived there since 1891, when he was a patient at a holistic sanitarium operated by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Dr. Kellogg, with his brother W.K. Kellogg, had developed a dry corn flake cereal that was part of their patients’s diet. Post's first product, introduced in 1895, was not a cereal, however, but a roasted, cereal-based beverage, Postum. Having developed an aversion to coffee during his time in the sanitarium, Post positioned Postum as a healthy alternative. Its advertising slogan, which he coined himself, was, "There's a Reason." Postum's main ingredients were naturally caffeine-free wheat grain, bran, and molasses. Initially, Postum had to be brewed like coffee, but in 1911, Post introduced a powdered, instant formulation. This version of the product was manufactured in Battle Creek until it was discontinued in 2007. As of January 2013, Eliza's Quest Food had succeeded in returning Postum to many grocery stores across the United States and Canada.
Marjorie Merriweather Post was born in Springfield, Illinois, the daughter and only child of C. W. Post and the former Ella Letitia Merriweather. At age 27, when her father died, she became the owner of the rapidly growing Postum Cereal Company, founded in 1895. She was subsequently the wealthiest woman in the United States, with a fortune worth about US$250 million.
Springfield is the capital of the U.S. state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County. The city's population of 116,250 as of the 2010 U.S. Census makes it the state's sixth most populous city. It is the largest city in central Illinois. As of 2013, the city's population was estimated to have increased to 117,006, with just over 211,700 residents living in the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Sangamon County and the adjacent Menard County.
Charles William "C. W." Post was an American inventor, breakfast cereal and foods manufacturer and a pioneer in the prepared-food industry.
The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the United States Constitution since 1792. In practice, the dollar is divided into 100 smaller cent (¢) units, but is occasionally divided into 1000 mills (₥) for accounting. The circulating paper money consists of Federal Reserve Notes that are denominated in United States dollars.
Post attended the Mount Vernon Seminary and College (now the George Washington University's Mount Vernon Campus). She maintained a close lifelong relationship with her alma mater and served as its first alumna trustee. Today, a collection of her correspondence with Mount Vernon administrators is maintained by GWU's Special Collections Research Center.Post's complete collection of personal papers, as well as those of her father, are held by the University of Michigan's Bentley Historical Library.
The Mount Vernon Seminary and College was a private women's college in Washington, D.C. It merged with George Washington University in 1999 and is now known as the Mount Vernon Campus of The George Washington University.
The George Washington University is a private research university in Washington, D.C. It was chartered in 1821 by an act of the United States Congress.
The University of Michigan, often simply referred to as Michigan, is a public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The university is Michigan's oldest; it was founded in 1817 in Detroit, as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the territory became a state. The school was moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet spread out over a Central Campus and North Campus, two regional campuses in Flint and Dearborn, and a Center in Detroit. The university is a founding member of the Association of American Universities.
In addition to Hillwood and other estates, Post's other lavish home was Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. Designed by Marion Sims Wyeth and Joseph Urban, Mar-a-Lago was willed in 1973 to the United States federal government as a retreat for presidents and visiting foreign dignitaries.The mansion was not, however, used for this purpose, prior to being declared a National Historic Landmark in 1980.
Mar-a-Lago is a resort and National Historic Landmark in Palm Beach, Florida, built from 1924 to 1927 by cereal-company heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post. The 126-room, 62,500-square-foot mansion contains the Mar-a-Lago Club, a members-only club with guest rooms, a spa, and other hotel-style amenities. It is located in Palm Beach County on the Palm Beach barrier island, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Florida's Intracoastal Waterway to the west.
The Town of Palm Beach is an incorporated town in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. The Intracoastal Waterway separates it from the neighboring cities of West Palm Beach and Lake Worth. In 2000, Palm Beach had a year-round population of 10,468, with an estimated seasonal population of 30,000. In 2018, Bloomberg ranked Palm Beach as the 27th-wealthiest place in the United States.
Marion Sims Wyeth (1889–1982) was an American architect. He designed mansions including Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, and Shangri La in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Post and her second husband, E. F. Hutton, owned Sea Cloud (Hussar V), the largest privately owned sea-going yacht in the world at the time.Post also owned Camp Topridge on Upper St. Regis Lake in the Adirondacks, which she considered a "rustic retreat". It included a fully staffed main lodge and private guest cabins, each staffed with its own butler. The expansive Great Camp, built in 1923 by Benjamin A. Muncil, eventually contained nearly 70 buildings, as well as a Russian dacha, on 300 acres. It was one of only two Adirondack camps to be featured in Life magazine. Another home, which she shared with Joseph Davies in Washington, D.C., was called Tregaron.
Edward Francis Hutton was an American financier and co-founder of E. F. Hutton & Co., one of the largest financial firms in the United States.
Sea Cloud is a sailing cruise ship of the Sea Cloud Cruises line. Initially built as a private yacht, it subsequently served as a weather ship for the United States Coast Guard and United States Navy during World War II. The ship served as the first racially integrated warship in the United States Armed Forces since the American Civil War. Following the war, Sea Cloud was returned to private ownership, serving as a yacht for numerous people, including as presidential yacht of the Dominican Republic. The ship currently sails in Europe and the Caribbean as part of a fleet of sail cruise ships operated by Sea Cloud Cruises GmbH of Hamburg, Germany, often under contract to the National Geographic Society. The Sea Cloud is currently the world's oldest ocean going passenger ship.
A yacht is a watercraft used for pleasure or sports. The term originates from the Dutch word jacht, and was originally referencing light fast sailing vessels that the Dutch Republic navy used to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries. The yacht was popularized by Charles II of England as a pleasure or recreation vessel following his restoration in 1660.
Some of Post's jewelry, bequeathed to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, is displayed in the Harry Winston exhibit. Pieces in the collection include the Napoleon Diamond Necklace and the Marie Louise Diadem, a 275-ct (55 g) diamond-and-turquoise necklace and tiara set that Napoleon I gave to his second wife, Empress Marie Louise; a pair of diamond earrings set with pear shapes, weighing 14 ct (2.8 g) and 20 ct (4 g), once belonging to Marie Antoinette; the Blue Heart Diamond, a 30.82-ct (6.164 g) heart-shaped blue diamond ring; and an emerald-and-diamond necklace and ring, once belonging to Mexican emperor Maximilian.
The Smithsonian Institution, founded on August 10, 1846 "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge," is a group of museums and research centers administered by the Government of the United States. The institution is named after its founding donor, British scientist James Smithson. Originally organized as the "United States National Museum," that name ceased to exist as an administrative entity in 1967.
Harry Winston was an American jeweler. He donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958 after owning it for a decade. He also traded the Portuguese Diamond to the Smithsonian in 1963.
The Napoleon Diamond Necklace is a diamond necklace commissioned by Napoleon I of France c. 1811–1812. It is currently on display in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., United States.
Post funded a U.S. Army hospital in France during World War I, and, decades later, the French government awarded her the Legion of Honour. The Merriweather Post Pavilion, an outdoor concert venue in Columbia, Maryland, is named for her.
In 1971, she was among the first three recipients of the Silver Fawn Award, presented by the Boy Scouts of America. The 425-acre (172 ha) Lake Merriweather at Goshen Scout Reservation in Goshen, Virginia, was named in her honor.
During the 1930s, the Soviet government under Joseph Stalin began selling art treasures and other valuables seized from the Romanov family and former Russian aristocrats after the Russian Revolution to earn hard currency for its industrialisation and military armament programs. Critics [ who? ] have claimed that these items were expropriated; however, Post and Davies's transactions were from the recognised governmental authority. Neither she nor Davies were involved with the original seizing of the items. Allegations later surfaced that many works of art from the Tretyakov Gallery and other collections were either donated or offered at nominal prices to Post and Davies, who were both art collectors. Davies is also alleged to have purchased art expropriated from Soviet citizens well after the Russian Revolution, including victims of Stalin's Terror at discount prices from Soviet authorities.
Many of the items, which remain under the control of the Post estate or its agents, can be viewed at Hillwood, her former estate.to Thomas Wells Durant, Merrall MacNeille, and Augustus Riggs IV.
Via his second marriage, Edward Bennett Close would later become the paternal grandfather of actress Glenn Close.
Post was married for a second time, in 1920, to financier Edward Francis Hutton. In 1923, he became the chairman of the board of the Postum Cereal Company, and they developed a larger variety of food products, including Birdseye Frozen Foods. The company became the General Foods Corporation in 1929. Post and Hutton divorced in 1935. They had one daughter:
In 1935, Post married her third husband, Joseph E. Davies, a Washington, D.C. lawyer. They had no children and were divorced in 1955. From 1937 to 1938, in a crucial period leading up to World War II, Davies served as the American ambassador to the Soviet Union, ruled at that time by Joseph Stalin. During this time, Davies and Post acquired many valuable Russian works of art from Soviet authorities.
In 1951, their Long Island estate, which she had purchased in 1922 with Hutton, located in Brookville, New York, was sold to Long Island University for $200,000. It became C.W. Post College in 1954, now known as LIU Post. In 1966, she became honorary housemother of Zeta Beta Tau's Gamma Delta chapter, often hosting the fraternity brothers for brunches. Post served as the honorary house mother of the college's first local fraternity, Sigma Beta Epsilon, which, in 1969, became the New York Beta chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Since Post had borne only girls, she referred to the fraternity of sons-in-law as her "boys", while they called her "Mother Marjorie". Post was honored by Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity as a "Golden Daughter of Minerva".[ citation needed ]
Her final marriage, in 1958, was to Herbert A. May, a wealthy Pittsburgh businessman and the former master of fox hounds of the Rolling Rock Hunt Club in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. That marriage ended in divorce in May 1964 and she subsequently reclaimed the name Marjorie Merriweather Post.
Post died at her Hillwood estate on September 12, 1973, after a long illness,and was buried there. The bulk of her estate was left to her three daughters.
She appears as a character in the movie Mission to Moscow (1943), played by Ann Harding.
As of 2008 [update] , a film based on The New York Times feature "Mystery on Fifth Avenue", describing a riddle-laden renovation of a triplex undertaken by Eric Clough and the architectural firm 212box, built for Merriweather Post in the 1920s, was in development by J. J. Abrams.
Animal Collective's 2009 album Merriweather Post Pavilion is named for the pavilion that bears her name.
The Village of Brookville is a village located within the town of Oyster Bay in Nassau County, New York. As of the 2010 United States Census, the village population was 3,465.
Dina Merrill was an American actress, heiress, socialite, businesswoman, and philanthropist.
Long Island University (LIU) is a private university in the U.S. state of New York, overseas, and online. The university offers more than 500 academic programs at two main campuses, LIU Post and LIU Brooklyn, as well as non-residential programs at LIU Brentwood, LIU Riverhead, and LIU Hudson at Rockland and Westchester. LIU has NCAA Division I and II athletics and hosts the annual George Polk Awards in Journalism.
LIU Post is a private university in Brookville, New York. It is the largest campus of the private Long Island University system.
Barbara Woolworth Hutton was an American debutante, socialite, heiress and philanthropist. She was dubbed the "Poor Little Rich Girl," first when she was given a lavish and expensive debutante ball in 1930, amid the Great Depression, and later due to a notoriously troubled private life.
Mary Laurence "Lauren" Hutton is an American model and actress. Raised in the southern United States, Hutton relocated to New York City in her early adulthood to begin a modeling career. Though she was initially dismissed by agents for a signature gap in her teeth, Hutton signed a modeling contract with Revlon in 1973, which at the time was the biggest contract in the history of the modeling industry.
Mission to Moscow is a 1943 film directed by Michael Curtiz, based on the 1941 book by the former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, Joseph E. Davies.
Norton Townshend Dodge was an American economist who amassed one of the largest collections of Soviet-era art outside the Soviet Union.
Joseph Edward Davies was an American lawyer and diplomat. He was appointed by President Wilson to be Commissioner of Corporations in 1912, and First Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission in 1915. He was the second Ambassador to represent the United States in the Soviet Union and U.S. Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg. From 1939 to 1941 Davies was Special assistant to Secretary of State Hull, in charge of War Emergency Problems and Policies. From 1942 through 1946 he was Chairman of President Roosevelt's War Relief Control Board. Ambassador Davies was Special Advisor of President Harry Truman and Secretary of State James F. Byrnes with rank of Ambassador at the Potsdam Conference in 1945.
The Twelve Monograms egg, also known as the Alexander III Portraits egg, is an Easter egg made under the supervision of the Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé in 1896 for Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. It was presented by Nicholas II to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. The egg was the second Fabergé egg ever given by Nicholas II to his mother as an Easter present.
Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens is a decorative arts museum in Washington, D.C., United States. The former residence of businesswoman, socialite, philanthropist and collector Marjorie Merriweather Post, Hillwood is known for its large decorative arts collection that focuses heavily on the House of Romanov, including Fabergé eggs. Other highlights are 18th and 19th century French art and one of the country's finest orchid collections.
Tregaron Estate, formerly known as The Causeway, is a country house estate located in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Northwest, Washington, D.C.. The Estate, built in 1912, was designed by architect Charles Adams Platt and landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman. The original owners Alice and James Parmelee, lived at the estate from its construction until 1940. From 1942 to 1958 it was occupied by Joseph E. Davies, who had served as the ambassador for the United States to Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Soviet Union and his second wife Post Cereal Company heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. They renamed the estate Tregaron. Today the estate is occupied by a campus for the Washington International School and the Tregaron Conservancy.
Eleanor Post Hutton was an American heiress and socialite. Born a "Close", her name changed to "Hutton" with her mother's 1920 remarriage to Edward Francis Hutton.
A Boyar Wedding Feast was painted in 1883 by Russian artist Konstantin Makovsky (1839–1915). The painting shows a toast at a wedding feast following a boyar marriage, where the bride and the groom are expected to kiss each other. The bride looks sad and reluctant, while the elderly attendant standing behind her encourages the bride to kiss the groom. The work won a gold medal at the World’s Fair held in Antwerp, Belgium in 1885, and is considered to be one of Makovsky’s most popular works.
Catherine the Great Egg also known as Grisaille Egg and Pink Cameo Egg is an Imperial Fabergé egg, one of a series of fifty-four jewelled enameled Easter eggs made under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé for the Russian Imperial family.
Dorothy Sarbitt was an English silversmith; she also produced work under the name Dorothy Mills.