Marjorie Merriweather Post

Is your surname Post?

Research the Post family

Marjorie Merriweather Post's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

Marjorie Merriweather Post

Birthdate: (86)
Birthplace: Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, United States
Death: Died
Place of Burial: Washington, District of Columbia, United States (cremated remains)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Charles William Post and Ella Letitia Merriweather
Wife of Herbert A May
Ex-wife of Edward Bennett Close; Edward Francis Hutton and Joseph E. Davies
Mother of Adelaide Breevort Close; Eleanor Barzin Hutton Habe (Bekessy) and Dina Merrill
Sister of Rollin Tracy Post

Occupation: Heir to Post Cereals, later becoming the wealthiest woman in America when her fortune reached approximately 5 billon dollars
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
view all 14

Immediate Family

About Marjorie Merriweather Post

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Marjorie Merriweather Post a.k.a. Marjorie Merriweather Post Close Hutton Davies May (March 15, 1887 – September 12, 1973) was a leading American socialite and the founder of General Foods, Inc. She was 27 when her father died, and she became the owner of the rapidly growing Postum Cereal Company later becoming the wealthiest woman in America when her fortune reached approximately USD$250 million.

Five billion dollars in todays money/

Marjorie Post was born in Springfield, Illinois, the daughter of C. W. Post and Ella Letitia Merriweather.

Contents

1 Marriages

2 Russian Art Collection

3 Lifestyle

4 Movie

5 Notes

6 References

7 External links

[edit]Marriages

Post married four times. In 1905, she married investment banker Edward Bennett Close of Greenwich, Connecticut: They divorced in 1919. Their eldest daughter Adelaide married Thomas Durrant, Merrall McNeille, and banker Augustus Riggs; their second daughter, Eleanor Post Close, later known in the media as Eleanor Post Hutton, married director Preston Sturges, Etienne Marie Robert Gautier, George Curtis Rand, Hans Habe, Owen D. Johnson, and conductor Leon Barzin. By his second marriage, Edward Close would become the paternal grandfather of actress Glenn Close.

Secondly, she married, in 1920, Edward Francis Hutton, financier. In 1923, E. F. Hutton 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. Post and Hutton divorced in 1935. Their only child, Nedenia Marjorie, became an actress under the name Dina Merrill, who married Stanley M. Rumbough, Jr., actor Cliff Robertson, and Ted Hartley.

In 1935 Post married, as her third husband, Joseph E. Davies, a Washington lawyer: They divorced in 1955. The couple lived in the Soviet Union from 1937 to 1938, while he served as second American ambassador to the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. During this time, Davies and Post acquired many valuable Russian works of art from Soviet authorities.

In 1951 their home, Hillwood located in Brookville, Long Island was sold to Long Island University for $200,000. It became C.W. Post College, now known as the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University.

Her final marriage occurred in 1958 to Herbert A. May, a wealthy Pittsburgh businessman, and former Master of Fox Hounds of The Rolling Rock Hunt Club in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. She divorced May in 1964, and subsequently reclaimed her full maiden name of Marjorie Merriweather Post.

[edit]Russian Art Collection

During the 1930s, the Soviet government under Joseph Stalin began selling art treasures and other valuables seized from the Romanov family and other Russian citizens after the Russian revolution in order to earn hard currency for its industrialization and military armament programs. Critics have claimed that these items were expropriated, however Post's transactions were from the recognized governmental authority. She herself (or Davies for that matter) were not involved with the original seizing of the items.

It was later alleged that many works of art from the Tretyakov Gallery and other collections were either donated or offered at nominal prices to Post and her then-husband Joseph E. 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.[1]

Many of the items which remain under the control of the Post estate or their agents can be viewed at former Washington DC estate of Post, Hillwood, which has operated as a private museum since Mrs. Post's death.

[edit]Lifestyle

Mar-A-Lago, Marjorie Merriweather Post's estate on Palm Beach Island. Library of Congress photograph, HABS.

Entrance to Mar-A-Lago owner's suite, April 1967.

Marjorie Merriweather Post was also known for her lavish homes, the largest of which was Mar-A-Lago which is located in Palm Beach, Florida. Designed by Joseph Urban, Mar-A-Lago was purchased from the Post Family Trust by Donald Trump. Trump in turn had the 110,000 square foot (10,000 m²) house completely restored to its original state. Mar-A-Lago originally had 115 rooms and a 9-hole golf course, and sits on a strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Worth. It is nicknamed "the jewel of Palm Beach." Mrs. Post's other estate, Hillwood (Washington, D.C.), is operated as a museum, displaying her French and Russian art collection featuring the work of Faberge, Sèvres porcelain, French furniture, tapestries, and paintings.

With her second husband, E. F. Hutton, she was the owner of Sea Cloud (Hussar II), the largest privately owned sea-going yacht in the world. Post also owned Camp Topridge in the Adirondacks, which she considered a "rustic retreat", with a fully staffed main lodge and private guest cabins, each staffed with its own butler. The Huttons also owned Hillwood in Brookville, New York, which later became the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University. Another home, which she shared with Joseph Davies in Washington, D.C., was called Tregaron.

Marjorie Post donated some of her jewelry to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.; it is displayed in the Harry Winston exhibit. Pieces in the collection include the Napoleon Necklace and Marie Louise Diadem (a 275 carat (55 g) diamond and turquoise necklace and tiara set Napoleon I gave to his second wife, Empress Marie Louise), a pair of 20 carat (4 g) diamond earrings belonging to Marie Antoinette, a 30.82 carat (6.164 g) blue heart diamond ring, and an emerald and diamond necklace and ring belonging to Mexican emperor Maximilian.

Her donation of funds to construct field hospitals in France during World War I was recognized by the French government awarding her the Legion of Honor. In 1971 she was among the first three recipients of the Silver Fawn Award presented by the Boy Scouts of America.

The Merriweather Post Pavilion, an outdoor concert venue, in Columbia, Maryland is named for her.

The Marjorie R. Post Park in Massapequa Park, New York on Long Island has been incorrectly linked with the cereal heiress, but that park was in fact named for Marjorie R. Post (now Marjorie Toombs of Vermont), who was the first woman elected to the board of the Town of Oyster Bay. It is unknown at this time if there is any connection between the Long Island branch of Marjorie Merriweather Post's family and that of Marjorie R. Post for whom the park in Massapequa is named.


Marjorie Merriweather Post in Springfield, Illinois) was a leading American socialite and the owner of General Foods, Inc.

She was the daughter of C. W. Post and 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. She attended the Mount Vernon Seminary and College (now the George Washington University's Mount Vernon Campus). Post maintained a close lifelong relationship with her alma mater and served as the first alumna trustee of Mount Vernon Seminary and College. 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.

In addition to Hillwood and other estates, Marjorie Merriweather 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 U.S. 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. It was purchased by businessman Donald Trump in 1985. 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 Ben 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, DC, was called Tregaron. Some of Post's jewelry bequeathed to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, is displayed in the Harry Winston exhibit. Pieces in the collection include the Napoleon Necklace and the Marie Louise Diadem (a 275 ct. [55g] 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.(2.8g) and 20 ct. (4g), once belonging to Marie Antoinette; the Blue Heart Diamond, a 30.82 ct. (6.164g) heart-shaped blue diamond ring; and an emerald-and-diamond necklace and ring, once belonging to Mexican emperor Maximilian. She funded a U.S. Army hospital in France during World War I, and, decades later, the French government awarded her the Legion of Honor. In 1971, she was among the first three recipients of the Silver Fawn Award, presented by the Boy Scouts of America. The Merriweather Post Pavilion, an outdoor concert venue in Columbia, Maryland, is named for her.

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 industrialization and military armament programs. Critics have claimed that these items were expropriated; however, Post and Davies's transactions were from the recognized governmental authority. Neither she nor Davies was 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 the agents, can be viewed at Hillwood, the former Washington, DC, estate of Post. It has operated as a private museum since Post's death and displays her French and Russian art collection, featuring the work of Fabergé, Sèvres porcelain, French furniture, tapestries, and paintings.

Post married four times. In 1905, she married investment banker Edward Bennett Close of Greenwich, Connecticut, and they divorced in 1919. Together, they had: Adelaide Close (1908–1998), who married three times, to Thomas Wells Durant, Merrall MacNeille, and Augustus Riggs IV. Eleanor Post Close (1909–2006), later known in the media as "Eleanor Post Hutton", married six times, to film director Preston Sturges, Etienne Marie Robert Gautier, George Curtis Rand, Hans Habe, Owen D. Johnson (son of author Owen Johnson), and orchestral conductor Leon Barzin. Via his second marriage, Edward Bennett Close would 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 child: Nedenia Marjorie Hutton (b. 1923), better known as actress "Dina Merrill." Marjorie Merriweather Post and her husband Ambassador Joseph E. Davies, at center, with Carton Skinner at a presentation of a Naval Reserve Pennant. Marjorie Merriweather Post and her husband Ambassador Joseph E. Davies (center) with Carlton Skinner at a presentation of a Naval Reserve Pennant. In 1935, Post married her third husband, Joseph E. Davies, a Washington, DC, lawyer. They had no children and were divorced in 1955. During 1937-38, in a crucial period leading up to World War II, Davies served as the second 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 (the original Hillwood) which she originally 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". 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. The bulk of her estate was left to her three daughters.

view all 13

Marjorie Merriweather Post's Timeline

1887
March 15, 1887
Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, United States
1908
1908
Age 20
Greenwich, Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States
1909
December 3, 1909
Age 22
Greenwich, Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
1923
December 29, 1923
Age 36
New York, New York, United States
1973
September 12, 1973
Age 86