Marjorie Merriweather Post was born just 13 years shy of the dawn of the 20th century. Not an insignificant fact for a woman who at the time of her death was director emerita of General Foods and one of the wealthiest women in the country. The company, created by her father, produced such foods as GrapeNuts, Jell-O, Birdseye, and Postum and all of these were served in the Post household throughout her life. As an only child Marjorie inherited the company at age 25 when her father died in 1912, it would be another eight years before she could vote.
Her management style and keen sense of organization permeated every aspect of her business and personal life. The way in which her deft meticulousness came through in her homes is beautifully described in LIVING ARTFULLY, a book by Estella M Chung. LIVING ARTFULLY, At Home with Marjorie Merriweather Post gives us insights into her legendary planning skills as the owner of extraordinary homes and The Sea Cloud, a 300 foot sailing yacht.
Marjorie was the ‘conceptualizer’ of her households. She had a vision for how she wanted things to be and be done. Marjorie also had a purpose, which was to enjoy it all and share it with others, and she used all of her resources to accomplish this.
She moved between her houses from season to season on the Merriweather, her turboprop jet. Frequently she brought her friends, allowing them time away from Washington. Whether at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach or Camp Topridge in the Adirondacks, her life, lived artfully, is one with an abundance of lessons for any age. Full of ideas that are adaptable, meaningful and relevant for today, LIVING ARTFULLY makes us ever so aware of the fact that while Mrs. Post had a vast fortune, the underlying theme of her life was one of generosity, thoughtfulness and hospitality, qualities that never go out of style.
“Do whatever you want regardless of the planned activities offered, and if there is anything you want and you don’t ask for it, it’s your own fault.” – Marjorie Merriweather Post
In Charlotte’s newest book, CHARLOTTE MOSS ENTERTAINS, she looks at Marjorie as “The Record Keeper.”
Marjorie was an enviable chatelaine who made it all look easy, because she was disciplined, optimistic, energetic, and highly organized.
Marjorie was meticulous about record-keeping and thinking of every contingency—from documenting every Christmas gift she ever received to handing out heel protectors to female guests to safeguard wooden floors. For her dinner parties, butlers worked all day perfecting tables, using yardsticks to measure the precise placement of dinner plates, napkins, silver, and candleholders. At Hillwood, her property in Washington, D. C., the table settings included the Russian Imperial service, while at Topridge, her Adirondack camp, she used Copeland, Franciscan, and Staffordshire.
As a hostess, she was generous beyond compare.
To learn more about Marjorie Merriweather Post and to see tastemakers Charlotte Moss, Alex Papachristidis, Gaye Tapp, Barry Dixon, Timothy Corrigan, Hutton Wilkinson & Josh Hildreth present tablesettings inspired by her exceptional flair for entertaining, go to the Hillwood Museum’s website.