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If you’re born a woman in the late nineteenth century, even if you’re the richest heiress in America—and therefore the world—it’s not necessarily going well. You may end up indulging in your already laid out life, marrying a billionaire from “the round” and ending up with boredom slowly leading you towards old age. In the nineteenth century, it went like this for many, many women. Not for Marjorie Merriweather Post. A name that made headlines throughout the twentieth century, associated with one of the most important, influential, rich and classical personalities in the entire West. Marjorie was born in 1887 in Springfield, Illinois, the daughter of CW Post and Ella Letitia Merriweather. A bucolic childhood growing up in Battle Creek, in the middle of the fields, which was soon abandoned to follow one of the most sought-after courses in all of Washington, with the purpose of preparing her to join her father’s business, the Postum Cereal Company, founded in 1895 and immediately in dominant progress on the grain market. In fact, Marjorie’s fate was sealed: her father brought her up by putting her in touch with the factory, making her attend meetings and taking her to Europe on business trips with more than Grand Tour than carefree holidays. Marjorie proves that she is not only able to inherit the weight of one of the first multinational companies in the world, but also to increase its turnover, making it much more than a family business and itself being a point of reference for many women.
Marjorie’s life changed forever in 1914 when her father CW Post died and left her the Postum Cereal Company. A 27-year-old woman with two daughters, a marriage close to divorce with the investor Edward Bennet Close, married in 1905, must thus lead a billionaire company. It was at this time that Marjorie Merriweather Post expanded the company, acquiring several brands and changing its name to what is still a cereal giant, General Foods, remaining in charge until 1958.
However, Marjorie Merriweather Post’s greatness lies not only in her vocation and entrepreneurial skills. Hers was a soul as restless as it was elegant, leading her to be a point of reference for the entire world’s high society. With his great passion for art, he gave home and shelter to numerous works of Russian art during the Stalinist period; he bought many works of art dating back to the Romanov period directly from Stalin and placed them in his many houses. Yes, the houses.
Marjorie was a real collector, not only of art and husbands – a total of four marriages and four divorces – but also of very luxurious homes that were to remain symbols of a great society that has now disappeared. Houses scattered across America, adorned with art and precious and historic jewels, such as those found in Washington at her beloved Hillwood – now a museum – or at her summer estate, Camp Topridge, in the Adirondack Mountains, which she herself considers “rustic ” but which actually consisted of dozens of villas all provided with butlers; or like the mythological Mar-a-Lago that has recently come back to prominence as a property and bow retiro by Donald Trump, who bought it from the Post heirs in the 1980s. Mar-a-Lago consists of a 115-room residence with gold detailing, Italian and Spanish majolica, and a gold ceiling copied from the Academy of Venice. An unbridled luxury jewel that cost $2.5 million in 1927.
But like all socialists – and indeed, being the point of reference for all socialites – Marjorie was involved in charity. The University of Long Island, the Boy Scouts as well as the National Cultural Center in Washington and the National Symphony are just some of the entities and institutions that have received large donations from Marjorie Merriweather Post. With her death in 1973, her empire was inherited by her three daughters, but the legacy for the rest of the world was an example of elegance, entrepreneurial spirit and being an independent woman who was able to influence the costume and in the culture. the twentieth century.
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