Living Artfully is a beautifully illustrated account of life within the three magnificent homes of Marjorie Merriweather Post, one of America’s most stylish and powerful women. It draws on the recollections of her butler, property caretaker, head gardener, estate superintendent, and distinguished guests to reveal the lively inner workings and polished hospitality of her homes from the late 1950s to the early 1970s.
Marjorie Post (1887–1973) was a director of Postum Cereal, a company she inherited from her father, which grew
to become General Foods, purveyor of the popular breakfast cereals Post Toasties and Grape Nuts, and a range of other products from Jell-O to Maxwell House Coffee. In addition to her corporate duties, Mrs. Post was a philanthropist, patriot, internationalist, and passionate art collector. From 1957 onwards she lived in stately Hillwood in Washington, D.C. for spring and autumn, retreated to Camp Topridge in the Adirondacks for the summer, and enjoyed the winter
season at Mar-A-Lago, her glamorous villa in Palm Beach.
This book follows her yearly calendar and offers a vibrant and intimate picture of life in each residence—for Marjorie Post, her guests and her staff. Author Estella M. Chung has based her engaging account on oral history interviews granted to Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens historians by Marjorie Post’s staff and guests. Their stories offer a
glimpse into Post’s many talents and sense of humour, as well as her idiosyncrasies—including refusing to use the word “servant” in reference to her highly valued butlers and personal maids. How she created a stunningly artful life, managed with precision and practicality, is not only fascinating, but instructive; one witness to her lifestyle called it “a treasure.” Living Artfully shares an abundance of photographs, hand-written and typed notes, menus, invitation
cards, and other ephemera, much of this material published for the first time.
Estella M. Chung is director of Collections and co-chair of Exhibitions at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens,
in Washington, D.C.