AMERICAN EMPRESS is the best-selling history of the dramatic life of heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, daughter of breakfast-cereal magnate C.W. Post, founder of the Postum Cereal Company.
As a girl growing up in the Midwest, young Marjorie Post helped glue cereal boxes in her father’s barn, later sat on the board of directors of her father’s company, wed several times and by late middle age was widely acknowledged as the “ Queen of Washington, D.C.” because of her friendship with presidents, senators, diplomats and royalty.
During the nearly nine decades of her life, the beautiful and vastly wealthy Mrs. Post had four husbands – among them, stockbroker, E.F. Hutton and Joseph Davies, ambassador to Soviet Russia under Stalin – built several glittering mansions, including Palm Beach’s legendary Mar-A-Lago and sailed the seven seas on her huge yacht, the Sea Cloud.
A glamorous and warm-hearted woman who retained her Midwestern twang and fondness for square dancing, Mrs. Post was also mother to actress Dina Merrill. Throughout her life, she gave generously to hundreds of civic and artistic cause, among them the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Ballet, and the Kennedy Center.
Thanks to her brains, beauty and vast wealth, Mrs. Post was a woman well ahead of her era, whose natural business acumen created the frozen foods industry and helped transform the Postum Cereal Company into the General Foods Corporation.
A sweeping social history about one of America's most beautiful, wealthy and generous heiresses,the "Duchess of Washington, D.C." and the "Queen of Palm Beach," a friend to the crowned heads of Europe as well as to American presidents, first ladies, senators and diplomats.
The daughter of breakfast-cereal magnate, C.W. Post, Marjorie Post's story traces her rise from her middle-class Midwestern roots to the pinnacle of America's high society. Along the way she married four times, anonymously gave thousands of dollars to widows, students and soldiers and earned the respect of hundreds of people for her charity, wit and charm.
This entrancing biography of Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973)-socialite, businesswoman, Palm Beach, Fla., pacesetter, opulent Washington hostess, philanthropist-is full of high drama, gossip, scandal and international political intrigue. Her father, C.W. (Charles William) Post, cured of ``invalidism'' at the Battle Creek, Mich., sanatorium of Dr. John Kellogg (inventor of packaged breakfast cereal), went on to develop Postum, a coffee substitute, and Post Toasties cereal. When C.W. killed himself in 1914, Marjorie, his only child, became sole heir of the Postum Cereal Co. With her sexually unfaithful second husband, stockbroker E.F. Hutton, Postum acquired Clarence Birdseye's frozen foods company, General Foods, which, partly through Post's influence as a board member, diversified into a food empire. Her third husband, Washington lobbyist Joseph Davies, became FDR's ambassador to the Soviet Union and helped cement the Soviet-U.S. alliance against Hitler. While living in Russia, Post was appalled at the Soviet police state. She divorced fourth husband Herbert May, a Pittsburgh executive, after a blackmailer's photographers revealed his homosexuality. Rubin, a frequent contributor to the New York Times, limns a warm, generous Christian Scientist, an imperious, perfectionist mother of three daughters, a down-to-earth woman who held square-dance parties and peppered her speech with expletives. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Town & Country.