American Empress

American Empress

by Nancy Rubin Stuart
     
 

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American Empress is a sweeping history of the dramatic life of heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, daughter of breakfast-cereal magnate C. W. Post. As a young girl growing up in the Midwest, Marjorie Post helped glue cereal boxes in her father's barn, later became a board member of his company, wed a diplomat and by late middle age was widely acknowledged as the… See more details below

Overview

American Empress is a sweeping history of the dramatic life of heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, daughter of breakfast-cereal magnate C. W. Post. As a young girl growing up in the Midwest, Marjorie Post helped glue cereal boxes in her father's barn, later became a board member of his company, wed a diplomat and by late middle age was widely acknowledged as the unofficial "Queen of Washington, D.C."
The glamorous and warm-hearted Mrs. Post was also mother to actress Dina Merrill. Throughout her life, she gave generously to hundreds of civic, artistic and philanthropic causes, among which were the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Ballet and the Kennedy Center. By virtue of her brains, beauty and great wealth, Mrs. Post was a woman well ahead of her era, whose natural business acumen created the frozen foods industry and transformed the Postum Cereal Company into the General Foods Corporation.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Rubin (Isabella of Castile, LJ 10/15/91) here delivers a sympathetic yet balanced biography of one of the 20th century's wealthiest women. Post inherited her fortune at the age of 27 from her father, C.W. Post, an early leader in the dry cereals industry. Her event-filled life, which included four marriages and dealings with many of the world's business and political leaders, was characterized both by generosity and extravagance. By contemporary standards, the role she played in shaping the development of General Foods seems less than extraordinary but was progressive by the standards of her day. Rubin successfully portrays the many facets of Post's life (philanthropist, socialite, mother, wife) and the high-society world in which she lived. A work with general appeal; recommended for popular history and business collections.-Mark McCullough, Heterick Lib., Ohio Northern Univ., Ada
"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....Mrs. Rubin...limns a warm, generous Christian Scientist, an imperious perfectionsist mother of three daughters, a down-to-earth woman who held square-dance parties and peppered her speach with expletives."
American Empress, 12/30/1899
Elaine Kendall
“A Vibrant Tribute to an Enchanting Lady...The biography is not only a tribute to one of the century’s great ladies, but a fascinating social history of American life from 1887 when Marjorie Post was born, to 1973 when she died at the age of 86...Resilient, optimistic, and marvelously genuine, Marjories Merriweather Post seems entitled to every accolade in this vibrant and thoughtful biography.”
American Empress, 12/30/1899
pauline Mayer
"She was rich and famous, and did it very well....it is refreshing to read of a woman who handled both enormous wealth and personal traumas with dignity, who dwelt in extravagant opulence, but gave with extravagant generosity. No poor little rich girl, Marjorie Merriweather Post. Hers was a truly rich life."
American Empress, 12/30/1899

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780595301461
Publisher:
iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date:
01/04/2004
Pages:
484
Sales rank:
718,156
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

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