Post, Marjorie Merriweather (1887–1973)

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Post, Marjorie Merriweather (1887–1973)

American businesswoman and philanthropist. Born in Springfield, Illinois, on March 15, 1887; died on September 12, 1973; daughter of Charles William Post, known as C.W. Post (started the Postum Cereal Company) and Ella Letitia (Merriweather) Post; married Edward B. Close, on December 3, 1905; married Edward F. Hutton (a stockbroker and founder of the Wall Street firm), on July 7, 1920; married Joseph E. Davies (a Washington lobbyist), on December 15, 1935 (divorced 1955); married Herbert May (a Pittsburgh executive), on June 18, 1958 (divorced 1964); children: (first marriage) Adelaide Close (married Augustus Riggs IV), Eleanor Close (married Leon Barzin); (second marriage) Nedenia Hutton (b. December 9, 1925, who as an actress adopted the stage name Dina Merrill ).

When C.W. Post was cured of his "invalidism" at Dr. John Kellogg's sanatorium in Battle Creek, Michigan, he went on to develop Postum, a coffee substitute, followed by the cereal Post Toasties. Upon his suicide in 1914, his daughter, 27-year-old Marjorie Merriweather Post, became the sole heir of the Postum Cereal Company of Battle Creek. She ran the company as owner and operator for the next eight years. With help from her second husband, stockbroker E.F. Hutton, Post and her firm acquired Clarence Birdseye's frozen foods company. Partially because of Marjorie Post's influence, General Foods became a food empire. She was a member of its board of directors (1936–58) and director emeritus (1958–73), and was also director of the National Savings and Trust, Washington, D.C. (1959–73).

Her third husband, Washington lobbyist Joseph Davies, was tapped by Franklin Delano Roosevelt as ambassador to the Soviet Union. While living in Russia, Post was appalled at the Soviet police state, but her husband aided in securing the Soviet-U.S. alliance against Hitler.

As presented in Nancy Rubin 's American Empress, Marjorie Post was a down-to-earth mother who held square dance parties and peppered her speech with expletives. Her philanthropies included New York's Emergency Unemployment Drive (1929–33), the Good Samaritan Hospital (Palm Beach), the National Symphony Orchestra, and Long Island University. She was awarded France's Legion of Honor, Belgium's Order of Leopold, Luxemburg's Order of Adolph de Nassau, and Brazil's Order of the Southern Cross.

suggested reading:

Rubin, Nancy. American Empress: The Life and Times of Marjorie Merriweather Post. Villard, 1995.

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Post, Marjorie Merriweather (1887–1973)

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