Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to live back in the day when manners were served on a daily basis, when entertaining was “done” as a matter of style not show and what it would have been like to live in some of the most well appointed homes in America? Get ready to enter the world of what it was like to be the owner of three fabulous homes and how to entertain with style and grace. Living Artfully: At Home With Marjorie Merriweather Post by Estella Chung will invite you into the world of Mrs. Post and three of her homes where she lived and entertained with precision and elegance. As the curator at Hillwood Museum, Ms. Chung had access to the Museum’s archives as well as many of Mrs. Posts private papers. This book is chocked full of the delirious details of what it must have been like to maneuver through life as one of our country’s most respected hostesses. The Post cereal heiress, was involved and took great interest in everything from the business of Post Cereals, later General Foods; to the collections in her homes and the comfort of her guests.
Through interviews with Mrs. Post’s staff, family members and friends, Ms. Chung provides a delightful glimpse into the life of and running of three seasonal homes. During the Fall and Spring she spent her time at Hillwood, where she was the preeminent Washington D.C. hostess. She entertained military families and high school students from her girlhood home of Battle Creek, Michigan with the same level of service and attention to detail was offered to foreign dignitaries and heads of state.
Summer was enjoyed on 100 lush acres of Camp Topridge one of the great summer camps in the Adirondacks. The buildings on the property could accommodate 105 guests in addition to the necessary camp employees and help. While days were spent boating, fishing, picnics or other outdoor play, dinner was black tie. The book ends with a peek into her life at her glamorous Palm Beach winter home, Mar-A-Lago. Finished in 1927 and commissioned when she was still Mrs. E.F. Hutton. An invitation to spend a weekend at Mar-A-Lago was not to be missed, especially since Mrs. Post sent her private plane to get you. Dinner, like in her other homes, was always a proper affair with a menu and white gloved footman on guard from behind to protect you, should one reach for the wrong utensil during dinner. One departed with their suitcase perfectly re-packed with pressed and laundered clothes in better condition than when they arrived. The stories of life at Mrs. Posts’s homes are full of interesting and exciting details from how the staff attended to their duties and were treated by Mrs. Post, to charming antidotes provided by her grandchildren of life in these homes which rivaled any resort, if it was also full of museum quality interiors. This window into the daily life of Mrs. Post portrays how a well mannered woman carried out her duties and entertained with enthusiasm and interest. Because of Mrs. Post’s vast wealth she often received written requests for assistance and the book offers some of her replies.
This is a book to lose yourself in, let your imagination transport you to another place and time and inspire you to live artfully in your own home.