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Mount Vernon Seminary and College collection of biographical materials and correspondence with Marjorie Merriweather Post

 Collection
Identifier: MVC0017-MS
This collection contains correspondence from Marjorie Merriweather Post to administrators of Mount Vernon Seminary and College, as well as biographical information collected about Marjorie Merriweather Post, such a snewspaper articles, photographs, slides, negatives, obituaries, Mount Vernon College Bulletins, playbills, a metal sign and a hand-bound book that document the lifelong relationship that Marjorie Merriweather Post maintained with Mount Vernon Seminary and College as the first Alumna Trustee and Honorary Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The bulk of the material dates from 1937 to 1973. The inclusive dates are 1901 to 1999. In addition to being the first Alumna Trustee and Honorary Chairman of the board, Mrs. Post was also one of the largest donors to Mount Vernon and was in nearly constant communication with the President of the school. Much of the correspondence is concerned with gifts made by Mrs. Post to Mount Vernon, and the construction of Post Hall, which Mrs. Post financed in honor of her parents. The correspondence illustrates how important Mrs. Post was to Mount Vernon and the influence that she held there. The newspaper and magazine articles are primarily concerned with Mrs. Post’s lifestyle, especially her extraordinary estates, Hillwood and Mar-a-Lago. Most of the photographs depict the dedication of Post Hall and the 92nd Founder’s Day celebration at which Mrs. Post was honored with a speech.

Dates

  • 1901-1999
  • Majority of material found within 1937 - 1973

Extent

2.5 Linear Feet (2 document boxes, 2 slim document boxes, 1 flat box.)

Overview

Marjorie Merriweather Post, Founder of the General Foods Corporation, was the First Alumna Trustee of Mount Vernon Seminary and College. She gave untiringly to Mount Vernon Seminary and College, and maintained a lifelong relationship with the school that kept her in constant communication with George Lloyd and later Peter Pelham, Presidents of Mount Vernon Seminary and College. This collection contains correspondence, photographs, newspaper articles, invitations, speeches and memorabilia, most of which pertain to Post’s relationship to Mount Vernon Seminary and College. The material dates between 1901 and 1999, with the bulk of the material dating between 1937 and 1973.

Biographical / Historical

Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973), founder of the General Foods Corporation and a renowned philanthropist, was the first alumna trustee of Mount Vernon Seminary and College, and one of its largest donors. In 1999 the Mount Vernon campus and legacy became part of the George Washington University.

Mrs. Post was born in Springfield Illinois, on March 5, 1887, but spent most of her childhood in Battle Creek, Michigan. She was the only child of C.W. Post, who founded the Postum Cereal Company and invented its flagship product, Postum, a nutritious coffee substitute beverage. She attended public school in Battle Creek and graduated from Mount Vernon Seminary at age 17. She inherited her father’s business at age 27, but later expanded her fortune enormously by adding frozen foods to her company’s repertoire, renaming the business General Foods. She became known as one of the wealthiest people in the United States, with a fortune worth an estimated $100-250 million, and was especially known for her generosity. This included financing a 2,000 bed field hospital in France during the First World War, and providing hot meals during the Great Depression through the Salvation Army. Her estates were legendary, including Hillwood, which now operates as a museum under the Smithsonian Institution and houses her unique collection of Russian Imperial art, and Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, which she gave to the United States Government to use as a VIP retreat for visiting dignitaries. She married four times, to Edward B. Close, Edward F. Hutton, Joseph P. Davies, and Herbert A. May. She restored her maiden name after her divorce with Mr. May. She had three daughters, Eleanor and Adelaide by Edward Close, and Nedenia Marjorie Hutton, by Edward Hutton. All three daughters attended Mount Vernon Seminary, as well as two of her granddaughters. She gave untiringly to Mount Vernon Seminary and College, in outright gifts and by financing construction on the Foxhall Road campus including Post Hall, named for her parents, and Merriweather Hall.

She died at age 86 at Hillwood.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into 2 series: Mount Vernon Seminary and College materials, and Biographical materials. While nearly all of the materials in the collection are relevant to Mount Vernon Seminary and College, it became clear that some of the materials were of more general interest for the biographical information they contained, for example the newspaper articles and architectural notes on Hillwood, and thus warranted a separate series.

Related Materials

Marjorie Merriweather Post's personal papers are held by the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan as part of the Post Family papers.
Title
Guide to the Mount Vernon Seminary and College collection of biographical materials and correspondence with Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1901-1999
Status
completed
Author
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Date
2010
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

Contact:
2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America