Living Artfully: At Home with Merriweather Post Cover Image

About the Author: Estella M. Chung

Estella M. Chung is head of oral history and curator of American material culture and historian at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, in Washington, D.C. As a curator and cultural historian she combs photographic archives, documents, and the not-so-ordinary artifacts that tell life stories of remarkable people who may, or may not, have been yet recognized for their contributions in history. As head of Hillwood's oral history program she conducts interviews with those who worked for and were entertained by philanthropist and art collector Marjorie Post, which she weaved into the publication Living Artfully: At Home With Marjorie Merriweather Post - a book about Post's private homes complete with butlers, personal maids, and footmen - a Downton Abbey story set in the Mad Men era. The book has an accompanying museum exhibition at Hillwood to January 12, 2014. In 2013 and 2014, Chung has Living Artfully book events scheduled in Washington, D.C. and Palm Beach.

Previously, Chung co-curated the landmark museum exhibition Once Upon a Time in Italy: The Westerns of Sergio Leone (2005) at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, the largest artifact based exhibit ever devoted to a director of cinema. Chung contributed the introduction "Leone's West: Finding the Fairy Tale" detailing the hunt for film set artifacts to the catalogue authored by preeminent Leone scholar, and the exhibit co-curator Sir Christopher Frayling. In addition to Clint Eastwood's iconic poncho, and Marjorie Post's glimmering mansions, Chung explored stories connected to Chinese American immigration, bridges in rural Texas, gallant churros, and the many delicious uses of Jell-O.

Living Artfully: At Home with Merriweather Post Cover Image

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Goodreads rating: 4.00

Hardcover, Published in Jul 2013 by GILES

ISBN10: 1907804137 | ISBN13: 9781907804137

Page count: 144

Living Artfully is a beautifully illustrated account of the three main homes of Marjorie Merriweather Post through the 1950s to 1970s. From 1957 onwards Mrs. Post lived in stately Hillwood in Washington, DC for spring and autumn, retreated to Camp Topridge in the Adirondacks for the summer, and enjoyed the winter season at her glamorous villa Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. This book follows her yearly calendar and is strongly evocative of the lifestyle magazines of the period. It offers a vibrant and intimate picture of life in each residence—for Marjorie Post, her guests, and her staff.

Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973) was one of America’s most stylish and powerful women, a director of General Foods, Inc., philanthropist, patriot, and internationalist. Her keen interest in art resulted in a superb personal collection, but rather than keeping it stored away from view she decided that she, her guests, and staff would live surrounded by beautiful treasures. Her talent for planning, and huge financial resources, enabled her to create three magnificent homes.

Author Estella M. Chung draws on Hillwood’s remarkable oral history collection, archives, photographs, period journals, and ephemera, as well as her own interviews with those who knew Mrs. Post, including her daughter, actress Dina Merrill Hartley. Especially fascinating are the rare and intimate glimpses provided by the staff, such as the interviews with surviving members like Earle Loy, Mrs. Post’s former Head Gardener, now aged 91.

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