Hillwood Estate

Washington DC, United States | C.1973

Photo Credit: Accidentally Wes Anderson

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In 1914, at only 27 years old, Marjorie Merriweather Post was the wealthiest woman in the United States.  Unfortunately, her millions were inherited after the loss of both parents. Her father was C.W. Post of the Post cereal empire. Along with his fortunes she inherited his business, and went on to expand the company, re-branding it as General Foods, Inc. She maintained her father’s entrepreneurial spirit and used that legacy to become one of America’s most successful businesswomen and philanthropists.

Marjorie’s true passion was less geared toward cereal than to European and Russian art and antiquities. In 1955 after her third husband, she purchased the Hillwood Estate to showcase her collections. Ranging from 18th-century Parisian tapestries and furnishings that adorn The French Porcelain Room to the homely flair of the British countryside evoked in the Second Floor Library (both depicted here), Marjorie’s tastes were exquisite, and readily suited for the stately affairs she regularly put on. Her resources and tastes provided a prime backdrop for the extravagant events she came to hold for Washington’s high society.

Her parties were often in support of Marjorie’s other life-long passion: charity. This proved her most lasting legacy when she bequeathed her home to her own Foundation, to be used as a multipurpose museum. Surrounded by 25 acres of stunning curated gardens, the Hillwood has used its estate generously over the years, opening itself up to all, organizing special opportunities for Vietnam veterans and wounded Marines to enjoy tea and live entertainment on the Lunar Lawn; establishing an LGBTQ advisory committee to host gay friendly concerts and film nights; and using the lush, ample space for everything from a putting green to a floral friendship walk–at the entrance of which lies a plaque that reads: “Dedicated by her friends as a tribute to Marjorie Merriweather Post for her generous nature, love of beauty, and devotion to human needs.”.

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