This is a beautifully illustrated account of the three main homes of Marjorie Merriweather Post (18871973), through the 1950s to 1970s. From 1957 onwards 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. Post was one of America’s most stylish and powerful women and this book, strongly evocative of the lifestyle magazines of the period, offers a vibrant and intimate picture of life in each residencefor Marjorie Post, her guests, and her staff.
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.