Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Palm Beach showplace

Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on January 18, 2021.

Editor’s note: This story originally published on on Feb. 6, 2017.

Marjorie Merriweather Post liked to live large. Really large.

The world knew the size of her fortune, the length of her yacht and the speed of her Vickers Viscount turboprop jet with its Rolls-Royce engine. But her family, friends and retinue of cooks, footmen, chambermaids and chauffeurs were the ones aware that no matter the extent of Post’s cereal inheritance, there were few as generous and big-hearted.

Marjorie Merriweather Post was photographed in 1929, two years after she completed construction of her elaborate Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago, the name of which roughly translates from the Portuguese as "Sea to Lake."

“There are others better off than I am. The only difference is I do more with mine. I put it to work,” she once told an interviewer.

Her staff especially was mindful of Marjorie Post’s uncompromised standards at Palm Beach, whether accommodating notable houseguests, holding extravagant black-tie dinners or underwriting a charity gala. They could attest she was as confident hosting dignitaries beneath the gold-leaf ceiling in Mar-a-Lago’s living room as she was welcoming underprivileged children with peanuts and hot dogs to a circus tent put up on her lawn.