Postcard – Mar-a-Lago – Joseph E. Davies Estate – Marjorie Davies!

When I first saw this card I was intrigued and wanted to find out a bit more about Joseph E. Davies.  There is quite a bit to find out – he was a US Ambassador to Russia, married and divorced businesswoman/socialite/philanthropist Marjorie Merriweather Post and much more.

But this is where we depart from Joseph and focus on Marjorie.  While married to E.F. Hutton (yes, the one you are thinking of) she sold her Palm Beach estate and began construction in 1924 on Mar-a-Lago situated between Lake Worth and the Atlantic Ocean.  It was designed by architect and Ziegfeld set designer Joseph Urban.

Some of the features of the 114-118 room (numbers of rooms differ from resource to resource) include decorative Italian stone, 15th century tiles from Spain (embossed with plus ultra, Latin for “beyond the ultimate”), tapestries from the palace of the Venetian Doge (wonder if she was in a bidding war with the Ringlings for those…).  While constructing the ceiling in the Grand Salon, her artists used all the available gold leaf in the US and had to import more from Europe.

The estate had a nine-hole golf course, 10,000 potted plants, and a sand path that allowed the family dog to visit the trees without getting it’s paws dirty (awwww).  If you were a guest, you would receive a list of activities each morning, watch first-run movies in the evening, and might even be entertained by the entire Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Not just a symbol of the gilded age of socialites, Marjorie maintained a seat on the board of General Foods until forced to retire at age 71, owned a pair of 20 carat diamond earrings belonging to Marie Antionette, and the largest privately owned sea-going yacht (the “Sea Cloud”).  During the depression she put her jewels into a vault, canceled the insurance and used the money to fund a soup kitchen in New York City that fed over 1,000 people a day.  Her charitable donations were many, but I found that one to be an “outside the box” concept!

She intended for Mar-a-Lago to be used as a winter White House, but it was bought from the Post estate by Donald Trump in 1985.

She was quite a fascinating lady, and I really enjoyed the research into her exploits.

YOU can own this card by winning the auction on ebay, item 400015492341 or click on


One response to “Postcard – Mar-a-Lago – Joseph E. Davies Estate – Marjorie Davies!

  1. I found your blog on MSN Search. Nice writing. I will check back to read more.

    Eric Hundin

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