CULTURE AND DIPLOMACY: MARJORIE MERRIWEATHER POST AND SOVIET-AMERICAN RELATIONS, 1933-1939
Inge, Lindsay T.
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Marjorie Merriweather Post is best known for her Russian art collection (the largest collection of its kind outside of Russia), showcased at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens. This thesis examines Post’s role as the first “ambassadress” to the Soviet Union, during which time she began her interest in collecting Russian art. I argue that Post’s role as ambassadress was not purely ceremonial, and was instead essential to her husband’s, Joseph Davies’s, diplomatic mission. I also argue that Post’s collecting habits reveal not only details about the Soviet art trade and its role in Soviet-American cultural diplomacy, but also speak to the United States’ ambivalent attitude towards the Soviet Union in the 1930s: while embracing artifacts of Russian and Orthodox culture, Post essentially ignored the destructive Soviet policies that made these artifacts available for purchase.