Sunday, July 10, 2022

First Lady of Texas

‘Decided to get off in Matlock, 6:40 P.M. A mountainous and beautiful place - and a nice hotel - “New Bath” - with a pleasant garden. So many of the lower classes seem to be traveling hereabouts - just tiny little journeys. There is a grand piano here in Matlock. I am aching to touch it!’ This is from the diaries of Miss Ima Hogg, a wealthy Texan, who travelled to Europe several times in her youth. She would go on to become one of the country’s most famous philanthropists - and earn the moniker First Lady of Texas. Her diaries are due to be published for the first time in September 2022.

Hogg was born into a wealthy, political family in Mineola, Texas, on 10 July 1882, though she spent much of her early life in Austin. When she was eight years old, her father was elected governor. After her mother died of tuberculosis in 1895, she attended the Coronal Institute in San Marcos, and in 1899 she began studying at the University of Texas. An accomplished piano player from an early age, she moved to Europe in 1907, not long after her father had died, to further study music in Berlin and Vienna, until 1909. Returning to the United States, she was severely depressed for some years, an experience that inspired her to found - with money from oil strikes on Hogg land - the Houston Child Guidance Center and the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health (at the University of Texas).

In 1943 Hogg, a lifelong Democrat, was appointed to the Houston school board, where she worked to establish symphony concerts for schoolchildren, to get equal pay for teachers regardless of sex or race, and to set up a painting-to-music programmes in public schools. In 1946 she again became president of the Houston Symphony Society, a post she held until 1956, and in 1948 she became the first woman president of the Philosophical Society of Texas. 

Hogg was also philanthropic when it came to art: since the 1920s she had been studying and collecting early American art and antiques, and in 1966 she presented her collection (as well as Bayou Bend, the River Oaks mansion she and her brothers had built in 1927) to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. In the 1950s, she restored the Hogg family home at Varner Plantation near West Columbia, and in 1958 she presented it to the state of Texas; and, in the 1960s, she restored the Winedale Inn, a nineteenth-century stagecoach stop at Round Top, Texas, which she gave to the University of Texas. She died, aged 93, in 1975. Further information is available from Wikipedia (which says she was known as the First Lady of Texas), Texas State Historical Association, and East Texas History.

Later this year, Texas A&M University Press is publishing Grand Tours and the Great War: Ima Hogg’s Diaries, 1907-1918, as edited by Virginia Bernhard. Extracts from five of Ima Hogg’s youthful diaries (1907, 1908, 1910, 1914, and 1918) are included in the book which, the publisher says, records ‘her first tour of Europe, a year studying piano in Berlin, a tour of Europe with her brother Mike, a summer in London on the eve of the Great War, and her travels in New York as the war drew to a close.’ Although most of Hogg’s diaries have remained unpublished until now, a few diary extracts, were published in 2016, in The Southwestern Historical Quarterly (Vol. 119, No. 3, January, 2016) - Ima Hogg in Europe, 1914: A Texan Experiences the Beginning of the Great War which can be found online at Jstor (log-in required).

A few brief extracts from the diaries can also be found online at The Ima Hogg Blog, curated by Bernhard, which is the source for the following. 

10 July 1907
‘Windsor Castle. Drove over - coached to Windsor - Left our trunks - two apiece! - at the hotel, taking only suitcases for our tour up through Scotland. Just as we got in. . . down came torrents of rain. But we went on just the same though it was terribly cold, too. Started at 10:30 got to Windsor 2:30. St. George’s Chapel with Princess Charlotte monument & Henry VIII burial place. White Tower where the order of the garter organized, building in which Merry Wives of Windsor was first played. Then the beautiful view towards Eton from the steps - where I turned my ankle & scrambled up by Mr. Scott’s coat sleeves. Dreadfully caught more cold. Holbein’s portrait (one of them) Henry VIII hangs in the castle. . . Started for Oxford at 5:55 P.M. There at 9:00.

And Mr. Scott was no doubt happy to help.’

19 August 1907
‘Monday. Munich. Hotel Linfelder.

Out looking - got lost - having left my dear old Baedecker somewhere - reached hotel 3:30 P.M. tired hot & hungry. . .’

21 August 1907, Munich
‘Four o’clock Tristan & Isolde! Started from hotel in a carriage at 3:30 in plenty of time. . .

[. . .]

Had dinner between 2nd and 3rd Acts....

Came home decided on leaving out Vienna & staying for Cycle - if my ticket could be redeemed.’

3 September 1907, Innsbruck
‘Here in the rain. Rode the train 2nd class with the cook in my compartment of some Frau Grafin who was herself 1st class. My companion and I carried on an animated dialogue in German - most enlightening!

Great to find the crowd here - only the men arrived this morning.’

11 August 1910
‘Stratford. It was warm and the town has not grown in my favor since 1907.

We visited Shakespeare’s birthplace and then his burial in the church. At the Golden Lion (starred in 1906 Baedeker) 

We had an insufficient and poor lunch @ 2/6 and in disgust with everything returned to Warwick on the 2:08 train. That afternoon we read and wrote. I reviewed “Kenilworth.” After our delicious dinner, we walked out to the bridge near the castle. It was some sort of a holiday - a brass band was playing discords, and a happy, well-behaved crowd were running and pushing the poor performers along.’

12 August 1910
‘Off Friday morning. Went by trolley then to Milverton.

Arrived in Kenilworth 10:40.

Drove a mile and a half to the castle /6 d. These romantic and very beautiful ruins we saw to the best advantage, for after a walk about them, we drove on the way to the station, with the tilting ground, had a fine view of the whole castle, where the lake used to be. Merwyn Tower was the scene of Amy’s life in the castle.

In Warwick, by the way, he & the Earl of Leicester are buried.

Left Kenilworth 12:25 noon.

After innumerable changes arrived in Ambergate at 4:30 P.M. to find that we should have to go farther in order to coach to Haddon Hall, & Chatsworth. We spent the time there until 6:18 P.M. - walked, drank tea and admired this promising beginning of the Peak - Bought tickets to Rowsley, but decided to get off in Matlock, 6:40 P.M. A mountainous and beautiful place - and a nice hotel - “New Bath” - with a pleasant garden. So many of the lower classes seem to be traveling hereabouts - just tiny little journeys. There is a grand piano here in Matlock. I am aching to touch it!’

No comments: