Texas Originals

The First Lady Of Texas: Ima Hogg

She was the only daughter of Texas Governor Jim Hogg. She became known as “The First Lady of Texas.” She was an arts patron and philanthropist.

Ima Hogg, ca. 1900

Ima Hogg


Known as the “First Lady of Texas,” Ima Hogg was born in Mineola in 1882, the only daughter of Texas governor “Big Jim” Hogg.  When oil was discovered on family property, the new found wealth was used for the public good.  They believed that since oil came from Texas land, it belonged to Texas citizens.

Ima Hogg became an arts patron and a philanthropist.  She helped establish the Houston Symphony Orchestra in 1913.  She also founded several mental health programs focused on education.  But perhaps her most tangible legacy is found in the historic properties she bequeathed to the state.  Those include the Varner-Hogg Plantation near West Columbia and the Winedale museum near Round Top.

Bayou Bend estate in Houston

Ms. Ima’s legacy also includes her masterpiece, “Bayou Bend.”  It was her stately home on Buffalo Bayou in Houston.  Each room was appointed with authentic early American furniture and significant art.  In 1957, she gave the home, its collection along with the surrounding grounds and gardens to the Museum of Fine Arts – Houston.  She continued to add to the collection until her death in 1975.

Hogg delighted in poking around her properties during renovations, inspecting every detail.  She was a perfectionist with inimitable grace.  One biographer noted Ms. Ima could “sugarcoat her single-mindedness with layers of charm.” Those qualities are evident at Bayou Bend and the other elegant house museums the First Lady of Texas left to her fellow citizens.

Ima Hogg seated in front of floral arrangementConway Studios Corp
Ima Hogg seated in front of floral arrangement. Conway Studios Corp, New York. [Ima Hogg seated in front of floral arrangement], Photograph, ca. 1956; (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth18680/ : accessed February 09, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, Texas


Selected Bibliography

Bayou Bend Collections, The Museum of Fine Art, Houston. “Miss Ima Hogg.”  http://atlantis.coe.uh.edu/webscapes/bayoubend/ima/bio1.htm

Bernhard, Virginia. “Hogg, Ima.” Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/HH/fho16.html

Bernhard, Virginia. Ima Hogg: The Governor’s Daughter. Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1996.

Bonjean, Charles M. and Bernice Milburn Moore. Miss Ima: 1882-1982 Centennial Celebration. Austin: Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, 1982.

Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. “The Winedale Story.” http://www.cah.utexas.edu/exhibits/WinedaleStory/

Hogg Foundation. “Ima Hogg Scholarships in Mental Health.” http://www.hogg.utexas.edu/funding_imascholar.html

Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. “Vision, Mission, and Values.” http://www.hogg.utexas.edu/about_mission.html

Kirkland, Kate Sayen. The Hogg Family and Houston: Philanthropy and the Civic Ideal. Austin: UT Press, 2009.

All images are in the public domain.

This episode originally aired on June 16, 2012.