Saturday, August 1, 2015

J.S. Hogg, W.J. Bryan, and the Great Panther Hunt

Walter Palmer , recently in the news for killing a lion, might have been better off on a panther hunt like the one ex-governor James Stephen Hogg put on for his friend William Jennings Bryan, who visited him in Austin in 1899.

For the panther’s side of this story, see next week’s blog.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

In memory of Ima’s good friend, Lee Pryor (1926-2015)

    I treasure this photo. Ima gave it to Lee when she was in her 90s, and began to call herself  “Imogene.” Lee, who helped me with my early Ima research, loaned it to me to reproduce. I’ve used it in my two Hogg books.

“To Lee Pryor
From Imogene with love

     Ima and Lee were great friends, travelling and attending concerts and plays together. He had planned to meet her in London for a round of theater-going in the summer of 1975. Instead, he met her in the hospital, where she was awaiting surgery on her hip. She died a few days later, at age of 93.

     Dr. William Lee Pryor died in Houston, July 14, 2015, at age 88.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ima in a major motion picture?

         Ima Hogg’s mysterious doings in Germany are the subject of a full-length film proposed in 2013 and yet to be produced--for lack of funding. According to a recent IN TOWN column by Carole Keeney Harrington, this “lack of [financial] support” by Houston powers-that-be is in part because the film, a period piece called the “The Empress of Texas” contains the story of Ima and her German lover, who was killed in World War I. Apparently nobody wants to have Ima’s reputation sullied by a story of an illicit love affair--true or not.
         For more about this film, see its website:

         For the research the love story is based on, see IMA HOGG: THE GOVERNOR’S DAUGHTER, pp. 53-54, 59.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

What did Ima do in Berlin in 1908?

       Ima Hogg was away from Houston from June 1907 to October 1908: about sixteen months. From June  22, 1907 until February 29, 1908, she wrote almost every day in her diaries--and then she stopped.  Her diaries hold clues--or do they?
       In her notebook-like  “Travel Diary” she described everything she saw, in minute detail: paintings, architecture, cathedrals, museums, mountains, lakes, and made notes about the history and geography.  She was an ideal tourist. She collected picture postcards as she traveled, but alas, did not write on them or mail them. In the Hogg papers in Austin are 3 folders of her postcards from Europe, 1907, all just as she bought them.
       From November 1, 1907 to sometime in October 1908, she lived with a family who lived at this address, 22 Mommsen Strasse, Charlottenberg, Berlin. This is a recent photograph. The house that Ima knew may have looked quite different. 



       On January 1, 1908, while living here, Ima began another diary in a small  leatherbound volume with a lock. But it ends abruptly on the last day of February.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


Today's the 4th! Enjoy!

Ima's an audio book, for listening anywhere!

[Look for her on]

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ima begins the diary of her adventure in Berlin, 1908.

January I. (1908)
First, how I came to be here after my four or five months travel abroad. The last two months of my tour, I knew or rather had decided to stay for the winter in Germany. It is needless to say, however, what a trial it was to come to such a conclusion. But Brother as usual came in at the final moment to insist that I take any opportunity to improve myself! It was in Florence almost at the close of my trip that—still without any definite places to locate myself in—that [sic] I met Alice McFarland of Houston—and she, I suppose, is the direct cause of my being at Mommsenstr. 22, Charlottenburg. The way she got into Florence on the evening before we were to leave and so accidentally came to our hotel, in fact, how she got Mrs. Cranberry’s address during her visit to Berlin, the whole thing is absolutely strange for Alice had gotten her facts a little mixed.  But for that, though, I shouldn’t be here. I wrote right away to Mrs. Cranberry and asked her if her landlady had an extra room for me in her “Pension.” Mrs. Cranberry is from Houston. I had known her slightly there through friends—quite well. So I thought it might be nice to stay in the place with her, at least until I could find a German family to live with—I was most anxious to learn to speak German – more than to take up my music, really. – Well, by the time I got back to Florence, I had an answer to my letter from Mrs. C. She was most cordial and told me that they weren’t in exactly what would be a Pension, but that there was a room for me. On the ninth of October, I bade my dear friends good-bye and started out on my journey all alone and awfully lonesome, too. The following night I arrived in B.  And what started me off in B. just right was being welcomed at the station by Mrs. C. and her Brother. Grosse [?] was at 5 Savigny Platz to welcome me there. I remember the next morning when I was tired and homesick, and wondering really what I was going to do here. The Merchant came in and told me that they were going into a Wohnung [apartment] of their own.

This is a work in progress. Who were these people?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A mysterious stay in Munich ends, September 3, 1907.

Ima left the pension in Munich, after a mysterious eleven days in lateAugust through early September. Whatever else she did, she improved her German. 

Sept. 3 - Tuesday - 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.

[Ima rejoined her travel companions in Italy on September 3. Since August 23 she had been on her own, staying in the “Musicians Pension” in Munich.
Her diary does not account for all of the days she spent there.  

Did she have a secret romance ?

Her travel diary ends in Florence on October 4.  Some time before that date she had obviously made the momentous decision to stay in Berlin. She wrote on October 4: 

Letter from Leah Fisher about my stay in Berlin this winter.”

Who was Leah Fisher???