Saturday, March 28, 2015

At sea, aboard the President Lincoln, June 1907


      Ima does not write about the enigmatic Mr. Scott, but she writes about other passengers aboard the President Lincoln on that crossing in the summer of 1907.

The passengers are mostly German so we have fallen completely in to the spirit of things, even trying out our bits of “Deutche” words on them. Really, though, have made comparatively no acquaintances. My table seat to my right though is occupied by a lovely old gentleman Rev. Wilkie from Florida and his wife to his right. A Mr. Dick from Newcastle Eng. Has played bridge with us and defeated us all. Much of our time has been spent at cards, some at reading, we have been dutiful enough to dive into guide-books--then we’ve walked leagues. Shuffle-board is a great game- I can’t play it much, but intend to spend lost of time at it on the return. Mr. Thompson and I matched Mrs T. & Mr. Dick at “ring-toss” --they beating us by one point only.

         Ima Hogg was never one to lose, if she could help it. No doubt there was a rematch.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A bittersweet leave-taking, and a pleasant voyage

[Time for a flashback here, to an earlier part of Ima’s diary and the beginning of the trip.]

June 22--Sailing- President Lincoln, Hamburg-American Line.
Cabin 63 - Room-mate Mrs. Ben Thompson.

An auspicious start--a glorious warm day, our ship - 618 ft. long--making its maiden trip. Many friends had telegrams, letters, books and flowers as farewell to me, and we waved them a far away good-bye with grateful hearts for their remembrances - a home leaving being at best somewhat sad. , , ,

“Somewhat sad,” indeed: In this summer of 1907, Ima Hogg was hoping to escape her grief for her father, who had died March 3, 1906. For months after that, she had suffered from what we today would call a depression. Now she was embarking on a journey that would carry her far away from home--and perhaps change her life forever. She traveled with family friends, the Lewis Thompsons of Texas, their sons Ben & Lewis, and their governess, Magdalena. IH’s roommate on the voyage and probably on land travels was Mrs. Ben Thompson from Nacogdoches (a relative of the Thompsons, most likely.) This group from Houston was joined by a Mr. Scott, a chemistry professor at Austin College, and a Mr. Ben Foster and his sister Miss Ione Foster from Kansas City.

         As usual, Ima tells far too little: We never even learn Mr. Scott’s first name, but on the outing to Windsor Castle she “scrambled up” by his coat sleeves when she turned her ankle.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A bad cold, and a visit to Oxford

Oxford - July 11

Real sick but ambitious in such a spot. Morning drove--stopping first at Christ Church...The Tom Bell tolling...Oxford is very quaint with its high walls & old architecture....Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. B.T., Mr. Foster, & Miss F. all drove to Blenheim castle -- the rest of us preferring to stay in O. After lunch went back to Christ C. & into the Cathedral...Sunny beautiful day so we lingered long on the shady path running towards Magdalene. This is the sweetest of all the colleges, I think. We didn’t go inside the buildings here but in the quadrangles through the cloisters, on the bridge where the swans--black ones--swim....I long to get back to Oxford, once again.

Ima, “real sick,” was not one to be daunted.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

July 10, 1907: A 25th birthday unrecorded, and a cold caught.

[Ima and friends visited the Tate Museum, where she wrote detailed, dutiful descriptions of every painting they saw.]

Tate Gallery. Put on a voile gown “the better to see” --thin yoke, --sneezed & knew a cold was coming. . . .

[The next day was her 25th birthday, but she did not mention it in her diary. Did she keep it to herself?]

London--July 10th--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 momument & 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.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ima Kept on Keeping Secrets.

       In the summer of 1907, the year after her father’s death, Ima Hogg decided to do what many wealthy young people did in that era: take a grand tour of Europe. She sailed from New York in June 1907, and she did not return to Houston until October 1908. 

       She traveled in a tour group, and she kept a diary, which is preserved in the Ima Hogg papers at the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas in Austin.

       Even then, she was into keeping her private life private. The first thing she wrote in her diary was:

This is a chronology of my trip to Europe--not a diary of personalities.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ima's Valentines

Happy Valentine's Day.
Here's a photo of her around 1900, given to a friend many years later, signed "from Imogene, with love." In her 90's she began to call herself "Imogene."
Wish we had some of the Valentines Ima's beaux sent to her, but evidently she kept the good ones to herself!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Ima Kept Her Father’s Secrets, too.

       When Ima Hogg was a little girl, she kept newspaper clippings about her father--but only the good ones. When she edited the family letters in a volume for her brothers, she carefully censored and sometimes destroyed letters that did not measure up to her ideal of a perfect family. For instance, Sallie Hogg’s letters scolding her husband for not writing to her while he was on the campaign trail, and for neglecting their son, Will, on some occasions, do not appear in Ima’s edited collection.
       When Jim Hogg’s critics lambasted him, Ima made sure that their comments did not make it into his official biography. Some documents are missing, as well: the early records of Hogg’s oil business at Spindletop, 1901-1903, “have been lost”--according to Hogg’s biographer. 

      “The time sequence of the formation of the Hogg-Swayne Syndicate is not clear, since most of the earliest records have been lost.” (Robert C .Cotner, James Stephen Hogg: A Biography, Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1959), 525.)

      Who lost them?