Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ima's first trip to Europe, 1907. Her journal begins.

      In the summer of 1907 Ima Hogg, still grieving over her father’s death the year before, set off on a grand tour of Europe. It was her first trip, and it lasted from June till October--and then she stayed on. (More about that later.)
      She kept a journal of her travels:

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

         Ima 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.

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 was always competitive.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

“He’s a fat old hog, ain’t he?”

       Jim Hogg's newsworthiness extended beyond Texas, particularly in New York.

       In September 1903 the "Man in the Street" column of The New York Times ran the following anecdote about him:
       Ex-Gov. Hogg of Texas, who has a reputation for liking to play a practical joke every time he gets a chance, says he has been cured of the habit. The last time he was in New York the joke he tried to perpetrate was turned back at him in great style. It happened that he wanted a shoe shine. The bootblack, a small-size Italian, began to chatter at him after he had taken his seat in the high chair. Not being in a conversational frame of mind, the portly Governor thought it would be a good plan to feign that he was deaf and dumb. So he responded by signs to everything the bootblack said.
       This proceeding naturally caused the desired silence on the part of the Italian, and the Governor was wrapped in his own thoughts, when suddenly a little newsboy ran up and asked him if he wanted a paper. Before he could reply the bootblack turned to the boy and said:
       "You nota talka to him. He deaf."
       The newsboy looked him over, says the Governor, and then remarked in a loud voice:
       "Well, say, he's a fat old hog, ain't he?"
       The Governor, who weighs 300 pounds or more, relishes telling the story, but he adds feelingly that he kept up his bluff after hearing the brutal comment of the newsboy.
—“Man in the Street,” The New York Times, Sept. 6, 1903

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ima goes to the opera in Munich: another mystery

Excerpts from Ima Hogg's 1907 travel journal of her first trip to Europe:

Aug. 19. Monday. Munich. Hotel Linfelder [She went out by herself to pick up opera tickets she had ordered from London.]
Out looking--got lost--having left my dear old Baedecker somewhere--reached hotel 3:30 P.M. tired hot & hungry....
Aug. 21st Wednesday Munich.
Four o’clock Tristan & Isolde! Started from hotel in a carriage at 3:30 in plenty of time...
[She described the opera in great critical detail. Was she alone?]
Had dinner between 2nd and 3rd Acts....
Came home decided on leaving out Vienna & staying for [Wagner's Ring] Cycle --if my ticket could be redeemed.

Thursday Munich. [Aug. 22]
Ticket redeemed, place engaged at Musicians Pension where Mrs. [name left blank] from Houston is staying & she, too, goes to the opera.... 

Ima bade farewell to her travel companions (a tour group mostly from Texas) and moved into a pension, where she stayed for nine days, going to the opera--and doing what else? Hmmm.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

“A dromedary for dudes” --Jim Hogg labels the bicycle.

Ima’s father had a way with words. Here is an item from a Galveston newspaper in 1896:

       It was the Hon. James Stephen Hogg, not then governor of Texas, who spurned the bicycle, not many months ago, as ‘a dromedary for dudes.’ But is it a useful and tractable sort of dromedary, and the Hon. Jerry Simpson of Medicine Lodge, Kan., a populist in good and regular standing, is one of the ‘dudes’ who rides it. Contrition begins to boil within the vast bosom of the Hon. James Stephen Hogg. He feels that he has slandered a worthy steed and a great institution. In the moonlit nights and on bright dawns he may be seen, on quiet country roads, ponderously revolving on a quadricycle, a most excellent device propelled by a crank. With time, confidence and steadiness, he will come to master the tricycle. Then, if he is not seriously injured in the trials, he will attain at last unto the bicycle. It will be a great day for rotation when he bursts upon the public on his wheel.”
-- The Galveston Daily News, Nov. 29, 1896

“Sockless Jerry” Simpson on a bicycle, yes.  Jim Hogg, who weighed 300 pounds, no.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Who was Areal? Ima's mysterious suitor surfaces

        On January 1, 1908 Ima Hogg wrote in her Berlin diary, "who should appear but Areal?" Areal and others unnamed, she wrote, "stayed until late in the afternoon and we all drank eggnog together."


What we know so far:
1. Ima had met Areal sometime during her travels the previous summer.
2. He came to see her again on January 4, when they had what may have been a lover's quarrel.
3. Areal was a probably a student at the University of Heidelberg. "He is off to Heidelberg in the morning," Ima wrote.
4. "Areal" is a Jewish name.
5. Ima was living with a German family at 22 Mommsenstrasse, a house in Charlottenberg, a suburb of Berlin that was a center of Jewish intellectual/artistic life in the early 1900s.

What do we think? More clues forthcoming!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ima was very good at keeping secrets.

       When Ima Hogg did not want something known, she was very good at cover-ups. She idolized her father, James Stephen Hogg, and she wanted nothing to tarnish his reputation. She watched his biographer like a hawk, to be sure nothing got into it that she thought harmful to the legacy of J. S. Hogg. She didn't want anything about why she was named "Ima, " so the official biography omits that. Needless to say, she didn't want any stories about a sister named "Ura," either.
       In the bound volumes of J.S. Hogg's letters, there are missing pages.
       In the family letters, there are passages deleted.

       In Ima's diaries in 1907, 1908, 1910, and 1914 there are mysterious omissions.

       In the little notebook she kept on her summer vacation in 1918, pages have been removed.

       But in the voluminous files of the Hogg Collections in the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas in Austin,  there must be clues.

       Ima couldn't censor everything.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What was Ima's "secret"?

     When Ima Hogg wanted something hidden, she was very good at concealment. In the archives in Austin, the 1908 diary she began while she was studying music in Berlin starts with “January 1.”  She wrote in it nearly every day--until the end of February. 
     She wrote about her music studies, the piano pieces she was working on--and about a young man named “Areal” whom she had met the summer before. He came to see her January 4, but, she wrote, “He is off to Heidelberg in the morning.” That was the end of him--as far as we know. The diary ends abruptly on February 28. The rest of the little leather-bound book (with a lock) is blank. There was no more need to lock it. 

     If the “secret” that Ima mentioned in a letter to her brother Tom in April 1908 was something she wanted to keep to herself, she did: From February to October 1908 I have yet to find any record of her.  We have Tom's letter to her mentioning the "secret," but we don't have her letter to him. Did she destroy it? From Ima we have no letters, no diary, no nothing. We know that she was still in Germany, maybe still living in Berlin. 

         What was she doing?