Friday, December 18, 2015

James Stephen Hogg Goes Deer Hunting

It’s deer hunting season now, or soon to be,  in some Texas counties. This news item has no identification and no date: Someone (perhaps Ima?) clipped it from a newspaper in the 1890s.

Here is a readable version:        

         An immigrant from another good old East Texas county--Cherokee--is Miss Viola Dickinson of 232 Emerson. She tells us about a historic big game hunt of the gay nineties in that county, which was Jim Hogg’s native heath.
         During his administration as governor, Hogg went back there for a deer hunt with his boyhood friend, Judge E.C. Dickinson of Rusk, the county seat. Two other lawyers of that town joined in the hunt: District Judge James I. Perkins and County Judge James P. Gibson.
         They hunted on horses provided by Judge Dickinson, the host. As the governor was a very fat man, a heavy bay horse--also named Jim--was chosen for him. Jim’s cruising gait was a jogging trot, and the uncomfortable bobbing of the gigantic, jovial Jim Hogg in the saddle amused his companions.
         At the southeastern county border the party sighted a deer. Judge Dickinson got a shot at the buck and brought him down. The hunters dismounted and were admiring the game and congratulating the lucky deerslayer when seemingly from nowhere there materialized a game warden        
         He informed the legal lights that they had violated the game law, as they were across the line in Angelina County where the hunting season was not yet open.
         The game warden felt that he had achieved a distinction in arresting and hailing into justice court the great governor of Texas and three court judges. Steep fines were imposed and paid. the guests of the occasion had the deer skin treated and presented to Judge Dickinson as a rug for the floor of his office.

Happy Holidays!

Look for more Ima posts in 2016.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Ima Hogg: The Books!

Good Christmas gift! Ima Audiobook! Or in paperback. 


All available on

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Ima's Mysterious Illness

         A telegram to Will Hogg on July 11 about his sister’s condition led Will to consult physicians in New York in July and August, and talk of a “rest cure.” 
         At first, Ima evidently resisted this suggestion. Is this when she crossed out the pages in her notebook? Something was happening, but the notebook offers no clues.

         Finally she yielded to advice from her brother and the medical experts in New York, and agreed to seek help.

         From October 1 to December 4, 1918, Ima Hogg was “resting” at an upscale sanitarium in Kerhonkson, New York.

        On October 31 her brother Mike, still soldiering in France, sent her a telegram at her Houston address on Rossmoyne Street, reassuring her that he was “WELL AND HAPPY.”

        Mike did not know his sister was far from being well. He did not know that she was ill and in a sanitarium. 
       After a stay at her brother Will’s Park Avenue apartment, Ima came home to Houston on Christmas Eve. 
       She was home, but she was not happy.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

More Notebook Clues: Midsummer 1918

         Ima’s little notebook of “Summer 1918” has clues yet to be uncovered. From several pages of notes detailing her questions about symphony orchestras in various cities, there is a sudden change: an excerpt from Robert Browning’s 1841 verse drama, Pippa Passes. Ima copied out (or recalled from memory?) a passage about a golden sunrise.
         On the next few pages, detailed lists of furniture, art, and antiques, with prices---all with large X marks across each page, as if that project had been cancelled.

         A following page, with the entry upside down, is an excerpt from Mary Fisher’s 1909 book, The Journal of a Recluse......        

         What had happened to the pleasant summer vacation?


Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Fateful Summer of 1918: Clues from a Notebook

         It all began so hopefully, with a little stenographer’s notebook. On the first page, Ima wrote, “Summer 1918.” She had many things on her mind: Long before she became a noted collector of early American art and antiques and gave her home, Bayou Bend, to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Ima Hogg was searching out antiques. On the first page of her notebook, under “Summer 1918” is a list of 14 names and addresses of dealers in New York. In Mechanicsville, NY, she made a note about an “oxen wagon double chair.” 
         Antiques were not her only interest that summer. The Houston Symphony, which she had helped to found in 1913, was never far from her thoughts. She had been elected president of that organization in 1917, and she planned to do some research on her travels. A sample page of her notebook:
         Chamber of Commerce--relationship various cities--
         Organization of orchestra--
         How many men?
         Day or night?
         How financed?
         Average pay by rehearsal?
         Average pay by salary per week?

And so on. It promised to be a pleasant and useful summer vacation.
         But as the notebook shows, something happened to darken that summer forever.         


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Summer 1918: Clues from Mike Hogg’s Letters

       While Ima Hogg was traveling in July, her brother Mike was preparing to fight in the trenches in France. He had been writing to her faithfully and regularly since May 1917 about his adventures in the military. He was now Captain Mike Hogg, U.S. Army, 90th Division, 360th Regiment, 180th Infantry Brigade, 1st Battalion, Company D.

       On July 14, 1918 Mike wrote to his brother Will:           
       “Most everyone got mail. I got your letter and two from Sister. One of her’s [sic] was written to Camp and the other over here.”
       “Over here” was, as Mike put it in his censored letters, “Somewhere or Anywhere in France.”

         A letter from Mike to Ima on  August 7, 1918 complains that he has written to her every week, but he has not heard from her lately.
         Another letter from him to her on September 3 wonders if she is receiving his weekly letters.

         Mike did not know that his sister had been taken ill in July. She would not be really well again for a long time.



Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ima Hogg, Summer 1918: The End of a Dream?

         On July 10, 1918 Ima Hogg celebrated her 36th birthday. Escaping the hot Houston summer, she was vacationing in Pennsylvania with a group of friends, but she was not well. On July 11 Dr. Gavin Hamilton, a Houston physician and Hogg family friend, sent a telegram to Ima’s brother Will, saying that Ima was exhausted and suffering from anemia, but the main problem was her nerves.
         Ima may have been having what used to be called a “nervous breakdown.”
         Did she lose someone she loved in that fateful summer of 1918?
         I World War I troops were still fighting each other in trenches across Europe, but Germany was losing. From June 1 to 26 the battle of Belleau Wood was a turning point, with terrible losses of German lives. On June 12 the New York Times carried the headlines: “...Marines Hurl Back Foe in Fierce Hand Fighting,” “French Regain Ground in Brilliant Counter-Attack: 1000 Germans Captured.” The end of June 1918 was the beginning of the end for Germany.

         Was it also the end of Ima Hogg’s hopes and dreams?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Another mystery: what happened to Ima in the summer of 1918?

A mysterious document from the archives: a small "steno" notebook "Summer 1918" appears on one page. The handwriting is Ima's. In July that summer she was traveling in the eastern US with a group of Houston friends. A year earlier, she had been elected president of the Houston Symphony (which she had helped to found in 1913), and she was making lists of questions to ask about symphonies in other cities. She was also shopping for furniture and antiques--but those pages in the diary are crossed out with a large X across each one.

There are some blank pages. What happened to Ima in early July?  A physician and family friend in the travel party telegraphed Ima's brother Will on July 11 that she had become quite ill, and the problems seemed to be "her nervous system."

There are clues in the little notabook's ending pages.
This is a research work in progress.
Watch this space.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ima Mysteres: More to Come

Waiting for documents from 1918. What happened in that long-ago summer? Watch this space.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Tugboat Ima


 Ima Hogg had a boat named after her. Built in the early 1900s, the tugboat IMA HOGG was a fixture in coastal Texas waters. She once towed a barge carrying 400 Texas sheriffs and tax collectors down Buffalo Bayou to Galveston, at a gathering of the Texas Sheriffs’ Association. Ima, as far as we know, was not present. --Galveston Daily News, July 14, 1905.

         In 1908 when a New England visitor asked how the IMA HOGG got her name, “He was told that she was named for the daughter of one of the greatest men Texas ever produced.”
--Galveston Daily News, October 30, 1908.

         In the summer of 1911 Ima sailed to Germany aboard the Hanover, a German ship which left from Galveston. And there was the IMA HOGG, decked out in bunting and signal flags sailing, alongside, dipping its colors to honor its namesake. “The matter was a complete surprise for Miss Hogg,” said a Galveston newspaper, “and she acknowledged the compliment in a most charming manner.”

        She would never escape her name.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Panther’s Story, 1899

With apologies to the author of this 40-year-old column, here is the panther’s role in the 1899 hunt staged by J.S. Hogg for William Jennings Bryan.

Let us hope the panther enjoyed his place on South Congress Avenue. No doubt the meat market owner kept him well fed.

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???

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ima Hogg was a belle. No wonder she had romances!

This is Ima about 1900. She was the daughter of a famous politician, she was a talented musician, a skilled horsewoman, a graceful dancer. Every young man she met fell in love with her, long before she went to Germany. One of them was Willis B. Reeve, in Houston in 1905. He wrote her passionate letters, he visited her at Varner Plantation, he followed her to Cliff House in Manitou Springs, Colorado. 

Since this blogger is planning a visit to Cliff House, there may be more to come about the Reeve  romance.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Munich, 1907: Who were the “interesting men”?

More of Ima’s stay in Munich at the musicians’ pension:

Aug. 28 - Thursday Munich
[Wednesday, August 28, and Thursday, August. 29?]
The “interesting men” have gone & in their places very interesting ladies. Have dared to play on the piano here a little. Mrs. Cooper and I carriaged to the Rheingold with little French lady. Had good seats 827-829--Whitehill the Witan was an old friend of Mrs. Cooper’s with an interesting story to his career--and after the performance met him. Quite a striking looking man. Has a good voice, too....Got home in time for dinner.

Aug. 29-Sept. 2 --Friday. Munich-[-
Glorious full day! [Friday, August 30?] Burgstaller as Siegmund in the Valkyrie....[here she gives a detailed description of the opera] Dreadful to come to earth and find oneself in the rain, too, waiting for carriage. [more details of the opera, which she liked better than the Met’s version.]
Met many delightful people at the Pension. Mrs. B---[illegible] of Brooklyn & the Woods also of B[rooklyn].--Mrs. Cooper, Miss Cummings & I went to the Nat. Museum & rushed through to our regret. [ Here she gives a detailed description of the art they saw.]

Friday was the opera, perhaps Saturday was the museum. What did she do on Sunday and Monday, Sept. 1 and 2?]

She does not say.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A blog for Memorial Day and World War I

Captain Mike Hogg, 1918: US Army, 90th Division, 180th Brigade, 360th Infantry, 1st Battalion, Company D

Ima’s brother Mike fought in World War I and wrote to her when he could. Here is an excerpt form one of his letters:

I have not written very often, because it has been impossible to write at times. I have been on the front for almost four months and in places where it was not healthy to do any writing. However, I think you have missed getting some of my letters. I have written at least once every two weeks at all times.
         Here is just an enumeration of things which I saw one day while we were on a hill in reserve, on the night we went up to relieve another outfit:
         A marsh just below the hill, full of dead horses, torn-up wagons, and cannon. A road just beyond the marsh, winding up a hill in one direction to where a town once stood, but now nothing but white bricks mark the place . . . .All along the slope of the hill where I was, torn helmets of Americans and Germans. Fresh American and German graves, old French graves, pieces of rifles, shreds of uniforms, packs, shoes, grenades, small holes in the ground all over the side of the hill where men had dug in.
         A railroad track, just this side of the marsh, all torn to pieces.  Old pieces of machine guns and ammunition belts of Germans, where they had tried to make a stand.
         The top of the hill all around me covered with what used to be brush, but which was now chewed up by machine gun bullets and looked as if rats had been eating it. Three large observation balloons, one of which was brought down by a Boche. The air alive with aeroplanes. Some were throwing propaganda, which looked like snow falling.
         Shells falling and knocking up the earth every few minutes. Our boys sticking close to the ground; cook stoves camouflaged and in full blast. Every hill in sight full of American Infantry or Artillery soldiers; litter-bearers going after someone just hit by a piece of shell.         
         These are a few of the things I saw from that one spot. Imagine what could be seen when on the move.
         Mike Hogg and his comrades had indeed been “on the move.” The 90th Division had been under fire from August 20 to November 11, Armistice Day, 1918. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ima in Munich: Ten Days of Mystery

Ima’s adventures in Munich, Summer 1907, continued:

Saturday - Munich - to Tuesday
Mrs. Cooper, the friend whom Mrs. Thompson has asked to look after me is delightful. Has taken me in full charge. My time has been most profitably spent in listening to the discussion of various scientific and everyday subjects by two men at our table-- Mr. Baumgardt, and Mr. Monroe. And Miss Koerner, studying for opera, has sung some beautiful von Fielitz songs, and among other things Rubenstein’s lovesong (Romance for Piano). [A dreamy piano piece: did she listen with someone special?] We have visited the new Pinakothek [art museum]. The porcelains downstairs of Old pictures are interesting. The pictures which impressed me were:.[Here she wrote a long list of the pictures.] On Monday took the libretto of Rheingold went into the Eng, Gardens, drove there a while, got out & went to the banks of the Isar and read to each other. . . .

On Monday she sat on the banks of the Isar River--with whom?

She does not say.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A sudden decision to stay in Munich!

Ima’s 1907 diary, continued:

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... Mr. Scott & Mr. Foster went to St. Petersburg --Mr. Thompson to join them in Berlin Tues. or Wed. morning.
Aug. 23, Friday Munich...
Mrs. B.T., Mrs. L.T., & Miss Ione F. waved me farewell on the omnibus at 9 A.M. All alone-- but glad I’m not going to Vienna--am sick of improving my mind--don’t think I have any --so am going in madly for Wagner & Opera -- not too madly for I am really physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and nerve exhausted -- Have just settled my things most permanent-like in a cozy alias Zimmer [room]  at this pension.

She would spend the next ten days there--but she does not tell us about all of them . . . .

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Ima’s Mysterious 1907 Adventures in Germany, continued.

Aug. 19. Monday. Munich. Hotel Linfelder. [Ima went out by herself in this unfamiliar city, to pick up the opera tickets she had ordered from London.]
Out looking--got lost--having left my dear old Baedecker [travel guidebook] 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 in her diary.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.

A sudden change of plans: why?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ima’s Visit to Germany, 1907 (the first of many)

Took train at 11:45 for Cologne. Lack of water all the five or six hrs. almost perished. At C. 5:55 P.M...

Cologne Aug. 8 --Thursday
Took a guide who showed us the Chapels of the Three Kings . . . . [Here she gives a detailed history of the cathedral.] . . . By boat on the Rhine to Coblenz. . . . We took our first German beer. . . .

Friday Aug. 9 Coblenz to Wiesbaden
To Stolzenfelz by car, long steep winding, beautiful walk to the Castle. [details of the castle] . . . The two last days [in Germany] are among my pleasantest in Europe . . . .

Here began Ima Hogg’s lifelong love of Germany. On this visit that she may have begun a fateful romance with a young German (a musician, perhaps?) but she was careful to keep that out of her diary.

Saturday--Aug. 10-15 Wiesbaden
Beautiful town but have been resting so completely haven’t seen a thing but the park by the front and the magnificent Kierhaus across. Music all day. Germany is adorable. Germans kindly and homely. Wednesday to Frankfurt. ...Goethe’s home...From train walked up Kaiser Strasse gazing in fascinating shop windows. . . .

How much can we read between the lines?