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Women's History Tour of Texas
Item 11 of 19

Ima Hogg, known as “The First Lady of Texas”, was an American philanthropist and a collector of the arts. She was an avid art collector and owned pieces by Picasso, Matisse, and others which she donated to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. The discovery of oil on her family’s plantation allowed her to pursue philanthropy that largely benefited the people of Texas. She founded the Houston Child Guidance Center, the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Ima Hogg Foundation which still exists today and carries on her philanthropic work. The site of her birthplace in Mineola, Texas is marked with a Texas Historical Commission subject marker.


  • Miss Ima Hogg circa 1900
  • Varner-Hogg Plantation where oil was discovered in 1918 and provided Miss Ima with the money to pursue her philanthropy

Ima Hogg was born on July 10, 1882 in Mineola, Texas.  Ima was named for the heroine of a Civil War poem written by her uncle Thomas Elisha and went by the name Miss Ima for most of her life.  When she was eight years old her father, James Stephen Hogg, was elected governor of Texas and they moved to Austin.  In 1899, she began attending school at the University of Texas until 1901 when she traveled to New York to begin studying music.  She returned to Texas in 1909 after studying abroad in Berlin and Vienna and began teaching piano to a select group of pupils.  She helped found the Houston Symphony Orchestra, which played its first concert in June of 1913.  She served as the first Vice President of the Houston Symphony Society and became President in 1917.1

Hogg suffered from severe mental illness and in 1918 fell ill, more than likely from severe depression.  She consulted with a doctor in Philadelphia who specialized in mental illness and nervous disorders.  She was hospitalized for a full year and spent another three years convalescing.  She had fully recovered by 1923 but had given up her previous dream of becoming a professional concert pianist because of prolonged times of weakness due to her illness.2

Also in 1918, oil was found on the family’s plantation.  The oil income provided $225,000 a month that was shared among the four Hogg children.  All of the children did not believe that the money was rightfully theirs because it had come from the land naturally and not because of any hard work they had done, so they were determined to use it for the good of Texas and its residents.  In 1929, Miss Ima founded the Houston Child Guidance Center to provide counseling for mentally ill children and their families.  Miss Ima was convinced that if children’s emotional issues could be treated then more serious mental issues could be prevented in adults.3

In the 1950s Miss Ima restored the Hogg family home at Varner Plantation near West Columbia and presented it to the state of Texas.  In the 1960s she restored the Winedale Inn, a nineteenth century stagecoach stop in Round Top, which she gave to the University of Texas and it now serves as a center for the study of Texas history.  She also restored her parents’ home in Quitman, Texas and in 1969 the town of Quitman established the Ima Hogg Museum in her honor.4

At the age of ninety-three, Miss Ima died of complications that were the result of a traffic accident while vacationing in London.  She was buried on August 23, 1975 in the Hogg family plot in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin, Texas.  The Ima Hogg Foundation, which she had established in 1964, was the major benefactor of her will and continues to do her work of philanthropy today.5


1Bernhard, Virginia. Ima Hogg: The Governor's Daughter. Edition 3rd. Austin, Texas. Texas State Historical Association Press, 2011.
2Bernhard, Virginia. Ima Hogg: The Governor's Daughter. Edition 3rd. Austin, Texas. Texas State Historical Association Press, 2011. 
3Bernhard, Virginia. Hogg, Ima. Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed November 13, 2016. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fho16
4Bernhard, Virginia. Ima Hogg: The Governor's Daughter. Edition 3rd. Austin, Texas. Texas State Historical Association Press, 2011. 
5Bernhard, Virginia. Hogg, Ima. Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed November 13, 2016. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fho16