Ima Hogg (1882-1975), philanthropist and patron of the arts, daughter of Sarah Ann (Stinson) and Governor James Stephen Hogg, was born in Mineola, Texas, on July 10, 1882.
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She then moved to Houston, where she gave piano lessons to a select group of pupils and helped found the Houston Symphony Orchestra, which played its first concert in June 1913. She served as the first vice president of the Houston Symphony Society and became president in 1917.
In the meantime, oil had been struck on the Hogg property near West Columbia, Texas, and by the late 1920s Miss Ima was involved in a wide range of philanthropic projects. In 1929 she founded the Houston Child Guidance Center, an agency to provide therapy and counseling for disturbed children and their families. In 1940, with a bequest from her brother Will, who had died in 1930, she established the Hogg Foundation for Mental Hygiene, which later became the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at the University of Texas. In 1943 Miss Hogg, a lifelong Democrat, won an election to the Houston school board, where she worked to establish symphony concerts for schoolchildren, to get equal pay for teachers regardless of sex or race, and to set up a painting-to-music program in the public schools. In 1946 she again became president of the Houston Symphony Society, a post she held until 1956, and in 1948 she became the first woman president of the Philosophical Society of Texas. Since the 1920s she had been studying and collecting early American art and antiques, and in 1966 she presented her collection and Bayou Bend, the River Oaks mansion she and her brothers had built in 1927, to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.
In the 1950s Miss Ima restored the Hogg family home at Varner Plantation near West Columbia, and in 1958 she presented it to the state of Texas as Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historical Park. In the 1960s she restored the Winedale Inn, a nineteenth-century stagecoach stop at Round Top, Texas, which she gave to the University of Texas. The Winedale Historical Center now serves as a center for the study of Texas history and is also the site of a widely acclaimed annual fine arts festival. In 1953 Governor Allan Shivers appointed her to the Texas State Historical Survey Committee (later the Texas Historical Commission), and in 1967 that body gave her an award for “meritorious service in historic preservation.” In 1960 she served on a committee appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower for the planning of the National Cultural Center (now Kennedy Center) in Washington, D.C. In 1962, at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy, she served on an advisory panel to aid in the search for historic furniture for the White House.