Portrait of Ima Hogg | Bullock Texas State History Museum

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When the Tyndall-Wyoming Oil Company found oil on land leased from the Hogg family in Brazoria County in the late 1910s, it made Ima Hogg (1882–1975) and her three brothers incredibly wealthy. The family has used their wealth to support philanthropic projects related to the arts, education, historic preservation and mental health.

By the late 1920s, Miss Ima, as she was known for most of her life, was involved in a wide range of charitable activities and cultural organizations. She founded the Houston Child Guidance Center in 1929 to provide therapy and counseling to young people and their families. With an additional bequest from her brother Will, Ima established the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health in 1940. She was elected to the Houston School Board in 1943, where she worked to achieve equal pay for teachers, regardless of either their sex or race, and created a paint- music program in public schools.

Miss Ima also began to study and buy art and antiques in the 1920s. At a time when most antique collectors focused on European-made furniture, Hogg saw the value of pieces made in in the USA. She was one of a small group of collectors who began accumulating early American decorative arts from 1620 to 1870, and other collectors soon followed suit. Hogg’s collection also focused on modern European and North American art, bringing together pieces by renowned artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. His passion and knowledge have resulted in a world-class collection. They also earned him numerous cultural heritage awards and national accolades, such as his appointment to the Kennedy Center planning committee by President Eisenhower and his participation on a panel that provided historic furnishings for the White House.

An avid collector with a passion for historic preservation, Ima Hogg helped found the Texas Historical Commission in 1953 and has restored several historic buildings in Texas. She donated these properties and their contents to the State of Texas and educational institutions; two are now the Varner-Hogg Plantation Historic Site and Winedale Historic Center. Hogg’s dedication to historic architecture is also evident in the family’s Bayou Bend estate. She worked with architect John F. Staub to design the estate with classic Southern architectural elements and pieces that showcased her early collections of American decorative arts. She donated Bayou Bend and its collection to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston in 1966.

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