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The Winedale Story - Miss Ima and The Gift

Portrait of Ima Hogg   Ima Hogg was a renowned philanthropist and collector well before she discovered Winedale. The Hogg family’s long devotion to public service and its strong ties to the University of Texas led Miss Hogg to donate the Winedale property to her alma mater. As she worked with the University to restore the property, Ima Hogg’s vision for Winedale evolved from its being simply a place to showcase her collections to Winedale as a fully conceived outdoor museum and historical center. The University received the Winedale property in formal ceremonies in 1967.

Portrait of Miss Ima Hogg.
Courtsey of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

 
 
Portrait of James S. Hogg and his family

Portrait of James S. Hogg and his family (Miss Ima at left), ca. 1890.
James Stephen Hogg Papers

  Ima Hogg (1882-1975), daughter of Texas governor James Stephen Hogg, attended the University of Texas, where she developed lifelong interests in education, psychology, politics, music, and art. The Hogg family cultivated public service, and when oil discoveries made them rich, they devoted their newfound wealth to philanthropy, collecting, and historical preservation. Miss Ima’s brother Will C. Hogg, a UT law graduate and Regent, left the bulk of his estate to the University upon his death in 1930. When Miss Ima acquired the Wagner House in Winedale in the early 1960s, she began to plan for its donation to the University of Texas.   Portrait of Will C. Hogg

Portrait of Will C. Hogg, ca. 1915.
Ima Hogg Photograph Collection

 

Wagner House, showing damage from hurricane Carla, ca. 1963Wagner House, showing damage from hurricane Carla, ca. 1963, in R. Henderson Shuffler, Winedale Inn, at Early Texas' Cultural Crossroad (1965). Texas Collection Library

The Wagner House was showing much wear and damage from Hurricane Carla when Hazel Ledbetter purchased it from the Wagner family in 1961. Mrs. Ledbetter removed some outbuildings but left the house largely untouched until she showed it to her friend Ima Hogg in 1963. Captivated by the decorative paintings of Rudolph Melchior on the walls and ceiling of the upper room of the house, Miss Hogg decided to buy and restore the building with the initial thought of relocating the house to Bayou Bend. When that proved impossible, she set out to restore the old house on the site as a showplace for the 19th-century Texas and Pennsylvania German crafts she had been collecting. The restoration project was directed first by Houston architect John Young, then by University of Texas restoration architect Wayne Bell, who served as Winedale’s director for thirty years.

  Notes on restoration by architect John Young, 1963 Notes on restoration by architect John Young, 1963 Notes on restoration by architect John Young, 1963

Notes on restoration by architect John Young, 1963.
Winedale Collection

     
Ima Hogg letter to UT Chancellor Harry Ransom, 1964

Ima Hogg letter to UT Chancellor Harry Ransom, 1964.
Harry H. Ransom Papers

 

Wayne Bell with Ima HoggUniversity architect Wayne Bell with
Ima Hogg at Winedale, 1967,
in UT
Development Newsletter (July, 1967).
Texas Collection Library

As Miss Ima worked with the University, her vision for Winedale evolved into that of a fully conceived museum and conference center to promote the study of the ethnic heritage and cultural history of the area. In 1964, she offered the Winedale property, and an endowment for its support, to the University of Texas. Formal donation ceremonies were held at Winedale in April 1967, when the spring flowers were in bloom. Among the speakers at the dedication was Charles van Ravenswaay, director of Winterthur, the famous museum of decorative arts in Delaware.

"The buildings left to us by earlier generations, which we once took so easily for granted, now command our affection and respect.…We know that the real value of these structures doesn’t come just from their age, their size, or their elegance, but rather from what these buildings mean; their significance in terms of human experience."

-Charles van Ravenswaay

Round Top citizens, scholars, and the University of Texas all sang the praises of Miss Ima Hogg for her dedication and generosity. Winedale curator Lonn Taylor acknowledged her contributions to the book Texas Furniture, which he co-authored, and the University and friends feted Miss Ima with sparklers at Winedale in 1972 on her 90th birthday.

"Miss Ima Hogg of Houston … conceived this book, conducted much of the original research, made funds available for continuing research and photography, and is, in the larger sense, the true author of the work."

-Lonn Taylor, introduction to Texas Furniture

  Ima Hogg at her 90th birthday celebration at Winedale, 1972

Ima Hogg at her 90th birthday celebration at Winedale, 1972. Ima Hogg Photograph Collection

Texas Furniture: The Cabinetmakers and Their Work, 1840-1880 Image from Texas Furniture: The Cabinetmakers and Their Work, 1840-1880 Image from Texas Furniture: The Cabinetmakers and Their Work, 1840-1880   Photograph by Ewing Waterhouse from Texas Furniture: The Cabinetmakers and Their Work, 1840-1880, by Lonn Taylor and David B. Warren, Copyright © 1975 Courtsey of the University of Texas Press.
Texas Collection Library

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