Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ima Hogg's Birthday

Today is the 130th anniversary of the birth of the Houston philanthropist and visionary, Ima Hogg. To mark the occasion, Houston Woman Magazine and Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens teamed up to host a fun and festive celebration luncheon. 

Ima Hogg
The event, first in a series of small educational luncheons planned by Houston Woman Magazine for its readers this year, was held at the Lora Jean Kilroy Visitors Center at Bayou Bend. In attendance were nearly 50 professional women, all interested in learning more about Miss Ima and the many things she did to improve the quality of life in Houston.

As the publisher of the magazine, it was a pleasure to serve as the official greeter for so many of our readers. However, after making a few welcoming remarks, I was delighted to turn the program over to Bonnie Campbell, the director of Bayou Bend, and Kate Sayen Kirkland, our presenter, and - like everybody else - sit down and enjoy the festivities.

Kate, who did her Rice University dissertation on Ima Hogg, provided us with a lot of great information about Miss Ima, including her contributions to our city's arts and education communities.

During her talk, Kate explained how Ima Hogg was always thinking about additional projects to take on - even when she was in her 80s and 90s. It was a message that inspired us all. 

An unexpected treat was having one of our guests, Katie McGready, share an "Ima Hogg" story of her own. As the story goes, Miss Ima was a dear friend of Katie's mother-in-law. When she became engaged, Miss Ima suggested she "register" her china, so friends would know exactly what to buy her as wedding gifts.

This was  back in the 40s, when registering china was "just not done." Miss Ima, however, thought that it should be — that it was the practical thing to do. 

So, Katie did as suggested and registered a Lenox pattern in a popular china shop in River Oaks. Shortly afterwards, Miss Ima called the shop and bought Katie eight place settings!

As it turned out, that sweet story proved to be a fitting prelude to the presentation of the cupcakes and champagne that followed. When we lifted our glasses to toast Miss Ima, we did so with even greater appreciation.

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