Julia Ideson and 110 years of the Houston Public Library

This year marks the 110th anniversary of the Houston Public Library. Opened in 1904 thanks to a grant from Andrew Carnegie, the library was then known as the Houston Lyceum and Carnegie Library. Julia Ideson was hired as Houston’s first librarian just in time for the opening. The organization became the Houston Public Library in 1921, and a new building was completed in 1926.

Named in her honor in 1955, the Julia Ideson Building now serves as the Houston Metropolitan Research Center while the Jesse H. Jones building became the new central home for the Houston Public Library upon its completion in 1976. The Houston Public Library is a dynamic organization that continues to link people to the world through its 44 locations and online.

Explore the history of the Houston Public Library and learn about the life of Julia Ideson through the resources featured here.

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Oral Histories:

“I just enjoy anything I find. I really feel like I am on a treasure hunt all the time.”
Betty Chapman

Historian and author Betty Chapman talks about her life as a researcher, her books, and her involvement in preserving historic Houston.



“Then, meantime I had been collecting American Furniture. And I collected and collected…,and I had so much I didn’t know what to do with it.”
Ima Hogg

Ima Hogg, a good friend of Julia Ideson, describes her life as a daughter of James Stephen Hogg, governor of Texas from 1891 to 1895. She talks about her involvement in various philanthropic organizations in Houston and discusses her ancestral home which is now a museum.







Julia Ideson

Sheet Music from the
Houston Public Library

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