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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Entries in holkar (4)

    Monday
    Apr022012

    Princess Diaries: Looking for Answers in the 1940 US Census

    Princess Usha Holkar, The Maharani of Indore India, was one of my mother's playmates during the years that the Princess lived in Santa Ana, California with her father, the Maharajah of Indore and his second wife, American Marguerite Lawler.

    Mom remembered playing with the Princess's fabulous toys and dolls in a corner playroom under the watchful eye of her governess and birthday party snapshots show the girls together in party dresses. But, memories are a tricky thing, and it's been hard to pin down dates and places. I am looking for answers with the release of the 1940 U.S. Census to help figure out who lived where, and when.

    "Party Picture, 1912 N. Spurgeon, Santa Ana, Ca, Front Row L-R Patty Bright, 
    Kathy Bright, Susie [Brown], Usha, Fran in back sticking out tongue"

    This birthday photo shows Mom and her sister Frances with Princess Usha and three other little girls. In recent years, Mom remembered the event as her own birthday party, although when assembling her photo album in the 1940's she noted it as "Frances Party." Both sisters had January birthdays, and the address on the back of the photo adds to the confusion. I wrote more about this puzzle in Wordless Wednesday: Dating a Photo of Princess Usha at the Brown Girls' Party. The 1940 U.S. Census may hold a clue to the mystery.

    The Brown Family moved frequently, the census should help pinpoint where they were living on the census date and we can work back from there to January, 1940.

    More About the Brown Girls and Princess Usha

    Happy Birthday Princess Usha from your friend Susie Brown

    It's the Holiday Season at Princess Usha's Orange County House

     

    Photograph: "Party Picture" photograph, in Susie (Brown) Freeman Photo Album, ca. 1942, unpaginated; 
    privately held by Denise Levenick, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Pasadena, Caliifornia, 2010.

    Thursday
    Aug052010

    Help Solve the Mystery with our Family Home Tour Photos!

    Last week I posted an article and birthday party photo of my mom and aunt with Mom's school friend Princess Usha, Dating a Photo of Princess Usha at the Brown Girls' Party. Notes on the back of the photo identified one location for the photo, but Mom remembered living at a different address when she was friends with the Princess. Could we determine the correct house from the photograph?

    Letters addressed to family members should have helped narrow the field, but instead they expanded the the possibilities to four houses -- (address and dates of letters)

    • 512 E. 20th Street, Santa Ana (7 Oct 1938 - 6 Jun 1939)
    • 901 W. 3rd Street, Santa Ana (12 Dec 1939 - 16 Feb 1940)
    • 1912 Spurgeon, Santa Ana (6 Dec 1940 - 19 Dec 1940)
    • 1315 N. Broadway, Santa Ana (3 Jan 1941 - 17 Jun 1944)

     

    512 E. 20th Street

    The houses on 3rd Street and on Spurgeon were no longer standing when we looked for them on our Family Home Tour in June 2010; however we were able to photograph a house of a style similar to the Spurgeon house located across the street from the original address.

     

    1912 North Spurgeon is now an apartment building. This house located across the street looked much the same as their old home, according to Suzanne and Frances.

     

    1315 N. Broadway, big Victorian

    After posting the original party photograph I looked through Mom’s photos again and found another picture that had been mounted in her album. This snapshot shows more of the house, including a pillared porch. Details from both photos indicate

    • narrow wood siding with waist-high trim board
    • a good-sized covered porch supported by Classical columns located on the corner of the house
    • steps to the porch from a concrete walkway
    • simple wood-framed windows and doors
    • a hint of rafter in the upper right-hand corner of the picture indicates a roof gable over the porch or a wrap-around eave from a hip roof
    • house situated on a corner lot

    Birthday Party for Susie or Frances Brown, ca 1940.

    Looking at the photos once more, it seems that

    • The style is not Victorian, eliminating the house at 1315 North Broadway.
    • The eaves and lot situation of the house at 512 E. 20th conflict with the party photo house.
    • Therefore the house pictured must be either Spurgeon or the missing 3rd Street house.

    Mr. Curator moonlights as a General Contractor and thinks that houses opposite each other on Spurgeon Street could have been mirror opposites. If so, this house would be very similar to the one shown in the party photograph. The 2010 home has obviously been extensively remodeled; it may have had an original wood front porch with columns. The stone siding added to the lower portion may have originally been wood with a trim board. The house also shows a wrap-around eave suggested in the original party photo.

    What do you think? Is this the right house, or should we keep looking?

    Wednesday
    Jul212010

    Wordless Wednesday: Dating a Photo of Princess Usha at the Brown Girls' Party

    Mom remembers this special birthday party attended by her school friend, Princess Usha Holkar. A note on the back also identifies other friends Patty and Betty Bright, and Mom's sister, Fran, in the back row sticking out her tongue at the camera. The young woman next to Fran may have been Usha's governess.

     

    "Party Picture, 1912 N. Spurgeon, Santa Ana, Ca, Front Row L-R Patty Bright,
    Kathy Bright, Susie [Brown], Usha, Fran in back sticking out tongue"

    "Party Picture" photograph, in Susie (Brown) Freeman Photo Album, ca. 1942, unpaginated;
    privately held by Denise Levenick, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Pasadena, Caliifornia, 2010.

    Mom loves removing photos from albums, a trait she shares with her own mother, Arline. I think she hopes to find a hidden caption, and if not, she sometimes she adds her own at this later date. All the bits of information help, even if the notes were written at another time, and we are fortunate to several clues to work with. According to the album index sheet, this was "Frances Party," although Mom remembers it as "her" birthday.

    I thought I might be able to use the list of addresses from our Family Home Tour to help date the  photograph, however Mom's and Auntie's recollections conflict with the address on the back of the photo. Mom remembers playing with Usha when they lived on 20th Street; Frances remembers being in the second grade when the family lived at 1912 North Spurgeon. Fran and Susie both celebrate their birthday in January, but January of which year?

    Was it  January of 1939 (Fran 8, Susie 6), or January 1940 (Fran 9, Susie 7), or January 1941 (Fran 10, Susie 8). I am not sure of Fran's age in second grade. Maybe she can answer that question. She was a smart little girl and may have been young for her grade.

    I also looked at postmarked letters from these years and found three letters addressed to family members at Spurgeon in December of 1940, six letters addressed to the family at 3rd Street from Sept 1939 through Feb 1940; and 10 letters addressed to 20th Street from October 1938 through June 1939; and 44 letters addressed to No. Broadway from 3 Jan 1941 through June 1944. It may be that a closer at the individual letters will show where the family was receiving mail in January of each year, and help  solve this little puzzle.

    From Mom's "Princess Diaries"

    Happy Birthday Princess Usha from your friend Susie Brown

    It's the Holiday Season at Princess Usha's Orange County House

     

    Friday
    Dec112009

    It's the Holiday Season at Princess Usha's Orange County Palace

    Earlier this week I was in Orange County to meet my sister and brother-in-law for lunch and she handed me a newspaper feature on the Santa Ana home of Princess Usha of Holkar. It didn't take much encouraging to make a very short detour to drive by the house at Heliotrope and Santa Clara Streets. It doesn't look like the palace has changed much since Mom played with the Princess in the upstairs nursery, although the holiday lawn decorations are surely new.