Recently, I discovered a series of three vintage photographs entitled Tulsa Twins 1947. The photographs were taken by Nina Leen, one of the first female photographers for Life Magazine. She joined the Life staff in 1945 and is best known for her photography of animals, fashion and the American lifestyle.
Since Tulsa, Oklahoma is my hometown I was immediately drawn to this set of photos and began to get curious about the Tulsa Twins and who they were. The internet provided little information about the Tulsa Twins except for the photos themselves. But this would not stop me because it’s a small world and Tulsa is an even smaller town as you will soon find out.
I did, however, find a link to an eBay original ephemera item for sale which was a six page article published in 1947 featuring the Tulsa Twins. There is no mention by the seller as to which publication printed this article and photos about the Tulsa Twins. But, since this article consists of pictures taken by Nina Leen we can only assume that the Tulsa Twins appeared in a 1947 issue of Life Magazine. Six pages in length is also consistent with the length of a typical feature article in Life; and this is also the type of article that would be assigned to a young photographer only 2 years into her career.
Then, I noticed that the picture of the Tulsa Twins as published differed from the other photos I had found of the Tulsa Twins and credited to Nina Leen. Not only did the picture itself differ, it also contained a clue on the left side of the composition. That clue is a slight glimpse of Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Now suspecting that the Tulsa Twins may have been students at Will Rogers High School in 1947, I told this story to my father, a 1948 graduate of Will Rogers High School. He was quickly able to find the Tulsa Twins in the Senior Class section of The Lariat 1947, the yearbook for Will Rogers High School.
Please meet the Tulsa Twins.
Tulsa Twins: Barbara Bounds and Betty Bounds