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
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.