Let’s Do the Twist

bOSBORN Livonia STRONG Howard

According to the writing on the reverse of this real photo postcard (RPPC), our sitters are Livonia Osborn and Howard Strong.  Also penned on the back is “Mardi Gras 1923” which explains the kooky pretzel get-ups.

crop STRONG Howard
Howard Evans Strong ~ 1928

I wasn’t so sure the name Howard E. Strong identified our second sitter because of how the names were placed (see image below sources) until I came across the above photo in a Carnegie Institute of Technology yearbook.  I think he’s definitely a match.  What do you think?

Livonia Chittenden Osborn was named after her paternal grandmother, while Howard’s middle name of Evans came from his maternal grandparents’ surname.   The two grew up in Pennsylvania some 160 miles apart; Livonia in Thornburg and Howard in Smethport

How did it come about that these teenagers attended a Mardi Gras celebration together in 1923?   Notice how they are just barely holding hands.  Were they in love?  Was this the innocent affection of friends?  I wasn’t able to determine a family relationship but that doesn’t mean one didn’t exist.

If Livonia and Howard were romanticly involved, the spark didn’t last.  Howard wed Miss Amelia White in 1927 and Livonia tied the knot (haha) with John Stevenson about 1928.    Both of our sitters lived well into their 80s, Livonia passing away in 1993 and Howard in 1986.

Census records
Florida death index
U.S. WWII Draft Cards
West Virginia marriage records
Social Security death index
Thornburg City Directory


4 thoughts on “Let’s Do the Twist

  1. Absolutely love the fact that they sewed real pretzels onto their clothing! And one in a dunce cap (or wizard?) and other in a beret! His skirt is shorter than hers! (likely shorts of course) And is that yet another pretzel tied into his shoelaces? Very funny.

    I agree that the name on the back is most likely the man in the image. Can’t see it well enough to compare to the later picture. So by the way it’s written, Livonia went by the nickname of Lee? I’d guess that by the way it is written this picture belonged to Howard, who later wrote his own name across the top of it.

    I know “THE” Mardi Gras is in New Orleans, but I wonder if “A” Mardi Gras was celebrated elsewhere back then, as it is somewhat nowadays.

    Also, I wonder if Lee and Howie kept in touch over the years?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems we share many of the same questions…if the two kept in touch and whether this was the Louisiana Mardi Gras. I hadn’t considered Lee may have been Livonia’s nickname…I think you’re onto something there! Thank you for commenting and sharing your thoughts! Oh, and I do think that’s a pretzel on Howard’s shoe. 🙂


  2. I can’t really determine if the two photos match or not, but the costumes are great – if you get hungry at the party, you’ve always got a nibble at hand (munching your partner’s perhaps?)

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s