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September 1, 2017

Vintage Photographs Capture Everyday Life of 17-Year-Old Twins Betty and Barbara Bounds in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1947

When LIFE photographed 17-year-old identical twins Betty and Barbara Bounds in 1947, the magazine was more concerned with what the Bounds sisters had to say about the life of the postwar American teenager than that of a twin.

Photographer Nina Leen captured the lives of the Bounds’ teenaged cohort in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from their hairstyles (they “wear it shoulder-length”) to their accessories (“combs are often carried in sock”) to their interests (“boys and parties”).

Contrasts in teen-age clothes are shown by Betty Bounds (right), wearing a dainty 1947 outfit, while Barbara poses in sloppy get-up.

Chores are receiving new respect, for 1947 teen-agers think of marriage much more seriously than their wartime equivalents did. Note the frilliness of Betty's shorts.

Identical twins Barbara and Betty Bounds eat al fresco with their parents in Tulsa, Okla.

Barbara and Betty Bounds pose in matching outfits, 1947.

Although teen-age girls are more romantic and less boisterous than they used to be, they still like to put on some old clothes, whizz around with boys and even get a little grease on their hands.

Betty Bounds talks to classmates at school.

Barbara and Betty Bounds look at a globe with a friend.

Always handy, combs are often carried in sock. No girl is ever without one.

The Bounds sisters take a ride with friends.

Barbara and Betty Bounds sunbathe side by side.

Identical twins Barbara and Betty Bounds ride a horse together.

Nancy Churchwell, a friend, tastes a mixture for fudge cake as Barbara Bounds, 17, watches skeptically.

The Bounds sisters get ready for ballet class.

The Bounds go for a ride with friends.

At a party, teen-agers of the Bounds twins' set munch doughnuts and sip Cokes whenever they are not dancing with serious faces to sentimental music. At right, Barbara dances with Jimmy Dick.

(Photos: Nina Leen—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty images)


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