Conjoined Twins in Black and White: The Lives of Millie-Christine McKoy and Daisy and Violet Hilton

Paperback | May 1, 2009

EditorLinda Frost

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Conjoined twins have long been a subject of fantasy, fascination, and freak shows. In this first collection of its kind, Millie-Christine McKoy, African American twins born in 1851, and Daisy and Violet Hilton, English twins born in 1908, speak for themselves through memoirs that help us understand what it is like to live physically joined to someone else.
    Conjoined Twins in Black and White provides contemporary readers with the twins’ autobiographies, the first two “show histories” to be republished since their original appearance, a previously unpublished novella, and a nineteenth-century medical examination, each of which attempts to define these women and reveal the issues of race, gender, and the body prompted by the twins themselves. The McKoys, born slaves, were kidnapped and taken to Britain, where they worked as entertainers until they were reunited with their mother in an emotional chance encounter. The Hiltons, cast away by their horrified mother at birth, worked the carnival circuit as vaudeville performers until the WWII economy forced them to the burlesque stage. The hardships, along with the triumphs, experienced by these very different sister sets lend insight into our fascination with conjoined twins.

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Conjoined twins have long been a subject of fantasy, fascination, and freak shows. In this first collection of its kind, Millie-Christine McKoy, African American twins born in 1851, and Daisy and Violet Hilton, English twins born in 1908, speak for themselves through memoirs that help us understand what it is like to live physically jo...

Linda Frost is associate professor of English and director of the Honors Program at Eastern Kentucky University. She is author of Never One Nation: Freaks, Savages, and Whiteness in U.S. Popular Culture, 1850–1877. 

other books by Linda Frost

Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:May 1, 2009Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299230740

ISBN - 13:9780299230746

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations   
Preface       

Introduction: Peculiar Intimacies   
The History of the Carolina Twins. Told in "Their Own Peculiar Way" by "One of Them"   
Biographical Sketch of Millie Christine, the Carolina Twin   
"The Carolina Twins," by William H. Pancoast, M.D.   
Intimate Loves and Lives of the Hilton Sisters, World Famous Siamese Twins
Souvenir and Life Story of San Antonio's Siamese Twins, Daisy and Violet Hilton   
"Chained for Life," by Robert De Seville, from a Story by Ross Frisco

Editorial Reviews

“The stories of these conjoined twins are both fascinating and troubling, not only for what they tell us about their difficult lives but what they have to say about a culture of spectacle and commodification.”—Minrose Gwin, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill