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2 Headed Girl, Millie-Crissie
Date: ca. 1870
Artist and Related People:
Dimensions: Image: 3 3/8 x 2 3/16 in. (8.5 x 5.5 cm) Mount: 4 x 2 3/8 in. (10.1 x 6.1 cm) Mat: 14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm)
Medium: Albumen print carte-de-visite
Credit Line: Gift of Daniel Cowin, 1990
Description: Millie and Christine McKoy (1851-1912), twins joined at the lower spine, were born into slavery on a North Carolina plantation. From infancy onward, they were exhibited to paying audiences as freak, wonder, and medical curiosity at venues such as state fairs and P. T. Barnum's museum. The twins' career was managed for most of their lives by Joseph Pearson Smith, a North Carolina merchant, and his family. As they grew up, touring Europe and America as "The Two-Headed Nightingale," Millie and Christine became accomplished performers-they played the piano, danced, and composed songs and poetry. Their performances earned them a great deal of money and they were able to buy the plantation on which they were born and retire comfortably around 1900. Cartes-de-visite of the McKoy sisters served an important role as publicity for their performances. This carte was taken by John H. Fitzgibbon, a prominent London-born St. Louis photographer, at the large studio which he and his wife operated from 1869 until about 1881.
Accession Number: 1573.1990