McCoy, Millie & Christine. (1851–1912)
Wood Engraving of the McCoy Twins
Wood engraved print of the conjoined twins, Millie and Christine McCoy. Butterworth and Heath, [ca. late 19th c.] Faint horizontal crease and some light edge and surface wear; overall very good. 7 x 11.5 inches (18 x 29.5 cm).
Born into slavery as conjoined twins in North Carolina in 1851, Millie and Christine were taken from their parents and sold three or four times, stolen and retrieved; placed on display at fairs and "freak-shows," from New Orleans to as far as Canada. At one time, after being sold to J.P. Smith, they were kidnapped and taken to England. They were retrieved by Smith with the aid of their mother and brought back to North Carolina in 1857. Smith taught them to read and write as well as sing and dance and the twins composed original music for their act. They were widely celebrated as "The Two-Headed Nightingale" and appeared with Barnum's circus. In 1869, a biography of the twins, "History and Medical Description of the Two-Headed Girl," was published and sold during their public appearances.
History & Historiography