Tuesday, February 05, 2008

February 5: Daisy and Violet Hilton (1908-1969)

portrait of Hilton sisters as girls[Image description: sepia-toned portrait of twin sisters, about 12 years old, seated side-by-side, with long curls and flounced dresses. Captioned: "Violet and Daisy Hilton, San Antonio Siamese Twins"]
Joined together as we are, there could be no such thing for either of us as a private life.... We are believed to share identical thrills, pains, and even diseases. The truth is that we are as different in our reactions as day and night. I, Violet, often weep over something which makes my sister chuckle. I had whooping cough a year and a half before Daisy. We did not even catch measles from each other.
Conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton were born one hundred years ago today, in Brighton, England. Their childhood was marked by exploitation and abuse, when they were displayed worldwide, and their earnings were kept by the family that, essentially, bought and owned them. At 23, they won a lawsuit for damages against their handlers, and won their legal independence too. They remained on the vaudeville circuit through the 1940s, then settled in Miami, where they ran a snack shack. They died in 1969, from the flu, at their home in Charlotte, NC.

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