John H. Fitzgibbon, 2 Headed Girl, Millie-Crissie, ca. 1870 (1573.1990)
Ollivier Photo, Millie Christine: The Carolina Twin, surnamed the 2-headed Nightingale, ca. 1880 (1546.1990)
Frank Wendt, [Millie-Christine], ca. 1900 (2011.47.70)
Millie-Christine McKoy (1851-1912), twins joined at the lower spine, was born into slavery on a North Carolina plantation. From infancy onward, she was 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 she grew up, touring Europe and America as “The Two-Headed Nightingale,” Millie-Christine became a accomplished performer–playing the piano, dancing, and composing songs and poetry. Millie-Christine’s performances earned her a great deal of money and she was able to buy the plantation on which she were born and retire comfortably around 1900. Cartes-de-visite of Millie-Christine served an important role as publicity for her performances.