Daisy & Violet Hilton and Adoption
1908 - 1967
Also known as Daisy and Violet Skinner
English-American conjoined twins
Daisy and Violet Hilton were born in Brighton, England, joined at the buttocks, to an unmarried barmaid named Kate Skinner, and an unknown father. Their mother sold them very soon afterwards to her employer, Mary Hilton, who had the idea of exhibiting them in sideshows. By the age of five they had toured England, Germany and eve,n Australia. They were physically and emotionally abused by Hilton, her husbands (she had at least five), and her daughter. They were forced to learn to sing and play instruments and dance in order to enhance their attractiveness.
When Hilton died while they were on tour in the USA, the twins were bequeathed to her daughter, Edith Hilton, and her husband, Meyer Meyers, who were even more “ambitious” for the twins, by now in their teens. They and the Meyerses settled in San Antonio, Texas, but the girls continued to be virtual slaves, and money cows for the Meyerses. But in 1931 they managed to free themselves from the Meyerses, while continuing to exhibit themselves on their own account.
Violet became engaged but she and her fiancé were unable to get a marriage license. Later she became engaged again and married. Daisy also got married, but both marriages ended in divorce. Their careers went downhill from the 1930s, and they eventually wound up as check-out clerks in a grocery store in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1962. They died of the flu, alone and without family. [Last updated: 10 JAN 2005]
Bogdan, Robert. Freak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988) © Roger Ridley Fenton