San Antonio’s Siamese Twins, Daisy & Violet Hilton
Vaudeville Program, circa 1926
Duotone die-cut folder / 6 3/4” x 5” (folded) / Collection of Old Hat Records
This folder advertises an appearance at the Palace Music Hall (probably Chicago) for a week beginning January 10th (probably 1926). The back panel reads:
“The inseparable union of these charming little girls of seventeen, Daisy and Violet Hilton, is one of the human wonders of the modern world; their playing, dancing and singing a sensation in vaudeville. Born joined together at the base of their spines by an arterial, cartilaginous cord, they have overcome the handicap that Nature placed upon them at birth. They dance and play musical instruments, walk, swim and enjoy other athletic diversions with the ease and grace of normal young women. Their appearance in vaudeville is the event of a decade!”
Born in England in 1908, conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton were put on exhibition at an early age, and remained in show business for most of their lives. After re-locating to San Antonio, they toured the United States on the vaudeville circuit, earning as much as $5,000 a week even during the Great Depression. In 1932, the Hiltons were cast in Todd Browning’s now-classic film Freaks. Violet, the more outgoing sister, had a series of celebrity boyfriends, including band leader Blue Steele.
The Hiltons’ fortunes declined with the demise of vaudeville. Their 1950 film, Chained For Life, was a flop, and even their culinary venture, a Miami hot dog stand, ended in failure. Their final years were spent in Charlotte, North Carolina, working as check-out clerks at a local grocery store. Influenza claimed the lives of the Hilton twins in January 1969.