James W. Hale and Susan A. Coffin papers  1831-1832
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The James W. Hale and Susan A. Coffin papers consist of eleven letters written by the manager of the original Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng Bunker, during the twins' tour of the east coast of the United States in 1831-32. Nine of these letters were written by Hale to Mrs. Susan Coffin, and two to Mr. Coffin, one of which is signed by C. Harris. These letters offer some insight into the touring life of the twins, and of their relationship with their manager, but the collection is unfortunately slight on detail and information.

Two letters stand out as more significant. In the first of these, dated from Boston, July 24, 1831, Hale writes that touring plans have had to be modified to allow time for the twins to regain their health after the strains of the previous few months. The second, written by Harris from Georgetown, D.C., 1832 February 8, includes comments on the poor showing in Baltimore, and the hoped-for higher profitability offered by Washington.

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