Dora Dawson "The Double-Voiced Singer"

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Fifty years before the "Half Man, Half Woman" act became an archetype, Dora Dawson, a Barnum Museum singer, costuming herself like a 20th Century "half and half." This "splitting" of the person into two halves down the center-- i.e. costuming of a man on one side of the body, and a woman on the other side-- seems to have originated with Dora Dawson. Dora first appeared at P.T. Barnum's American Museum in 1860 and was described by the NY Times as "half man and half woman, with a deep and powerful tenor and sweet and delicate soprano voice...." (November 26, 1860).