Before the advent of plastic surgery, there was an American sculptress who helped soldiers restore their lives which were scarred by the horrific facial deformities inflicted by World War I.
Relatives of the soldiers she had helped remember her as Anna Coleman Ladd.
According to Now This, WWI left an estimated 20,000 soldiers with severe facial injuries. Soldiers injured by bullets, shrapnel, or even flamethrowers could often be saved. However, many of them were left with severe facial deformities that made it hard for them to resume normal lives.
Ladd was married to a physician. Her husband’s work brought her to Paris in 1917 where she opened a studio with support from The Red Cross.
To make face masks for disfigured soldiers, Ladd would first make a plaster cast of a soldier’s face. Then she would fashion a mask out of thin copper, modeling it after the soldier’s face using old photographs. She would then paint the mask to match the soldier’s skin tone.
By 1919, Ladd and her assistants were able to make 185 masks for the disfigured soldiers.
Ladd kept the letters given by soldiers. One of them told her:
“Thanks to you, I will have a home. The woman I love no longer finds me repulsive, as she had a right to do.”
Ladd’s studio kept this report in 1919: “One man who came to us had been wounded years before and had never been home. He did not want his mother to see how badly he looked.”
Ladd also received recognition for her work.
In 1932, she was made a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour.
This incredible woman made masks for WWI soldiers who suffered face injuries and helped them return to life after war
Posted by NowThis on Wednesday, 15 August 2018