As with any other wars, World War I caused millions soldier and civilian fatalities, as well as countless injuries and disfigurement cases. For the soldiers who came back home having suffered from deformities too severe for facial reconstruction, re-entering the society was an incredibly hard task. Not only because it made their physical lives harder, but it also made them very aware of their looks and other people’s judgment.

Wartime doesn’t always bring out the worst out of humankind, as some people show great compassion and camaraderie during the hardships. One of those compassionate individuals was Anna Coleman Watts Ladd, an American sculptor who moved to France with her husband in 1917. There, she was introduced to Francis Derwent Wood, a sculptor and face mask creator who operated a “Tin Noses Shop” where he helped severely injured WWI veterans. Wood created facial prosthesis for disfigured WWI warriors, giving them a new chance at life. Inspired by his work, Ladd created her own “Studio for Portrait-Masks” where she created portrait-masks and various facial prosthetics for these soldiers in need. Needless to say, her work changed many people’s lives.

Scroll down to learn about this woman’s inspiring work, and take a look at the marvelous before and after photos of soldiers fitted with her state-of-the-art prosthesis.

More info: Rare Historical Photos | Library of Congress

Anna Coleman Watts Ladd was an American sculptor whose work changed many lives

In late 1917, Ladd was inspired by sculptor Francis Derwent Wood who created face masks for severely injured WWI warriors in his “Tin Noses Shop”


After that, Ladd founded the “Studio for Portrait-Masks” where she provided cosmetic masks for badly disfigured WWI soldiers

During this era, injured men battled with the psychological stress of worrying what people would think about their damaged appearance

The so-called mutilés were so wounded, some of their faces were barely recognizable


These victims were referred to as “the most tragic of all war’s victims” since most of them were doomed to a life of total isolation


Using her incredible talent she saved many men and changed their lives forever


In 1932, to honor her charitable work, Ladd was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour by the French Government

After reading this story, many people were touched by Ladd’s incredible talent


Watch this video to learn more about Ladd’s work!