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.