World War I left many soldiers with disfiguring scars. So American artist Anna Coleman Ladd set up her own studio in Paris and set to work sculpting new faces for those who had lost a piece of theirs in trench warfare.
Ladd started by getting to know the men: their quirks, daily habits, what their siblings looked like, the limited facial expressions they were still capable of. Then, she would choose an expression. For some, that expression would be the only one they could wear.
The Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art has just posted a collection of Ladd’s papers online — photos, letters, diaries and other texts documenting her work.
One Sculptor’s Answer To WWI Wounds: Plaster, Copper And Paint
Photo: American Red Cross/Anna Coleman Ladd papers/Archives of American Art/Smithsonian Institution