For Veterans Day, Kelly Quinn, the Terra Foundation Project Manager for Online Scholarly and Educational Initiatives, looks at the contributions of artist Anna Coleman Ladd in aiding soldiers disfigured during World War I.
In April 1919, Mrs. Charles Bochman wrote a note of thanks to sculptor Anna Coleman Ladd for a lecture Ladd delivered to a local chapter of the American Red Cross. Ladd had recently returned to the U.S. after a year abroad in France where she founded the American Red Cross Studio for Portrait–Masks. Ladd addressed the ladies’ auxiliary about her work crafting personalized cosmetic sculptures to be worn by men who had been badly disfigured in combat. She described the task of designing copper masks, characterized by Mrs. Bochman as “one of the saddest and most important features of the war.”
Recently, journalists have turned their attention to the collection and described Anna Coleman Ladd’s work in feature stories for radio and web publication. And, several years ago, art historian David Lubin wrote an essay for Archives of American Art Journal.
Veterans Day provides an opportune time to return to her records and their pieces to learn how an American woman artist contributed to the war effort during World War I.
- Masks, Mutilation, and Modernity: Anna Coleman Ladd and the First World War, by David M. Lubin
- One Sculptor’s Answer To WWI Wounds: Plaster, Copper And Paint, by National Public Radio
- An American sculptor’s masks restored French soldiers disfigured in World War I, by Michael E. Ruane
- Masks: The Face Transplants of World War I, by Olga Khazan
Kelly Quinn is the Terra Foundation Project Manager for Online Scholarly and Educational Initiatives at the Archives of American Art.