Anna Coleman Watts Ladd was an American sculptor who moved to France in 1917 to work with Francis Derwent Wood, helping severely injured WW1 veterans. Together, they created facial prosthetics to cover severe facial deformities, allowing the veterans to lead normal lives without judgment from society.
In Ladd's studio, it took close to a month to build a customized mask, which was made out of galvanized copper. The thickness of the mask was one thirty-second of an inch or, as a visitor to her studio once noted, "the thinness of a visiting card." The mask weighed between 4 and 9 ounces and was typically held in place with the assistance of spectacles. Ladd would also spend considerable time painting the mask while the wearer had it on, ensuring that it matched their skin tones.
Ladd received numerous letters of gratitude from soldiers. One soldier wrote, "Thanks to you, I will have a home...the woman I love no longer finds me repulsive, as she had a right to do."
In total, Ladd's studio created 185 masks, which pales in comparison to the number of facial casualties from the war. It was estimated that around 20,000 individuals suffered facial injuries.