Anna Coleman Ladd

Anna Coleman Ladd, born in Philadelphia in 1878, was a well-known sculptor in the city of Boston by the outbreak of World War I. Like many other American women who dedicated much of their time to supporting the war effort, Ladd worked with the Red Cross. In her work with the Red Cross, Ladd put her artistic talents to great use—she founded the Studio for Portrait Masks in Paris, where she and a group of dedicated helpers created prosthetic masks for soldiers whose faces were disfigured in combat.

Reconstruction Masks

The new military technology of the war, particularly that of artillery and machine guns, unfortunately made facial disfigurement ever more commonplace. Ladd and her studio utilized their artistic talents to create realistic facial reconstruction masks for the soldiers. They first took casts of the soldiers' entire faces, from which they produced a mask of a thin sheet of galvanized copper. Ladd then painstakingly painted the metal likeness with hard enamel that had a flesh-colored tone. Ladd painted the mask while the soldier was wearing it and used real hair to create the eyebrows, eyelashes, and mustaches. Each mask took about one month to produce.  The completed masks were often held on by spectacles, as shown in the photos below.

The objects showcased in this section are held by the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art. They highlight some of Ladd's work, with before and after images of soldiers and their facial reconstruction casts.

Further Resources

Anna Coleman Ladd papers, circa 1881-1950.

Caroline Alexander, "Faces of War," Smithsonian Magazine, February 2007.

David M. Lubin, "Masks, Mutilation, and Modernity: Anna Coleman Ladd and the First World War," Archives of American Art Journal 47, no. 3-4 (2008): 4-15.

Kelly Quinn, "Anna Coleman Ladd: an artist's contributions to World War I," Archives of American Art Blog, November 10, 2014

Image Source:

"WWI soldier facial reconstruction documentation photograph," ca. 1918, Anna Coleman Ladd Papers, circa 1881-1950, Archives of American Art, JPEG file, (accessed April 30, 2015).

Lockheed "Hudson" dive bombing U-570; text block at bottom. Relief Halftone/Screen print.Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster CollectionThroughout their history, posters have been a significant means of mass communication, often with striking visual effect.
Physical Description
Lockheed "Hudson" dive bombing U-570; text block at bottom. Relief Halftone/Screen print.
Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection
Throughout their history, posters have been a significant means of mass communication, often with striking visual effect. Wendy Wick Reaves, the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery Curator of Prints and Drawings, comments that "sometimes a pictorial poster is a decorative masterpiece-something I can't walk by without a jolt of aesthetic pleasure. Another might strike me as extremely clever advertising … But collectively, these 'pictures of persuasion,' as we might call them, offer a wealth of art, history, design, and popular culture for us to understand. The poster is a familiar part of our world, and we intuitively understand its role as propaganda, promotion, announcement, or advertisement."
Reaves' observations are especially relevant for the impressive array of aviation posters in the National Air and Space Museum's 1300+ artifact collection. Quite possibly the largest publicly-held collection of its kind in the United States, the National Air and Space Museum's posters focus primarily on advertising for aviation-related products and activities. Among other areas, the collection includes 19th-century ballooning exhibition posters, early 20th-century airplane exhibition and meet posters, and twentieth-century airline advertisements.
The posters in the collection represent printing technologies that include original lithography, silkscreen, photolithography, and computer-generated imagery. The collection is significant both for its aesthetic value and because it is a unique representation of the cultural, commercial and military history of aviation. The collection represents an intense interest in flight, both public and private, during a significant period of its technological and social development.
Copyright Disclosure for Orphaned Works
Whenever possible, the museum provides factual information about copyright owners and related matters in its records and other texts related to the collections. For many of the images in this collection, some of which were created for or by corporate entities that no longer exist, the museum does not own any copyrights. Therefore, it generally does not grant or deny permission to copy, distribute or otherwise use material in this collection. If identified, permission and possible fees may be required from the copyright owner independently of the museum. It is the user's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when copying, distributing or otherwise using materials found in the museum's collections. Transmission or reproduction of protected materials beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Users must make their own assessments of rights in light of their intended use.
If you have any more information about an item you've seen in the Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection, or if you are a copyright owner and believe we have not properly attributed your work to you or have used it without permission, we want to hear from you. Please contact with your contact information and a link to the relevant content.
View more information about the Smithsonian's general copyright policies at
Chromoworks Ltd.
Royal Australian Air Force
W. Krogman
Inventory Number

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.