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Red Cross Work on Mutilés, at Paris, 1918

by Alex J Villanueva

This film is an incredible glimpse into the art of making a broken man whole again. During the First Word War (1914-18) thousands of soldiers would suffer severe facial wounds. Often too grotesque or severe, these men would be too ashamed, or embarrassed to leave home. In London, a sculptor, named Derwent Wood, was volunteering at a hospital when he began to apply his art to making artificial 'portrait masks' for men. In 1917, Wood and other encouraged American sculptor Anna Coleman Ladd to do the same thing, but in Paris. Soon enough, a studio was established and masks were being produced. About 160 would be made by Ladd and her staff, and the process would be continued by others after she left in November 1918. These masks afforded wounded men a whole new chance at trying to become normal again, and at least be able to enjoy the company of their loved ones and a stroll along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées without bringing the unwanted stares.

Red Cross Work on Mutilés, at Paris, 1918

by Alex J Villanueva

This film is an incredible glimpse into the art of making a broken man whole again. During the First Word War (1914-18) thousands of soldiers would suffer severe facial wounds. Often too grotesque or severe, these men would be too ashamed, or embarrassed to leave home. In London, a sculptor, named Derwent Wood, was volunteering at a hospital when he began to apply his art to making artificial 'portrait masks' for men. In 1917, Wood and other encouraged American sculptor Anna Coleman Ladd to do the same thing, but in Paris. Soon enough, a studio was established and masks were being produced. About 160 would be made by Ladd and her staff, and the process would be continued by others after she left in November 1918. These masks afforded wounded men a whole new chance at trying to become normal again, and at least be able to enjoy the company of their loved ones and a stroll along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées without bringing the unwanted stares.

"Red Cross Work on Mutilés, At Paris"

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Short 4 minute film of American sculptor Anna Coleman Ladd's studio in Paris where she made masks for men with facial wounds. From the NMHM. “Red Cross Work on Mutiles, At Paris,” 1918 [Master], US Army / Allied Expeditionary Force, B&W, Silent, 16mm film, M 0010. OHA 252: NMHM Audiovisual Collection, Otis Historical Archives, National Museum of Health and Medicine.

from "Red Cross Work on Mutilés, At Paris" (1918)
Creator: Red Cross
Distributor: National Museum of Health and Medicine
Posted by Alex J Villanueva
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