Anna Coleman Watts Ladd (1878 – 1939) was an American sculptor in the Boston area who devoted her time throughout World War I to soldiers who were disfigured.
Anna Coleman Watts was born in Philadelphia and educated in Europe, where she studied sculpture in Paris and Rome. She moved to Boston in 1905 when she married Dr. Maynard Ladd, and there studied with Bela Pratt for three years at the Boston Museum School. “Triton Babies” (shown here, now a fountain in Boston’s Public Garden) was shown at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. In 1916 she was a founder of the Guild of Boston Artists, where she held a one-woman show.
In late 1917, in Paris, Ladd founded the American Red Cross “Studio for Portrait-Masks” to provide cosmetic masks to be worn by men who had been badly disfigured in World War I. Her services earned her the Légion d’Honneur, Crois de Chevalier, and the Serbian Order of Saint Sava.
After World War I, she depicted a decayed corpse on a barbed wire fence for a war memorial commissioned by the Manchester-by-the-Sea American Legion. In 1936 Ladd retired with her husband to California, where she died in 1939.
Download an article about Ladd, “Maker of Masks”: ACLadd