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Manchester-by-the-Sea Artists

Many accomplished artists called MBTS home. Throughout town in studios -- tucked in carriage houses, attics, summer homes, barns -- great paintings, sculptures, compositions, and drawings took form, as they do today.  We are pleased to feature and celebrate the remarkable stories and works of MBTS artists. 

Anna Coleman Ladd founded the American Red Cross Studio for Portrait Masks in Paris during WWI

Anna Coleman Ladd in her Studio for Portrait Masks in Paris in 1918.

© American Red Cross/Library of Congress

Anna Coleman Ladd (1878 – 1939)


Before the United States entered World War I, Anna Coleman Ladd – who had her summer studio in Manchester-by-the-Sea – was a highly accomplished and sought-out sculptor who created statues, fountain figures, reliefs, and portrait busts, now residing in leading museums and public spaces, including the Boston Public Garden.  

But the carnage of the Great War compelled Ladd to go to Europe and apply her artistic talents to helping wounded soldiers.  By 1918, working with the American Red Cross, she established her Studio for Portrait Masks in Paris – where she began to fashion sculpted masks for soldiers with serious facial injuries.  These masks were instrumental in helping these disfigured men with their rehabilitation and return to civilian life after the war.

She was recognized for her humanitarian work with the Légion d'Honneur Croix de Chevalier. When she returned to America after the war, Anna continued to create and sculpted several notable WWI memorials, including one in MBTS.

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Anna Coleman Ladd in WWI American Red Cross Uniform

© Smithsonian Institution 


Ladd in her  Studio for Portrait Masks in Paris in 1918.

© American Red Cross/Library of Congress

Bronze plaque Ladd created in 1918 in her Paris studio; thought to be a self-portrait of Anna in her WWI American Red Cross uniform. 

© Manchester-by-the-Sea Museum

Gift of Susana & Robert Thompson 

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