Dr Marjorie Gehrhardt of the University of Reading will be speaking at the Effaced from History conference on April 1. To register and view the full program, visit the conference website. You can also read our interview with Marjorie about her interest in face research on our blog.
In 1927, the Association des Gueules Cassées, a veterans’ organisation bringing together French facially disfigured veterans, opened a ‘home’ for those men who wanted to withdraw from society. The purchase of a house had been one of the Association’s primary aims from its foundation in 1921, and in less than six years this goal was achieved. The Maison, in fact a small castle, was purchased and inaugurated in the presence of a number of political leaders and members of the press. How did the disfigured veterans raise the required funds and become a popular and admired group within only a few years? How did the fundraising campaign impact upon the image of disfigured veterans in France and abroad? Drawing upon little-known sources such as pamphlets, posters and the organisation’s Bulletins, this paper discusses the ways in which gueules cassées raised funds and awareness during the Maison des Gueules Cassées fundraising campaign. It explores their visibility, on a national and international level, as well as the ways in which they sought to present their project, and indeed themselves, to the general public.