The Work of Varaztad H. Kazanjian


"The Barton Bandage"
From A Manual of War Surgery by S. G. Barling, 1920

Purchased for the Boston Medical Library through the Samuel Wheeler Wyman Memorial Fund, 1920

During the war, Varaztad H. Kazanjian (1879-1974) used his surgical skills to treat soldiers severely disfigured during combat. In 1915, he was appointed chief dental officer of the Harvard Unit and established the first dental and maxillofacial unit clinic in France as part of the General Hospital at Camiers. Dr. Kazanjian treated some 3,000 patients and was eventually dubbed "Miracle Man of the Western Front."

During the conflict, he published a number of articles describing his work and then contributed a chapter on "Wounds of the face and jaws" to Barling's Manual of War Surgery.


The Oral Surgery Department at No. 20 General Hospital, circa 1916




Kazanjian's personal collection of over 7,000 specimens, including plaster masks, photographs and stereopticon pictures of the faces of soldiers showing cases before and after treatment, X-rays, and original drawings of plastic operations, along with over fifty war relics from the battlefields of France, became part of the museum at Harvard's Dental School in 1923.



Dr. Varaztad H. Kazanjian leaving Buckingham Palace after his investiture as a Companion of St. Michael and St. George for his services during World War I, March 15, 1919.

Gifts of the Kazanjian family to the National Archives of Plastic Surgery in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, 1976


Of Kazanjian's efforts with the Unit during the war, Eugene H. Smith, the dean of the Harvard Dental School, reported: "His wonderful work in oral reconstructive surgery has astounded the medical, as well as the lay, world, and won for him the rank of major in the British Army, and the decoration by the British Government of the Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.  The Corporation of Harvard, in recognition of his service, created a new University title and made him Professor of Military Oral Surgery."


The Harvard Surgical Unit
Treating the Wounded
The Work of Varaztad H. Kazanjian