The Most Kissed Face In the World

They didn't know her name, her age, her background, or how life brought her to Paris when rescuers pulled the lifeless body of a young woman out of the River Seine in the late 1880s. Since the body showed no signs of violence, suicide was suspected. A pathologist at the Paris Morgue was so taken by her beauty that he felt compelled to make a wax plaster cast of her face. She was dubbed L'Inconnue de la Seine (the unknown woman of the Seine). In the years that followed, numerous copies were produced. In the 1940s, toy manufacturer Asmund Laerdal began using plastic instead of wood to design his toys, and his first doll — the Anne doll — even had sleeping eyes and natural hair. One day, Laerdal’s 2-year-old son nearly drowned. Had his father not rushed to pull him out of the water and force water out of his airways, he would have died. That’s when a group of anesthesiologists approached Laerdal and told him they needed a doll to demonstrate a newly developed resuscitation technique — a procedure known as CPR. Laerdal embarked upon a history-making project: making a life-sized mannequin that people could use to practice life-saving techniques. What kind of face would he give to the mannequin? He used L’Inconnue’s face, along with a body of full-sized adult dimensions, including a collapsible chest for practicing compressions and open lips to simulate mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The mannequin was given the name Resusci Anne (Rescue Anne); in America, she was known as CPR Annie. Today, it’s estimated that CPR Annie saves two million lives a year. Ironically, most of these rescues were the eventual result of people kneeling down and coming face to face with the replica of an unknown dead girl from Paris — a Jane Doe who perished long before the technique could ever have saved her.