This study described the regional distribution of layer-specific residual deformations in fifteen human aortas collected during autopsy. Circumferentially and axially cut strips of standardized dimensions from the anterior quadrant of nine consecutive aortic levels were photographed to obtain the zero-stress state for the intact wall. The strips were then dissected into layers that were also photographed to obtain their zero-stress state. Changes in layer-specific opening angle, residual stretches, and thickness at each aortic level and direction were determined via image analysis. The circumferential and axial opening angles of the intima were ∼240 deg and ∼30 deg, respectively, throughout the aorta; those of the adventitia were ∼150 deg and –20 deg to 70 deg. The opening angles of the intact wall and media were similar in either direction. The circumferential residual stretches of the intima and the axial residual stretches of the media showed high values in the aortic arch, decreasing in the descending thoracic aorta and increasing toward the iliac artery bifurcation, while the axial residual stretches of the adventitia increased distally. The remaining residual stretches did not vary significantly with aortic level, suggesting an intimal role in determining circumferential, as well as medial and adventitial roles in determining axial residual stretches. We conclude that the tensile residual stretches released in the intima and media upon separation, and the compressive residual stretches released in the adventitia may moderate the inverse transmural stress gradients under physiologic loads, resulting from the >180 deg circumferential opening angle of the intact wall.