Lester Donahue Biography
Title: Lester Donahue Performing Arts Collection
Collection number: 011
7 archival document boxes and 14 oversize boxes
20 linear feet
Loyola Marymount University. Library. Department of Archives and Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90045-2659
Abstract: The Lester Donahue Collection consists of materials on performning artists that Donahue, himself a concert pianist, collected.
The collection also contains a substantial amount of material pertaining to Madame Helena Modjeska, the nineteenth-century
actress who immigrated from Poland to the Orange County area in 1876 and became a star of theater in the United States.
Languages represented in the collection:
Materials in the Department of Archives and Special Collections may be subject to copyright. Unless explicitly stated otherwise,
Loyola Marymount University does not claim ownership of the copyright of any materials in its collections. The user or publisher
must secure permission to publish from the copyright owner. Loyola Marymount University does not assume any responsibility
for infringement of copyright or of publication rights held by the original author or artists or his/her heirs, assigns, or
[Identification of item], Series number, Box and Folder number, Lester Donahue Performing Arts Collection, Collection 011,
Department of Archives and Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University.
Lester Donahue originally collected the materials in this collection. Loyola Marymount University (then Loyola University)
acquired them in 1964 from Count Daniel and Countess Bernardine Donohue, who had been close friends of Donahue and who served
as executors of his estate. Lester Donahue had stipulated in his will that the materials go to Loyola University (now Loyola
Marymount University). Accession number 1995.18.
Lester Donahue Biography
Lester Donahue (1892-1964) was a Los Angeles-born concert pianist. A protégé of the actress Madame Helena Modjeska, Donahue
studied piano in Los Angeles, Berlin, and Switzerland. His first concert tour was in the United States, with the coloratura
soprano Ellen Beach Yaw; this was only the first of many tours throughout the United States and also Europe for Donahue in
the 1910s and 1920s.
Donahue also served as the president of the Los Angeles Municipal Arts Commission. His interest in autographs and concert
and musical programs and ephemera is reflected in the content of this collection.
This collection consists of several boxes of playbills, programs, and clippings pertaining to theater and film personalities
from circa 1880 to circa 1950, with an emphasis on artists of 1910-1930.. Also in the collection are journal issues pertaining
to performing arts, papers of Lester Donahue (including correspondence, certificates, articles written by him, etc.), sheet
music, book jackets and artifacts
The collection also contains a substantial amount of material pertaining to Madame Helena Modjeska (1840-1909), the nineteenth-century
actress who immigrated from Poland to the Orange County area in 1876 and became a star of theater in the United States. This
fact reflects Lester Donahue's status as a protégé of Modjeska. Materials on Madame Modjeska include books, photographs, letters,
playbills, scrapbooks, typescript biographies, and several artifacts belonging to the actress. See: Series One: Clippings,
box 3, folder 171. Series Two: Programs, Box 5, folders 24, 42, and 43; box 6, folder 62; box 14ov, folder 8. Series Five:
Portraits, Subseries B: Helena Modjeska; Series Seven: Music Box 9ov, folders 1 and 2. Series Eight: Scrapbooks Series. Nine:
Artifacts, Box 12ov, folders 13-16.
NOTE: These books, shelved by call number, are part of the Lester Donahue Collection.
- 1995.18.15 Robida, A. The City of Carcassonne. [192-?]. DC801 .C24 R6313 1920
- 1995.18.16 Ford. DuBarry. c. 1902. DC135 .D8 F6 1902
- 1995.18.17 Drew. Autobiographical Sketch of Mrs. John Drew. 1899. PN2287 .D63 A3 1899
- 1995.18.18 Amiens La Cathédrale. 1918. NA5551 .A45 L4 1918
- 1995.18.19 Lee. A Life of William Shakespeare. PR2894 .L4 1899
- 1995.18.20 Brown. Joint Owners in Spain. PS1127 .J6 1925
- 1995.18.21 Agard. The Glory that Was Greece. DF 77 .A5 1930
- 1995.18.22 Patterson. Maude Adams. c1907. PN2287 .A4 P38 1907
The collection is arranged in the following series and subseries based on subject and format of materials. This may be the
original order that Lester Donahue conceived.
- Series One Clippings
- Subseries A: People
- Subseries B: Miscellaneous
- Series Two Programs
- Series Three Serials
- Series Four Book Jackets
- Series Five Portraits
- Subseries A: General
- Subseries B: Helena Modjeska
- Series Six Lester Donahue Papers
- Series Seven Music
- Series Eight Scrapbooks
- Series Nine Artifacts
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
Donahue, Lester, 1892-1964
Modjeska, Helena, 1840-1909
Entertainers -- Biography
Actors -- Biography
Actresses -- Biography