The artificial collection comprises
primary and secondary source materials on Helena Modjeska, a nineteenth-century Polish stage
actress who had a successful career in the United States. Most items pertain to her stage
career, while others provide insight into Modjeska's life at her Santiago Canyon ranch,
Arden, in Orange County, California. Primary sources include original and photocopied
Modjeska correspondence, ephemera, programs and playbills, photographs, scrapbooks, and
artifacts, including a hand-written book of fairy tales. Secondary sources include
biographical information on Modjeska in newspaper clippings, manuscripts typescripts, and
published journal articles written by a number of authors.
Helena Modjeska was born Helena Opid on October 12, 1840 in Krakow, Poland. Her interest in
acting began at a young age, and she left school early to train with a local actor. Under
the management of Gustave Sinnmayer Modrzejewski, she made her theatrical debut as Helena
Modrzejewska in Bochnia, Poland in 1861. Although she had two children by Modrzejewski, they
never married, and after the death of her three-year old daughter in 1865, she left him and
returned to Krakow with her young son Ralph.
3.1 Linear Feet
(5 boxes and 5 oversize folders) and 0.2 unprocessed linear
Property rights reside with the University of California. Copyrights are retained by the
creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please
contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Processed components of the collection are open for research. Unprocessed additions may
contain restricted materials. Please contact the Department of Special Collections and
Archives in advance to request access.