Helena Modjeska

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Helena Modjeska

Helena Modjeska Autograph - 1888

Bold, florid autograph dated 1888, in fountain pen on 4×3 laid paper, scalloped on two sides.

Helena Modjeska (1840-1909; actual surname was Modrzejewska), was a Polish actress who, after spending more than a decade as the reigning diva of the Polish national theater, chose in 1876 to emigrate to the United States for reasons both personal and political. Once in America, Modjeska and her husband purchased a ranch near Anaheim, California, making her one of the pioneering residents of Orange County, California. Modjeska’s home from 1888 to 1906, “Arden,” in what is now known as Modjeska Canyon, is a registered National Historic Landmark. Both Modjeska Canyon and Modjeska Peak were named after her.


Modjeska first appeared on the American stage in San Francisco in 1877. One of the finest Shakespearean actresses of her day, she played numerous Shakespearean roles as well as other classic and contemporary roles with her company, which toured nine months a year, playing across America on stages from New York City and across the country in many rural venues. She died in Newport Beach, California, in 1909.

Helena Modjeska
(Picture for reference only, not included)

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