The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Modjeska, Helena

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MODJESKA, mŏd-jĕs'ka, Helena, Polish actress: b. Cracow, 12 Oct. 1844; d. Bay City, Cal., 8 April 1909. Her father was a musician. In 1860, Having married a theatrical manager, Modrzejewski, whose name she has since softened to Modjeska, she began to act, and soon gained local fame. After her husband's death she appeared in Warsaw in 1868, after marrying Count Bozenta Chlapowski in September of that year. In 1876 she came with the latter to America. In July 1877, at San Francisco, she made her American debut as Adrienne Lecouvreur in an English version of the play by Scribe and Legouve. Three years later she was seen in London as Camille, and from that time she was one of the foremost actresses of the English-speaking tragic stage. She starred with Booth in 1889-90. Her best roles were Shakespearean, notably Lady Macbeth, Cleopatra, Ophelia and Viola. Consult ‘Helena Modjeska: Memories and Impressions’ (New York 1910).