After working on the publicity for our events and operations, I realized that the largest gap in our public presence is that of Helena Modjeska herself - our website did not include any information about her. I decided to not write a new entry, but rather use existing material. Therefore, I requested a right to reprint the entry on Modjeska from The Polish American Encyclopedia, edited by James Pula for McFarland Publishing and published in 2011. The entry was written by Krystyna Cap and provides a basic introduction to the life and legacy of Modjeska, including a limited list of references. I added some illustrations, and voila - here's our patron, Helena Modjeska. I am often asked if I am Helena, so I'm happy to be able to put that rumor to rest. No, I was not born in 1840!
However, I did visit Modjeska's Historic Home with actress Ewa Boryczko who wrote a wonderful play about Modjeska and performs the solo work herself. With Kris Cieply, the founder of Helena Modjeska Society of Orange County and the future Modjeska Museum we were interviewed about Helena Modjeska's presence in California for a Polish TV Polonia broadcast "Polska24", now available on YouTube. Lukasz Sochur previously recorded the Modjeska Prize Ceremony and a brief interview with Jan Nowicki.
LIST OF MODJESKA CLUB EVENTS IN 2010-2011
A full list of events in 2011 is, at this time, only available in Polish as a PDF download on our website: Spis Spotkan PDF.
Helena and Stanley Kolodziey, Beverly Hills.
THE POLISH AMERICAN ENCYCLOPEDIA
The Polish-American Encyclopedia is a monumental, multi-author effort, the largest recent project of the Polish-American Historical Association. This encyclopedic reference work has three types of entries: thematic essays, topical entries, and biographical entries. The essays synthesize existing work to provide interpretations of, and insight into, important aspects of the Polish American experience. The topical entries identify specific places, events or organizations. The biographical entries identify Polish Americans who have made significant contributions at the regional or national level either to the history and culture of the United States, or to the development of American Polonia. There are over 1,000 entries prepared by more than 120 authors who have contributed to the project. The final manuscript is over 630,000 words, which equates to 1,000 typed pages, single-spaced.
More information about the Encyclopedia on McFarland Website. The encyclopedia was sponsored by the Polish American Historical Association that also published several news items about the Modjeska Club's activities in its semi-annual newsletters (Fall 2010 on Nowicki and Labyrinth and Spring 2011 on Milosz and Mickiewicz). My paper on the 40 years of history of the Modjeska Club was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America and will be repeated at the meeting of the Polish American Historical Association in January 2012.
Fragment of Helena Modjeska's portrait by Tadeusz Ajdukiewicz, 1880.
Ewa Boryczko and Maja Trochimczyk in Modjeska's garden at Arden, Silverado Canyon, Orange County. Photo by Lukasz Soczur, 2011.