Kraków

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Helena Modrzejewska trail

Kraków

  • Bielany

    […] but in summer there were excursions; first, the Rocks of the Virgins, where lilies of the valley grow wild; then Bielany, with its monastery of Camaldule brothers, built on a high hill amidst centenarian oaks, the most picturesque edifice, inhabited by equally picturesque monks in white robes and cloaks. We also visited, though rarely, the Dragon’s Cave; for Poland, too, has the myth of a dragon killed by the first chief of the Poles, Krakus, from whom the name Cracow is derived. Most often we went to Kosciuszko’s mound, raised by the people, who carried with their own hands the earth to the spot until they erected a hill in his memory.

    Bielany

    Bielany

     

    […] but in summer there were excursions; first, the Rocks of the Virgins, where lilies of the valley grow wild; then Bielany, with its monastery of Camaldule brothers, built on a high hill amidst centenarian oaks, the most picturesque edifice, inhabited by equally picturesque monks in white robes and cloaks. We also visited, though rarely, the Dragon’s Cave; for Poland, too, has the myth of a dragon killed by the first chief of the Poles, Krakus, from whom the name Cracow is derived. Most often we went to Kosciuszko’s mound, raised by the people, who carried with their own hands the earth to the spot until they erected a hill in his memory.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 47]

  • Summer excursions after year 1850 - The Rocks of the Virgins

    […] but in summer there were excursions; first, the Rocks of the Virgins, where lilies of the valley grow wild; then Bielany, with its monastery of Camaldule brothers, built on a high hill amidst centenarian oaks, the most picturesque edifice, inhabited by equally picturesque monks in white robes and cloaks. We also visited, though rarely, the Dragon’s Cave; for Poland, too, has the myth of a dragon killed by the first chief of the Poles, Krakus, from whom the name Cracow is derived. Most often we went to Kosciuszko’s mound, raised by the people, who carried with their own hands the earth to the spot until they erected a hill in his memory.

    Summer excursions after year 1850 - The Rocks of the Virgins

    […] but in summer there were excursions; first, the Rocks of the Virgins, where lilies of the valley grow wild; then Bielany, with its monastery of Camaldule brothers, built on a high hill amidst centenarian oaks, the most picturesque edifice, inhabited by equally picturesque monks in white robes and cloaks. We also visited, though rarely, the Dragon’s Cave; for Poland, too, has the myth of a dragon killed by the first chief of the Poles, Krakus, from whom the name Cracow is derived. Most often we went to Kosciuszko’s mound, raised by the people, who carried with their own hands the earth to the spot until they erected a hill in his memory.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 47]

  • Summer excursions after year 1850 - Kościuszko mound

    […] but in summer there were excursions; first, the Rocks of the Virgins, where lilies of the valley grow wild; then Bielany, with its monastery of Camaldule brothers, built on a high hill amidst centenarian oaks, the most picturesque edifice, inhabited by equally picturesque monks in white robes and cloaks. We also visited, though rarely, the Dragon’s Cave; for Poland, too, has the myth of a dragon killed by the first chief of the Poles, Krakus, from whom the name Cracow is derived. Most often we went to Kosciuszko’s mound, raised by the people, who carried with their own hands the earth to the spot until they erected a hill in his memory.

    Summer excursions after year 1850 - Kościuszko mound

    Summer excursions after year 1850 - Kościuszko mound

     

    […] but in summer there were excursions; first, the Rocks of the Virgins, where lilies of the valley grow wild; then Bielany, with its monastery of Camaldule brothers, built on a high hill amidst centenarian oaks, the most picturesque edifice, inhabited by equally picturesque monks in white robes and cloaks. We also visited, though rarely, the Dragon’s Cave; for Poland, too, has the myth of a dragon killed by the first chief of the Poles, Krakus, from whom the name Cracow is derived. Most often we went to Kosciuszko’s mound, raised by the people, who carried with their own hands the earth to the spot until they erected a hill in his memory.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 47]

  • Zwierzyniec. Lajkonik

    “There is also the so-called ‘Konik’ (little horse). A peasant, accompanied by pipes and drums, appears riding a hobby horse. He is armed with an imitation mace, stuffed with straw, with which he hits everyone who comes in his way, making funny remarks, allusions, and altogether behaving without respect to his fellow-men. The only way of stopping his tongue and his blows is to give him a few coins, for which he usually returns graceful thanks, unless some features, dress, gesture, or walk of the giver excites his sense of humor. then his thanks are followed by such awful wishes and remarks that his benefactor soon regrets his kindness, and runs away from the persecutor, amidst the uproarious laughter of the crowd.

    Zwierzyniec. Lajkonik

    Zwierzyniec. Lajkonik

     

    “There is also the so-called ‘Konik’ (little horse). A peasant, accompanied by pipes and drums, appears riding a hobby horse. He is armed with an imitation mace, stuffed with straw, with which he hits everyone who comes in his way, making funny remarks, allusions, and altogether behaving without respect to his fellow-men. The only way of stopping his tongue and his blows is to give him a few coins, for which he usually returns graceful thanks, unless some features, dress, gesture, or walk of the giver excites his sense of humor. then his thanks are followed by such awful wishes and remarks that his benefactor soon regrets his kindness, and runs away from the persecutor, amidst the uproarious laughter of the crowd. This ludicrous custom was established after one of the Tartar invasions, in memory of a peasant by the name of Micinki, who saved Cracow by galloping at night to the city and warning the authorities of the approaching hordes. Since that time the privilege of this pageant was granted to him and his descendants, which in Poland’s happy days, when the great lords of the city were lavish in their gifts, proved very profitable to the Micinski family.

    At present ‘Konik’ makes but a poor show, though it called forth loud laughter from the youthful Emperor Franz Joseph at his first visit to Cracow.” [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp.48-49]

  • Krzemionki, 1850

     

    “… mother changed her plan and decided that we should go to the hills, called ‘Krzemionki’, and ask the hospitality of Mrs. X., my aunt’s old acquaintance. The hills are about three miles from Cracow. We mount the hill, and at sunset we reach Mrs. X.’s modest villa. After a frugal meal, which we finish almost in total darkness, we all go to the top of the hill to look at the burning city.

    Krzemionki, 1850

    Krzemionki, 1850

     

    “… mother changed her plan and decided that we should go to the hills, called ‘Krzemionki’, and ask the hospitality of Mrs. X., my aunt’s old acquaintance. The hills are about three miles from Cracow. We mount the hill, and at sunset we reach Mrs. X.’s modest villa. After a frugal meal, which we finish almost in total darkness, we all go to the top of the hill to look at the burning city.

    Havens! What a sight! The whole town is on fire. Flames, black and white smoke, sparks shooting high in the air, and – O God! Such a red, red sky! It is terrifying but also beautiful! I cannot help admiring the picture. I clap my hands and exclaim, ‘Oh, how glorious!’ My outburst of enthusiasm is interrupted by a painful slap on the back, accompanied by Aunt Teresa’s voice, which rings in my ears like an archangel’s trumpet. ‘You ungodly child! Hundreds and hundreds of people’s homes are turning to ashes, and you rejoice over it! Kneel down and pray God to forgive you for your sin.’ And she pushes me by the shoulders towards the house. But here shame, distractions, anger, take hold of me; I strike, bite, scratch, and altogether behave like a wild animal, until, exhausted, I fall in a fit of violent sobbing, followed by an acute cramp around my heart. The next thing I remember is a small parlor, myself lying on the sofa […] dressed in one of Mrs. X. nightgowns, a huge garment in which I feel lost, I kneel t my prayers, sad, meek, full of contrition. I am put into a strange bed for the first time in my life, and as I lie down, looking at the walls covered with pictures and daguerreotypes of unknown persons, I sadly realize that I have lost my home forever.

    The conflagration lasted ten days. During that time there was not one night that was not brightened by flames, not one day without a new alarm. Every breeze revived the fire smouldering under the ashes, creating a new panic.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp.39-40]

  • Skalka Monastery of Pauline Fathers

    “The letter of the board of the Polish National Alliance in the United States to the Cracow City Council from 28 May 1909 with the request to consider the proposition of burying Helena Modrzejewska in the Crypt of the People of Merit in Skalka Monastery of Pauline Fathers.”

     Skalka Monastery of Pauline Fathers

    Skalka Monastery of Pauline Fathers

     

    “The letter of the board of the Polish National Alliance in the United States to the Cracow City Council from 28 May 1909 with the request to consider the proposition of burying Helena Modrzejewska in the Crypt of the People of Merit in Skalka Monastery of Pauline Fathers.”

    [Archival Materials, 2009, p. 47]

    “The letter of the Funeral Committee to the president of the city of Cracow from 1 June concerning the co-financing of the funeral ceremony of Helena Modrzejewska. The city assigned for this purpose 1000 crowns.”

    [Archival Materials, 2009, p. 47]

    “The resolution of the Cracow City Council from 3 June 1909 on their taking part in the funeral ceremony of Helena Modrzejewska.”

    [Archival Materials, 2009, p. 48]

    “At the meeting on 4 July 1909 the proposition of the Polish National Alliance in the United States to place Helena Modrzejewska’s body in the Crypt of the People of Merit in Skalka Monastery of Pauline Fathers was considered.”

    [Archival Materials, 2009, p. 48]

    “The resolution from 5 July 1909 on ceasing the actions aiming at burying Helena Modrzejewska in the Crypt of the People of Merit in Skalka Monastery of Pauline Fathers, in connection with her will of being buried at the Rakowicki cemetery (“next to her mother’s grave”) and on accepting the program of the funeral ceremony of the artist.”

    [Archival Materials, 2009, p. 48]

    “The letter of the Funeral Committee to the president of Cracow from 14 July 1909 with the program of the funeral ceremony of Helena Modrzejewska.”

    [Archival Materials, 2009, p. 48]

  • Kazimierz district

    Awful mud and dirt in the streets, in addition indescribable buzz and uproar, as among the Jews in Kazimierz

    Kazimierz district

    Awful mud and dirt in the streets, in addition indescribable buzz and uproar, as among the Jews in Kazimierz (…) [Korespondencja, 1965, letter 182]

  • Summer excursions after year 1850 - the Dragon’s cave

    […] but in summer there were excursions; first, the Rocks of the Virgins, where lilies of the valley grow wild; then Bielany, with its monastery of Camaldule brothers, built on a high hill amidst centenarian oaks, the most picturesque edifice, inhabited by equally picturesque monks in white robes and cloaks.

    Summer excursions after year 1850 - the Dragon’s cave

    Summer excursions after year 1850 - the Dragon’s cave

     

    […] but in summer there were excursions; first, the Rocks of the Virgins, where lilies of the valley grow wild; then Bielany, with its monastery of Camaldule brothers, built on a high hill amidst centenarian oaks, the most picturesque edifice, inhabited by equally picturesque monks in white robes and cloaks. We also visited, though rarely, the Dragon’s Cave; for Poland, too, has the myth of a dragon killed by the first chief of the Poles, Krakus, from whom the name Cracow is derived. Most often we went to Kosciuszko’s mound, raised by the people, who carried with their own hands the earth to the spot until they erected a hill in his memory.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 47]

  • Wawel

    “One part of the castle is restored and turned into Austrian barracks, but the old portion of the edifice, ragged, with moss-covered roof, is still there, looking down on the city, with its small grated windows and huge stone gate. One would say, a very old lonesome man, with weak eyes and open mouth, brooding over his past. He has witnessed horrors of war, crime, lust, victories, pride, conceit, honors, as well as inexpressible sorrows, great Christian virtues, monstrous injustice, and finally the downfall of the noble race.

    Wawel

    “One part of the castle is restored and turned into Austrian barracks, but the old portion of the edifice, ragged, with moss-covered roof, is still there, looking down on the city, with its small grated windows and huge stone gate. One would say, a very old lonesome man, with weak eyes and open mouth, brooding over his past. He has witnessed horrors of war, crime, lust, victories, pride, conceit, honors, as well as inexpressible sorrows, great Christian virtues, monstrous injustice, and finally the downfall of the noble race.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 10]

  • Vistula Boulevards. Wianki

    Of all the festivities I loved best the ‘Wianki’ (the Wreaths). On St. John’s day crowds of people come to a certain spot upon the bank of Vistula. They begin to come in the afternoon, though the festivity opens only at dark. Slowly, one afternoon after another, small boats, trimmed with foliage and flowers, appear on the rippling waters of the river. Some are rowed by a single young man, some contain three or four men

    Vistula Boulevards. Wianki

    Vistula Boulevards. Wianki

     

    “Of all the festivities I loved best the ‘Wianki’ (the Wreaths). On St. John’s day crowds of people come to a certain spot upon the bank of Vistula. They begin to come in the afternoon, though the festivity opens only at dark. Slowly, one afternoon after another, small boats, trimmed with foliage and flowers, appear on the rippling waters of the river. Some are rowed by a single young man, some contain three or four men. At last a large raft filled with students, vocalists, makes its triumphant entrance amidst hearty applause.On the bank, a little higher up the stream, is a group of young girls. Each of them holds a wreath of flowers, tied with ribbons on a square board, with a small wax lamp or candle in the centre. Each of these wraths is marked with a different color ribbon. With nightfall, at a given signal, the girls launch their lighted wreaths on the water, and let them go with the stream. Dear little garlands! Each of them carries a thought, a pang, or a sigh, a hope or a wish, towards an imaginary lover or the chosen one, and by two, by three, by four, hunting each other, spreading apart or huddling together, they advance on the dark current to their unknown fate. Simultaneously with the appearance of these fluttering messages the young men begin a chase for them. Steering adroitly with their swift, small boats among those diminutive floating, flowery islands, they try to catch them without putting out the lights. This requires a certain degree of agility. Often two boatmen will aim at the same wreath, and then a fight ensues, usually fatal to the object of their desire. This creates great excitement among the girls, who watch the game anxiously. Voices are heard: ‘It’s Wanda’s wreath, what a shame! Poor, poor Wanda!’ These sad ejaculations are easily explained. There is a superstitious belief that the girl whose wreath is caught safely, with its light burning, will soon be married happily; but the one whose wreath is drowned, or its light put out, is condemned to celibacy if not to early death.When the game is over, the choral song of the students hushes the animated crowd. People become suddenly silent, listening with delight to the fresh, youthful voices whose notes ring out with that clearness and magic beauty which music produces in the stillness of the night. After several songs, a dazzling Bengal light floods the boats, the old castle, and the distant group of peasants on the opposite shore of Vistula, and then, as a finale, the National Hymn is heard. Oh, that hymn, full of tears, supplications, and revenge! The people join in the chorus, and when the last note dies away, they return home with heavy hearts, pondering on the helpless tragedy of their country.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 49-50]

  • Blonia. Walking in the country

    “In spring, accompanied by three of our brothers, every morning at half-past five o’clock we were sent on a two-mile walk to a country place, where we had a glass of milk and a slice of bread. Then we returned home for breakfast and school, by the longest way on the shore of the river, where the boys usually performed gymnastic feats, walking on the top of barriers erected for protection of people against possible falls into the whirlpool, in which exercises they made me take part. It was at the same spot where my uncle, the priest, was drowned…”

    Blonia. Walking in the country

    Blonia. Walking in the country

     

    “In spring, accompanied by three of our brothers, every morning at half-past five o’clock we were sent on a two-mile walk to a country place, where we had a glass of milk and a slice of bread. Then we returned home for breakfast and school, by the longest way on the shore of the river, where the boys usually performed gymnastic feats, walking on the top of barriers erected for protection of people against possible falls into the whirlpool, in which exercises they made me take part. It was at the same spot where my uncle, the priest, was drowned…”

    Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 43-44]

  • Franciszkanska street

    The street, half white from the flood of moonlight, and half black with mysterious shadows, was a great attraction to me. Leaning a little forward I could see the Franciscan square and a corner of the church. That part of the square always inspired me with a sort of awe. Often on the days of funerals I have seen emerging from the church door the brotherhood of St. Francis, of dreadful appearance, with which people used to frighten children.

    Franciszkanska street

    Franciszkanska street

     

    The street, half white from the flood of moonlight, and half black with mysterious shadows, was a great attraction to me. Leaning a little forward I could see the Franciscan square and a corner of the church. That part of the square always inspired me with a sort of awe. Often on the days of funerals I have seen emerging from the church door the brotherhood of St. Francis, of dreadful appearance, with which people used to frighten children. The members of that society are dressed in black cassocks, painted all over with skulls, bones and flames. They wear back cowls drawn over their faces, falling in a V-shape below the chin, and looking like masks with round holes for the eyes. This institution is a relic from medieval times, and I believe that even at the present time the brotherhood appears at some church ceremonies.

    The Franciscan square had yet another attraction: the old tradition was that during some terrible epidemics the authorities, not being able to burry all the people, threw them pell-mell into the church vaults. My brother told me that one of those vaults was here in the corner of the church; I also heard some awful ghost stories connected with it. The ghosts were not kind enough to appear, but at night, out of the corner, two huge century-old owls used to appear and walk in the moonlight, throwing long shadows behind them, which made them seem three times their own length. These uncanny creatures moved very slowly, with silent steps, spreading their wings from time to time in a vain effort to fly; but, unable to lift their old clumsy bodies above the ground, they dropped their feathered arms in despair, dragging them on the pavement. The phantom birds, I imagined, were some penitent souls, creeping in the dust and begging for mercy. They made me shiver with fright, and yet I could not turn my eyes away from them, but sat there in the warmth of a summer moonlight, fascinated, hypnotized. What thoughts passed across my little brain then I cannot remember, but many years later, when I studied the part of Juliet, the tomb of the Capulets brought back vividly to my mind those childhood impressions of the Franciscan church, the mysterious vault, and the phantom owls.

    (Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 28-29)

  • Planty

    “… we enter slowly the long avenue of old chestnut-trees which encircles the city, meeting in the neighborhood the Royal Castle. This Avenue, called the ‘Planty’, is the favorite promenade of the people during the warm season of the year, but even in winter it is not deserted; students of different schools find always a pretext to walk on the fresh snow of their beloved ‘Planty’. In fact, everybody frequents the avenue.

    Planty

    Planty

     

    “… we enter slowly the long avenue of old chestnut-trees which encircles the city, meeting in the neighborhood the Royal Castle. This Avenue, called the ‘Planty’, is the favorite promenade of the people during the warm season of the year, but even in winter it is not deserted; students of different schools find always a pretext to walk on the fresh snow of their beloved ‘Planty’. In fact, everybody frequents the avenue. I remember when I was young aspirant for dramatic honors, I used to rise at five o’clock in the morning, take my part with me, and walk up and down in the shade of the wide-branched trees, studying my lines. At eight o’clock I had to return, for fear of being exposed to the jets of the students.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 11]

  • Family house on the corner of Grodzka street and Dominikanski square

    “I can show you the place, not the house; it was burned down in the conflagration of 1850 […] we are standing before the new house built on the spot where my mother’s old home has stood […] two windows on the third floor, behind which I spent the first ten years of my life.

     Family house on the corner of Grodzka street and Dominikanski square

    Family house on the corner of Grodzka street and Dominikanski square

     

    “I can show you the place, not the house; it was burned down in the conflagration of 1850 […] we are standing before the new house built on the spot where my mother’s old home has stood […] two windows on the third floor, behind which I spent the first ten years of my life.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 9]

     

    Year 1848

    “…a murmur of voices was heard approaching nearer and nearer, until an unusual clamor filled the streets, and in the midst of it a cry, ‘Build barricades!’ Then all the houses disgorged their inhabitants, who carried beds, mattresses, chairs, sofas, throwing them into a large heap until a barricade was raised across the street. We counted one, two, three barricades, the last one at the end of our street; and leaning out of the window, we could see the Austrians’ bayonets in the distance. Our maidservants worked with spirit, carrying heavy pieces of furniture, kitchen utensils, etc., and placing them on top of the shaky structure. Every time they climbed up the called to the Austrian soldiers, shaking their red fists at them and giving them funny and uncomplimentary names. […] My sister and myself were highly interested in looking at the National Guards arranging themselves behind protective barricades […] when suddenly a loud report of a cannon made us spring up, run to mother, and cling to her dress. […] On the instant a tremendous crash shook the house to its foundations. Something unnaturally heavy struck the wall, followed by something equally heavy falling with a clang against the stone pavement. […] ‘ A bomb tore away half of the iron balcony, and made a big hole in the wall!’ The cannon reports still continued, the streets were filled with the clamors and cries of people, and then, with a noise like the snapping of whips, the rifles began their work. Louder and louder grew the shooting, and with it the crash of broken window-panes falling to the floor together with the bullets. […]The shooting ceased for a while and we went to the window. There a picture met my eyes. On the opposite side of the street a man lies on his back on the pavement; his shirt is open, in the middle of his breast gapes a red wound. A woman kneels by him, trying to stop the blood, which drips on the pavement and congeals. The face of the man is white, the eyes staring wide open. In the middle of the street a boy of ten or twelve lies, his face to the ground. […] Some other wounded men are carried away. The street is alive with wailing, lamenting people, and we sit by the window and look and look, taking in every detail of that sad, never-to-be-forgotten picture.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 22-25]

  • Home theatre

    … we found compensation in concerts given at our house by some friends and artists. Madame Majeranowska, nee Hofmann, then a young and very talented woman, who later was a well-known opera-singer, and Bogucki, a splendid basso profundo, gave us many never-forgotten moments of delight. […]

    Home theatre

    … we found compensation in concerts given at our house by some friends and artists. Madame Majeranowska, nee Hofmann, then a young and very talented woman, who later was a well-known opera-singer, and Bogucki, a splendid basso profundo, gave us many never-forgotten moments of delight. […]

    My three older brothers were crazy about the stage, and asked mother for the permission to give private theatricals at home. Wearied with their incessant pleadings, she consented at last […] to my great delight, we had regular performances every month. Joseph, the eldest, though married, painted the scenery; Simon took care of the music and songs; and Felix was the leading man. With four or five young students they formed a company. Girls were not admitted to this histrionic circle, but boys assumed female parts. I remember still a young red-headed and freckled youth, by the name of Jahnsen, dressed in a white muslin gown, and white stockings in place of shoes, probably to make his steps light and fairy-like, reciting dramatic verses, which called forth many enthusiastic bravos. He and Felix were the best actors of the troup.

    We had many of these performances, and many friends came to see them. They praised or blamed according to the value of the performer, and these were the first lessons I received in dramatic art. Who knows if this childish enthusiasm for the theatre did not decide my fate, and also the fate of my sister and my two brothers. All four of us went on the stage.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 35-36]

  • Statue of the Virgin

    “At the other side of Szeroka Street stands and old house which miraculously escaped the Austrian bomb as well as the flames, intact in its clumsiness with squatty, sprawling walls and small square windows. At the angle of it, in a shallow niche provided with a small protecting roof, a statue of the Virgin is placed. Ten golden stars surround her head, ornamented with most elaborate puffs and curls, a golden belt imprisons her waist, a blue cloak fastened with a gold buckle falls in graceful folds down to her feet. Her right hand is extended as in blessing over the people who pass beneath her. Her eyes are turned toward heaven, and her feet repose lightly on a silver crescent.

    Statue of the Virgin

    Statue of the Virgin

     

    “At the other side of Szeroka Street stands and old house which miraculously escaped the Austrian bomb as well as the flames, intact in its clumsiness with squatty, sprawling walls and small square windows. At the angle of it, in a shallow niche provided with a small protecting roof, a statue of the Virgin is placed. Ten golden stars surround her head, ornamented with most elaborate puffs and curls, a golden belt imprisons her waist, a blue cloak fastened with a gold buckle falls in graceful folds down to her feet. Her right hand is extended as in blessing over the people who pass beneath her. Her eyes are turned toward heaven, and her feet repose lightly on a silver crescent. In a word, a true relic of a baroque style. […] smiling tenderly at the statue […] I am thinking what an important part this image of the Virgin played in my childhood. […] it was not ugly to me then. It was the most wonderful incarnation of virtue, grace, and motherhood. It brought into my little brain marvelous dreams of angels and saints. I firmly believed that she loved me, and many time I related to her long stories of my childish grievances, in a whisper. I knew she heard me, in spite of the wide street between us, and every morning and evening I said my prayers, kneeling by the window on a chair, so that I might behold her lovely countenance! […] I am still grateful for those glimpses into the land of wonders, which left an everlasting impression on my soul.”

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 9-10]

  • House of Dr Schanzer

    The calamity was complete. During that time mother tried to find lodgings, but failed. Every remaining house, every attic, even cellars, being crowded with homeless families. At last Dr. Schantzer offered us two rooms until we should be able to rent a flat or a house.

    House of Dr Schanzer

    The calamity was complete. During that time mother tried to find lodgings, but failed. Every remaining house, every attic, even cellars, being crowded with homeless families. At last Dr. Schantzer offered us two rooms until we should be able to rent a flat or a house.

    During those days spent in Dr. Schantzer’s house I was left entirely to myself, every one having their hands full, and I used my freedom in the most pleasant way I could. Hidden behind baskets and bundles of clothes, I gave myself entirely to the reading and re-reading of the life of my favorite saint, the sweet Genevieve. At moments I felt quite consoled for the loss of home; for could we not go to the woods, as she did, and live on herbs and roots, until we should meet a polite doe who would yield her milk to us? […] My mother lost in the fire almost everything she possessed. Her two houses were bringing her an income. The houses were highly insured, but by some fatal stroke of fate the payment of the next year’s insurance was not remitted in time. she was just ten days behind. The walls of the houses as well as the grounds were sold. With that money, and certain sums she had among the people, we had to live until the brothers were able to help.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 40-41]

    “The place of living of Helena Misel with family: mother Józefa Bendowa, siblings: Józefa Misel, Szymon and Feliks Benda, in the building in Dominikanski square 773, 74, 74 (at present 1 Dominikanska Street).”

    [Archival materials, 2009, p. 40]

  • In the new house, the address unknown [perhaps 1 Dominikanska street]

    It was in the autumn of 1850 that my brother Joseph introduced to my mother Mr. Gustave Sinnmayer Modjeski. […] it took quite a long time for us to get used to him, but we ended by liking him quite well, especially when, during the long winter evenings, he read aloud to us some wonderful stories.

    In the new house, the address unknown [perhaps 1 Dominikanska street]

    It was in the autumn of 1850 that my brother Joseph introduced to my mother Mr. Gustave Sinnmayer Modjeski. […] it took quite a long time for us to get used to him, but we ended by liking him quite well, especially when, during the long winter evenings, he read aloud to us some wonderful stories. It was he who established in our house the custom of reading aloud in the evenings. Everyone had to take turns, and while my mother and Aunt Teresa were knitting, and we children were dressing or stitching clothes for our dolls, one of my brothers, or anyone who would volunteer to do so, would read aloud. These were delightful, never-to-be-forgotten evenings. […]

    A few years later my three brothers were scattered in the world. […] our household became very quiet, and something had to be done to enliven it. My brother Adolphe suggested that […] we could give performances […]and for that purpose we wrote a play together. We had no stage, no scenery, but that did not matter. We fo8und a plot in a magazine, and shaped it into a drama in one act, I writing two female parts, and he supplying his own speeches. It was a fierce tragedy, with the scene laid in Greece. A jealous sweetheart was waiting for her lover […] In case he failed to return in time, his affianced lady swore on her part to take poison… […] dressed in Aunt Teresa’s black gown, tucked and pinned to make it suit my size, with a black lace mantilla on her head, Sophronia walks up and down […] Then a short dialogue between herself and her plump duenna, whose long dress is dreadfully in her way. […] poor Hector, after a short explanation, falls down and dies […] The heroine’s joy turns into a desperate speech and a convulsive sob over the dead lover’s body. Curtain! The dear Aunt Teresa was wiping her eyes, but mother looked stern. […]she said I had made a poor exhibition before the neighboring children […] Then she concluded with an imperative ‘No more theatricals!’ I received the blow with tears. […] So much work for nothing! I had studied my part so thoroughly, not only the speeches, but also the gestures and poses, which was a rather difficult task, for we had no looking-glass in our room. […] I used to place a lamp in the middle of the room, and standing in between it and the white wall, I could see distinctly the silhouette of my whole body, which I twisted in all sorts of impossible poses. I had great difficulty in managing my arms, and I did not like the appearance of my rather short-fingered hands; they did not look a bit like those I saw in pictures and statues. I came to the conclusion that the best way of managing them was to keep the fingers close together, as in some of the archaic pictures I saw in churches. […] when I was before our modest audience [composed of a few children and their nurses, my mother, and Aunt Teresa], I forgot my hands and arms and poses […] I took the manuscript and tore it up in little pieces, which I threw into the fire…

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp.44-47]

  • Dominican church

    At the end of our short and wide street, about one block from our house, and in the opposite direction from the Franciscans, stand the Dominican church, a point of great attraction to me.” The naves of that church are singularly narrow, and their arches drawn up so high that they seem to be out of proportion a regular old Gothic structure. Not knowing anything about architecture then, I supposed that this church was built in imitation of two hands joined for prayer, with the finger-tips meeting and relaxed above the wrists, as in some of the pictures of praying Madonnas whose hands form an arch not unlike the entrance to a Gothic church.

    Dominican church

    At the end of our short and wide street, about one block from our house, and in the opposite direction from the Franciscans, stand the Dominican church, a point of great attraction to me.” The naves of that church are singularly narrow, and their arches drawn up so high that they seem to be out of proportion a regular old Gothic structure. Not knowing anything about architecture then, I supposed that this church was built in imitation of two hands joined for prayer, with the finger-tips meeting and relaxed above the wrists, as in some of the pictures of praying Madonnas whose hands form an arch not unlike the entrance to a Gothic church. My favorite amusement after the evening prayers was to join my hands in the same way; holding them against the light, I imagined I had a little chapel of my own, with three arches, a door, and a window in the background.

    The Dominican church has a basement with widely spread arches of graceful design. That was my favorite place. I liked to go there during the summer months. In the winter the unheated church, with its stone floor, was too chilly, but it was a delight to be there during the warm weather, so cool, so quiet, with no sound except the twitter of the sparrows in the yard. How often I would lie down, with my face to the ground, in imitation of our peasant women, with arms outstretched in the shape of a cross, kissing the floor, and praying fervently to God for a miracle, for a glimpse of an angel, or of some saint.

    One afternoon, when I was in one of my ecstasies, I heard muffled steps near the door. Someone was coming towards me very softly, nearer and nearer. ‘A miracle!’ I thought. ‘My prayer is granted! It is an angel who comes, or a saint!’ and thrilled with mysterious joy, I even imagined I felt the waft of a heavenly garment or wings, like a cooling breeze upon my neck, when suddenly a strong grasp clutched at the belt of my frock, lifted me up, and with one turn of the hand put me on my feet, forcing me to face my angel in the shape of a distressed old maid. The dear Aunt Teresa…

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 30-31]

  • Stolarska street

    The stories which Miss Ludwina gave me had developed in me quite a passion for reading, and I read everything I could find, my brother’s school books s well as the sentimental stories which Miss Apollonia rented from a circulating library.

    Stolarska street

    Stolarska street

     

    The stories which Miss Ludwina gave me had developed in me quite a passion for reading, and I read everything I could find, my brother’s school books s well as the sentimental stories which Miss Apollonia rented from a circulating library. In fact, I read long before I could understand what I read. […] I do not recollect the exact program of our studies, but my favorite subjects were grammar, Polish history, and French, and it seemed that I made some progress in my studies as well in my behavior, for my mother came one day and expressed her gratitude to our teachers, Mrs. R. and her daughters, for the good influence they exerted over me […] yet there were two things in my character she could not cure me of: my stubbornness and my bashfulness. Oh, that horrible, shrinking shyness, which stood in my way so often […] That awful timidity which many times, even in my days of maturity, prevented me from asserting my own value in the face of impudent ignorance! How often I loathed that unwelcome defect without being able to overcome it! Even my long stage career did not cure me entirely of this disease, which our Polish poet, Asnyk, an old and indulgent friend of mine, called ‘ fits of modesty’.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 31-33]

  • Stolarska street – the Austrian jail

    Opposite Mrs. R. house stood a large building, with boxed-up windows. It was a provisory jail for political prisoners. One morning I saw Miss Salomea sitting be an open window, with a sheet of paper before her and a pencil, looking intensely at the house opposite, as if watching or waiting for something to see. After a while she began to sing a plaintive Polish song.

    Stolarska street – the Austrian jail

    Opposite Mrs. R. house stood a large building, with boxed-up windows. It was a provisory jail for political prisoners. One morning I saw Miss Salomea sitting be an open window, with a sheet of paper before her and a pencil, looking intensely at the house opposite, as if watching or waiting for something to see. After a while she began to sing a plaintive Polish song. As soon as she finished the fifth verse, a large white hand appeared in one of the windows of the jail, over the boxed casement, and began to trace with the forefinger some letters in the air. At once miss Salomea wrote down some words, and raising her eyes again, she watched the hand and wrote down what the prisoner communicated. She was doing that for many days, and what she wrote down she read in a whisper to her mother and sister, and after some consultation they usually sent Felix [Benda, Helen’s brother] on some errand, and then some visitors called and they shut themselves in the parlor. That was all I noticed. I racked my little brain in vain to find out what was the meaning of it all, when one day Miss Salomea, seeing me watching her, explained to me that the man opposite was a dear friend, whom the Austrians kept unjustly in prison, and whom she and her family were trying to release. […] ‘I do hate the Austrians, ‘ I repeated mentally on my way home, and I was so deeply impressed by Miss Salomea’s words that I wrote ‘ I hate the Austrians’ several times on the copy-book of my grammar exercise.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 32]

  • Centre for Documentation of Helena Modjeska’s Life and Art

     

    Centre for Documentation of Helena Modjeska’s Life and Art was established by the regulation of the Rector of the Jagiellonian University on 21 July 2009 as an ancillary unit at the Chair of Cultural Management of the Institute of Culture ( Faculty of Management and Social Communication) at the Jagiellonian University.

    Centre for Documentation of Helena Modjeska’s Life and Art

    Centre for Documentation of Helena Modjeska’s Life and Art

     

    Centre for Documentation of Helena Modjeska’s Life and Art was established by the regulation of the Rector of the Jagiellonian University on 21 July 2009 as an ancillary unit at the Chair of Cultural Management of the Institute of Culture ( Faculty of Management and Social Communication) at the Jagiellonian University.

    The Centre is a multimedia research platform whose main task is to prepare, develop and provide for the scientific analysis the materials on Helena Modjeska . The centre  also documents the current events related to the actress and is involved in publishing and editorial works; it seeks to establish cooperation with the institutions and researchers whose area of work overlaps with the activities of the Centre.

  • Foundation for Support of Modjeska’s Life and Art Research

    Foundation for Modjeska is an initiative of people believing that it is a duty to keep the memory of the great artists who have passed away, and that their life and  art are an essential part of the national heritage and give the patterns of citizenship. The Foundation was established on 5 May 2010. This is in accordance with the will of the Artist, who in the farewell spectacle in the Metropolitan Opera House said: In the end it’s not the applause which is the greatest reward for the actors. It is the awareness that they will live in the heart and memory of the audience.

     

    Foundation for Support of Modjeska’s Life and Art Research

    Foundation for Modjeska is an initiative of people believing that it is a duty to keep the memory of the great artists who have passed away, and that their life and  art are an essential part of the national heritage and give the patterns of citizenship. The Foundation was established on 5 May 2010. This is in accordance with the will of the Artist, who in the farewell spectacle in the Metropolitan Opera House said: In the end it’s not the applause which is the greatest reward for the actors. It is the awareness that they will live in the heart and memory of the audience.

  • Mariacki Church

     

    “Ah! the dear old walls, worn by so many centuries! We enter the church of the Virgin Mary (Panna Marya). It is encumbered with high scaffolding, reaching to the ceiling. Matejko reigns there again. According to his plans, the old walls, the arched ceiling, the pillars and altars, are restored and repainted in their old original glory. The work on the main altar, covered with carved statuary of the great ‘Wit Stwos’, a sculptor of the fifteenth century, and one part of the centre nave, is already finished. We stand awhile admiring. It is a marvelous restoration. The walls are covered with most vivid colors, yet the whole is harmonious soft, and beautiful. The character remains purely medieval, full of color, glowing, inspiring, a true temple of God, for the people.

    Mariacki Church

    Mariacki Church

     

    “Ah! the dear old walls, worn by so many centuries! We enter the church of the Virgin Mary (Panna Marya). It is encumbered with high scaffolding, reaching to the ceiling. Matejko reigns there again. According to his plans, the old walls, the arched ceiling, the pillars and altars, are restored and repainted in their old original glory. The work on the main altar, covered with carved statuary of the great ‘Wit Stwos’, a sculptor of the fifteenth century, and one part of the centre nave, is already finished. We stand awhile admiring. It is a marvelous restoration. The walls are covered with most vivid colors, yet the whole is harmonious soft, and beautiful. The character remains purely medieval, full of color, glowing, inspiring, a true temple of God, for the people.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 7-9]

  • Main Market

    “Three days afterwards, on the large square, ‘Rynek’ opposite St. Mary’s Church, I stand with my mother. On the square, crowds and crowds of people wait for the funeral procession of the victims killed on the day of the bombardment. The sound of organs reaches our ears. The church is overflowed. Many kneel outside the pavement, and at the call of the great ‘Zygmunt’ bell more and more people come streaming by. The whole city is out. Then a long, plaintive wail of the people is heard, and the coffins appear, carried on the shoulders of men and women, and the long chain of victims proceeds to the final resting place.

    Main Market

    Main Market

     

    “Three days afterwards, on the large square, ‘Rynek’ opposite St. Mary’s Church, I stand with my mother. On the square, crowds and crowds of people wait for the funeral procession of the victims killed on the day of the bombardment. The sound of organs reaches our ears. The church is overflowed. Many kneel outside the pavement, and at the call of the great ‘Zygmunt’ bell more and more people come streaming by. The whole city is out. Then a long, plaintive wail of the people is heard, and the coffins appear, carried on the shoulders of men and women, and the long chain of victims proceeds to the final resting place.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 27]

     

     

    Market Square, year 1850, the line A-B

    Two months after the conflagration, mother, prompted by economy, inscribed Josephine and me as day scholars at St. John’s convent. We lived now in different part of the city, and four times a day, accompanied by a maid, Josephine and I had to cross, there and back, the fashionable sidewalk, usually called line A.B., of the large square ‘Rynek’. This was a kind of distraction to us and a new experience. I remember meeting almost daily several characteristic types I never could forget. One of them, or rather two of them, were the brothers M., two middle-aged bachelors, dressed entirely alike, in long, whitish, tight-fitting coats, tall hats, and immaculate frilled shirt-fronts. They both wore small side-whiskers a la Byron, and when they lifted their hats, which they did frequently before promenading ladies, I noticed their high, elaborate toupees, firm and glossy at the top of their heads.

    Next were two rich, aristocratic young ladies, two sisters with very blond hair, and such large hoops and so many flounces on their dressed that when they walked side by side people were obliged to step off the sidewalk, or to flatten themselves against the houses, to make room for them; but it was a peculiar pleasure for us to go right through between them, though we were nearly smothered by falbalas and the odor of musk. It was equal to an adventure.

    The funny street urchins, with their sallies and gambols, so distressing, yet so amusing, and the crazy Paul (Pawelek) were also very interesting. Poor, silly Pawelek, who offered to kiss every pretty girl he saw, without regard to their station in life; for that innocent desire he had been many times seized by the collar and given into hands of an unromantic policeman.

    The last and most entertaining type I remember was a person called Aunt Pumpkin, given this surname on account of her enormous rotundity, in contrast with her face. It was a benevolent, shiny, flushed, crab-apple face, framed in a large poke bonnet, smiling kindly at the world. Her small head was rhythmically wagging on a long, slender neck, while she carried on her swift, waddling legs the huge, seemingly artificial abdomen, which lifted her dress in front about ten inches above ground, exhibiting her white stockings and her low, black, cross-bandaged shoes. She never could appear in the street without being followed by a crows of guying boys, yet she had means of disarming their malicious remarks by a pleasant smile, a kind word, and dry plums, which she carried in her large green reticule. Poor Aunt Pumpkin! We laughed at her, and she died of dropsy.” [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 42-43]

     

  • Main Market. Corpus Christi procession

    The most important of them is the Corpus Christi procession. Early in the morning, at the sound of the Great ‘Zygmunt’ bell, crowds of peasants from the neighboring villages stream in from all the streets and stop at the Rynek, where provisory altars are built at almost every corner. These altars are called stations. When the large square is filled with people, it is hard to describe the wonderful display of costumes. Each village wears different garbs in shape and color.

    Main Market. Corpus Christi procession

    The most important of them is the Corpus Christi procession. Early in the morning, at the sound of the Great ‘Zygmunt’ bell, crowds of peasants from the neighboring villages stream in from all the streets and stop at the Rynek, where provisory altars are built at almost every corner. These altars are called stations. When the large square is filled with people, it is hard to describe the wonderful display of costumes. Each village wears different garbs in shape and color. There are the white, blue, green, gray, and brown coats of the men, – some plain, some embroidered and spangled, with tassels, strings of brass rings hanging from their belts, sleeveless vests with red lapels, high boots, and striped, loose, wide trousers. Women in rich brocade or velvet-spangled waists and jackets, with turbans of embroidered lawn and lace. Girls with artificial wreaths and ribbons and strings of coral ornamenting their throats and breasts. All these people come in quietly, modestly, with their prayer books and rosaries, deeply impressed by the occasion. Then marches in a regiment of Austrian soldiers in their handsome uniforms; then, city people in their best clothes, a string of girls in white, with garlands on their heads, carrying the images of saints on their shoulders, priests, brotherhoods, monks, banners of all kinds, etc. They all crowd the Rynek, and that mass of human beings forms the most gorgeous harmony of color, spotted here and there by a dark modern coat of the black crape of a widow.

    The service begins at the first altar, and when the benediction bell rings, military trumpets send forth a peal of victorious melody, repeated three times and accompanied by a muffled roll of drums, and all the banners bend down over the heads of the prostrate people.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 47-48]

  • The statue of Adam Mickiewicz

    The president of Cracow M. Zyblikiewicz, 5 November 1879, to Modrzejewska: I certify hereby that I received from Madame Modrzejewska the sum of 423, 26 fl. for the statue of Mickiewicz. [Korespondencja, 2000, letter 67; see also the letter of Zyblikiewicz to Modrzejewska in: Korespondencja , 1965, letter 313 – also about the building of the new theatre]

     

    The statue of Adam Mickiewicz

    The president of Cracow M. Zyblikiewicz, 5 November 1879, to Modrzejewska: I certify hereby that I received from Madame Modrzejewska the sum of 423, 26 fl. for the statue of Mickiewicz. [Korespondencja, 2000, letter 67; see also the letter of Zyblikiewicz to Modrzejewska in: Korespondencja , 1965, letter 313 – also about the building of the new theatre]

  • Sukiennice

    In year 1879 “The ceremonies of the [J.I. Kraszewski’s] Jubilee were to be combined with the opening of the recently restored ‘Sukiennice’ [Draper’s Hall], a public structure first built in the fourteenth century, and later on fallen into decay. The restoration was undertaken by the city of Cracow, and was accomplished under the supervision of our great national artist, Jan Matejko.”

    Sukiennice

    In year 1879 “The ceremonies of the [J.I. Kraszewski’s] Jubilee were to be combined with the opening of the recently restored ‘Sukiennice’ [Draper’s Hall], a public structure first built in the fourteenth century, and later on fallen into decay. The restoration was undertaken by the city of Cracow, and was accomplished under the supervision of our great national artist, Jan Matejko.”

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p.391]

    “The opening of the ‘Sukiennice’ was inaugurated with aa ball, and the president of the city [the mayor], Mr. Zyblikiewicz, selected me to lead the Polonaise with him. […] At one of the public meetings, during the Jubilee, the question of building a new theatre was raised, and Siemiradzki, one of our most prominent artists, who was present at the meeting, promised to paint a curtain for it.”

    [Memories and Impression, 1910, pp. 392-393]

  • Cracow

    “Cracow! This is really Cracow – my cradle, my nurse, my mentor and master. Here I was born and bred. Here trees and stars taught me to think. From the green meadows with their wild flowers I took lessons of harmony in color, the nightingales with their longing songs made me dream of love and beauty.

    Cracow

    “Cracow! This is really Cracow – my cradle, my nurse, my mentor and master. Here I was born and bred. Here trees and stars taught me to think. From the green meadows with their wild flowers I took lessons of harmony in color, the nightingales with their longing songs made me dream of love and beauty. The famous ’Zygmunt’ bell of the cathedral, with its deep and rich sound reminded me of the glorious past of Poland; the organs in the churches spoke of God and His Angels; stained windows, statues, and altars suggested art – its importance, its dignity.”

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 6]

    Cracow conflagration, 1850: “In July, 1850, on Sunday at noon, the heat was intense. […] suddenly someone opens the door of the adjoining room, shouting: ’The lower mills are on fire!’ […] No more than half an hour later we see flames on the roof of the bishops’ palace on Franciscan Street, and almost simultaneously the red tongues of fire are licking the roof of a house opposite ours on Grodzka Street. […] My poor mother […] tells Aunt Teresa to take us to St. Sebastian’s meadow, which is situated on the other side of the Chestnut Alley […] I obey promptly, and taking under my arm the life of St. Genovieve, a book I have just begun to read… […]  crowds of men, women, and children scatter on the meadow, bringing with them such articles as they have been able to save from flames. Men are going back and forth, carrying furniture, bedding, and clothing, piling them up in different camps. Evidently they intend to spend the night there. People, horses, cattle, dogs, birds in cages, and cats – all are mixed up. Alone, among strangers, we are on the point of bursting into tears, when at last we perceive our dear, perspiring, tired, panting Aunt Teresa, carrying on one arm a large feather quilt, and with the other arm pressing tenderly to her bosom my large doll. That is all she thought, in her confusion, worth saving.”

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 37-39]

    Lu Freeman in Cracow: “The day is glorious, the sun shines brightly, the snow creaks under our feet, the sleigh –bells jingle their melodious tunes; my soul is filled with rapture, and I feel as light as a feather.” \

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 7]

    7 September 1882, from England, Modjeska wrote to her mother: “I’m coming back to Cracow in ten months, forever, thank God.”

    [Korespondencja, 2000, letter 97]

  • Jagiellonian Library, St Anna street

    One day, however, quite unexpectedly, he was introduced to me by Mr. Estraicher in the court of the Jagellonian Library, where I used to get historical books, or copy costumes. I was just about to play a part in a play of a remote period, and was hunting for a sketch of a suitable dress for it. I could not find it in the library. It would have been quite proper to ask Mr. Matejko to help me in the matter, but I was so overcome by the presence of the great master that I could not say anything beyond a commonplace expression […] Happily Mr. Estreicher was there, and he explained my object in visiting the library. […] shortly after this interview one of my fellow-actors, Vincent Rapacki […] brought me the desired sketch, which Mr. Matejko had drawn for me.

    Jagiellonian Library, St Anna street

    One day, however, quite unexpectedly, he was introduced to me by Mr. Estraicher in the court of the Jagellonian Library, where I used to get historical books, or copy costumes. I was just about to play a part in a play of a remote period, and was hunting for a sketch of a suitable dress for it. I could not find it in the library. It would have been quite proper to ask Mr. Matejko to help me in the matter, but I was so overcome by the presence of the great master that I could not say anything beyond a commonplace expression […] Happily Mr. Estreicher was there, and he explained my object in visiting the library. […] shortly after this interview one of my fellow-actors, Vincent Rapacki […] brought me the desired sketch, which Mr. Matejko had drawn for me.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p.123]

  • St. Anna Church

    The place where Helena Modjeska and Karol Chłapowski were married in 1868.

     

    St. Anna Church

    The place where Helena Modjeska and Karol Chłapowski were married in 1868.

  • The Chestnut Alley

    “On the mornings which followed the off night I used to get up at five o’clock, and after the usual cup of coffee for breakfast I went into the open air with my part, sometimes to the chestnut alley, but more often to the botanical gardens, where I was sure not to meet anyone at an early hour. I studied aloud, having for an accompaniment the songs of the birds, trees and flowers for inspiration, and, above all, the wonderful gray or blue sky with its fantastic clouds.”

    The Chestnut Alley

    The Chestnut Alley

     

    “On the mornings which followed the off night I used to get up at five o’clock, and after the usual cup of coffee for breakfast I went into the open air with my part, sometimes to the chestnut alley, but more often to the botanical gardens, where I was sure not to meet anyone at an early hour. I studied aloud, having for an accompaniment the songs of the birds, trees and flowers for inspiration, and, above all, the wonderful gray or blue sky with its fantastic clouds.”

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 128]

  • Statue of the Virgin

    “At the other side of Szeroka Street stands and old house which miraculously escaped the Austrian bomb as well as the flames, intact in its clumsiness with squatty, sprawling walls and small square windows. At the angle of it, in a shallow niche provided with a small protecting roof, a statue of the Virgin is placed.

    Statue of the Virgin

    “At the other side of Szeroka Street stands and old house which miraculously escaped the Austrian bomb as well as the flames, intact in its clumsiness with squatty, sprawling walls and small square windows. At the angle of it, in a shallow niche provided with a small protecting roof, a statue of the Virgin is placed. Ten golden stars surround her head, ornamented with most elaborate puffs and curls, a golden belt imprisons her waist, a blue cloak fastened with a gold buckle falls in graceful folds down to her feet. Her right hand is extended as in blessing over the people who pass beneath her. Her eyes are turned toward heaven, and her feet repose lightly on a silver crescent. In a word, a true relic of a baroque style. […] smiling tenderly at the statue […] I am thinking what an important part this image of the Virgin played in my childhood. […] it was not ugly to me then. It was the most wonderful incarnation of virtue, grace, and motherhood. It brought into my little brain marvelous dreams of angels and saints. I firmly believed that she loved me, and many time I related to her long stories of my childish grievances, in a whisper. I knew she heard me, in spite of the wide street between us, and every morning and evening I said my prayers, kneeling by the window on a chair, so that I might behold her lovely countenance! […] I am still grateful for those glimpses into the land of wonders, which left an everlasting impression on my soul.”

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 9-10]

  • Apartment at Szewska Street

    In 1863 she rented, together with Karol Chlapowski, a flat in Szewska street, which is attested by the marriage certificate from the St Anna parish: “A marriage certificate of Helena Jadwiga Misel-Modrzejewska, a widow, living in 230 Szewska street (at present 25 Szewska street) and Karol Chlapowski, a bachelor, living in 230 Szewska street, contracted on 12 September 1868. One of the witnesses was Adam Skorupka, the then director of Cracow theatre.”

    Apartment at Szewska Street

    Apartment at Szewska Street

     

    In 1863 she rented, together with Karol Chlapowski, a flat in Szewska street, which is attested by the marriage certificate from the St Anna parish: “A marriage certificate of Helena Jadwiga Misel-Modrzejewska, a widow, living in 230 Szewska street (at present 25 Szewska street) and Karol Chlapowski, a bachelor, living in 230 Szewska street, contracted on 12 September 1868. One of the witnesses was Adam Skorupka, the then director of Cracow theatre.”

    [Archival Materials, 2009, p. 40]

  • National Old Theatre

     

    “Mrs. R and her daughters were very fond of the theatre, and one afternoon, together with my mother, they planned to take a box, to hear the new soprano […] Miss Ludwina, always kind and thoughtful of others, begged my mother to take Josephine and me with them, the box being large enough for six.

    National Old Theatre

     

    “Mrs. R and her daughters were very fond of the theatre, and one afternoon, together with my mother, they planned to take a box, to hear the new soprano […] Miss Ludwina, always kind and thoughtful of others, begged my mother to take Josephine and me with them, the box being large enough for six.

    The play was ‘The Daughter of the Regiment’, followed by a one-act ballet entitled, ‘The Siren of Dniestr.’ Miss Studzinska was the heroine of the opera, and little Josephine Hoffmann, dressed as a butterfly, had the prominent dancing part in the ballet. It was my first visit to a theatre, and the whole evening was a dream of joy and enchantment to me. My mother told me, years afterwards, that I was so absorbed in the play that I became perfectly oblivious to the surroundings. I was blind, mute, and deaf, and she could not get a sign from me. I went to bed with a high fever, and for weeks afterwards I tried to imitate the butterfly dance, and sang some airs, accompanying them with gestures, exciting the derision of my brothers, who had spied me on the sly. […] my mother, seeing my excitement, decided that children ought to stay away from the theatre. And she kept her word… […] I cannot be grateful enough to my dear mother for never encouraging my inclination to the stage, and never exciting my vanity by flattering or praising me to my face. I became an actress because I think it was my destiny to be an artist of some kind, and as the stage was the most accessible of all branches of art, I chose it.”

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp.34-35]

     

    In the theatre on Szczepanski square for the second time

    “… one evening we were invited by Mr. Modjeski to see the German troupe playing at that time in our city. By the wish of the government it was decided that Polish and German companies should play alternately at the Cracow theatre. I had not been at 5he theatre since I was seven years old, and the temptation was great. Mother hesitated, but Mr. Modjeski suggested to her that it would be a great help in my study to see a German play, and might encourage me to learn that language, so sadly neglected by me at school.; the argument was convincing, and she accepted the invitation.

    I dressed in a hurry, and was so fidgety and afraid of being late that I made mother start three-quarters of an hour before the beginning, and when we arrived the lights were not yet up. I remember with what respect, almost reverence, I entered ‘the temple’. For it was a real temple to me, a place where human hearts beat quicker at a word from the stage, where one sentence of the author, or one magic touch of the actor’s art, makes the audience laugh or cry; […] my whole being was filled with a kind of rapturous awe.

    Schiller’s Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love) was the play, and it fascinated me completely. I sat like one petrified, drinking in the words I did not understand, and feasting my eyes on the somewhat stiff and ponderous players. In the dramatic passages, however, their actions were impressive and clear. By the force of the acting, and the help of Mr. Modjeski, who translated to me several scenes, I succeeded in understanding the plot. When we returned home, I sat at the tea-table without a word, ruminating over the wonderful masterpiece I had just seen, until, jeered at as a lunatic, I was sent to bed. […]

    Next morning I did not rest until I had bought a printed copy of Kabale und Liebe , which I read from cover to cover with a dictionary. It was very slow work, and it lasted several days, but I was not discouraged, and in this same toils9ome way I read almost all Schiller’s plays. By the time I came to Mary Stuart I understood German quite well. […]

    Since the evening of Kabale und Liebe , mother, who loved to go to Polish plays, often took Josephine and me with her. We saw several performances that season, some melodramas very much in fashion then, and also some Polish plays, brilliant because of gorgeous costumes, and touching because of the patriotic sentiment.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, pp. 51-53]

    The first Shakespeare seen in the theatre

    “… a bill appeared at the corners of the street, announcing Fritz Devrient in the part of Hamlet. I had heard of Shakespeare, but never had read or seen any of his plays, and naturally enough my curiosity was aroused. Hamlet made an overwhelming impression on me […] he became my master then and there, and remained so through me theatrical career. […] I lived weeks afterwards in continual enchantment. The translations of Shakespeare were scarce, but Mr. Modjeski succeeded in getting Hamlet in Polish translation and also Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merchant of Venice , and Simon of Athens , which I read greedily.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p.58]

  • Apartment at Jana Street

     

    The artist was searching for her place in Cracow for many years. After her return from Czerniowiec:

    “… I rented an apartment, leaving in it my mother, my little son, and my niece, Stasia, the mother-less daughter of my oldest brother.”

    Apartment at Jana Street

    Apartment at Jana Street

     

    The artist was searching for her place in Cracow for many years. After her return from Czerniowiec:

    “… I rented an apartment, leaving in it my mother, my little son, and my niece, Stasia, the mother-less daughter of my oldest brother.” [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 147]

  • Presentation Sisters School, St Jan street

    “At first I did not like the convent. There were so many girls in my class, and only few congenial ones. The comparison between the crowded, stuffy schoolroom and the quiet, refined atmosphere of Mrs. R.’s [Radwańska] library, drew frequent tears from my eyes, but I soon learned to love the sisters, who seemed pleased with my application in the lessons of Polish history, grammar, and catechism, and liked my way of reciting verses as well as my utter disdain for the German language.

    Presentation Sisters School, St Jan street

    “At first I did not like the convent. There were so many girls in my class, and only few congenial ones. The comparison between the crowded, stuffy schoolroom and the quiet, refined atmosphere of Mrs. R.’s [Radwańska] library, drew frequent tears from my eyes, but I soon learned to love the sisters, who seemed pleased with my application in the lessons of Polish history, grammar, and catechism, and liked my way of reciting verses as well as my utter disdain for the German language. The sisters of St. John were known as great patriots. I remember how they shielded me on the examination days, when the Austrian school inspector was present, and how they always managed not to let him ask me any German questions.

    Our mother did not neglect our education in spite of adverse fortune, and we had additional French hours at the convent, music at home, and a few dancing lessons.”

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 43]

  • Poller Hotel

    Mr and Mrs Chlapowski [Kazimierz and Anna] from Kopaszewo are arriving today with the youngest daughter [Ludwika] and the son [Marian], and we probably are going in four days to Poznan, where we are going to stay about two days, and then we are going to Krakow, where I have rehearsals waiting for me. We are going to stay at the Poller Hotel, as it’s right opposite the theatre, which will spare me carriages.

    Poller Hotel

    Mr and Mrs Chlapowski [Kazimierz and Anna] from Kopaszewo are arriving today with the youngest daughter [Ludwika] and the son [Marian], and we probably are going in four days to Poznan, where we are going to stay about two days, and then we are going to Krakow, where I have rehearsals waiting for me. We are going to stay at the Poller Hotel, as it’s right opposite the theatre, which will spare me carriages. [Korespondencja, 1965, letter 458]

  • Church of the Holy Cross

    I’ve been sent from Vienna the model of a plaque which is to be placed in the church. I’m very happy with it. (…) The text, inscribed in proper letters, reads as follows:

    Church of the Holy Cross

    I’ve been sent from Vienna the model of a plaque which is to be placed in the church. I’m very happy with it. (…) The text, inscribed in proper letters, reads as follows:

    Helena Modrzejewska Karolowa Chłapowska, b. 12 October 1840in Krakow, d. 8 April 1909 in Newport-California. With her art she raised spirits and strengthened hearts. She spread the fame of Polish art beyond the oceans. She sought her fatherland’s glory in her own. She passed through the world doing good unto others. She longed to rest in her native ground –May she rest in peace.

    (Korespondencja, 1965, letter 540)

  • New City Theatre

    “… with his [count Zygmunt Cieszkowski] help I managed to collect 1377, 95 fl. However, the honor of placing foundation stone at the base of the new theatre will have the working Ukrainian women who had previously donated into my hands 1,10 fl. and also Mr. Jan Fuchs, a singer, who, as far as I know, collected 150 fl.”

    New City Theatre

    “… with his [count Zygmunt Cieszkowski] help I managed to collect 1377, 95 fl. However, the honor of placing foundation stone at the base of the new theatre will have the working Ukrainian women who had previously donated into my hands 1,10 fl. and also Mr. Jan Fuchs, a singer, who, as far as I know, collected 150 fl.”

    [Korespondencja, 1965, letter 312]

    While in Cracow I gave a series of performances, the total receipts of which I placed in the hands of the mayor of the city, as the beginning of a fund for the building of a new theatre. With the first money as an inducement, he opened the collection. Generous offers followed, and a few years after a handsome theatre was built, in a large square, standing alone. A lawn, shrubs, and flowers lent to it a refreshing grace. The interior is ornamented with pictures and statues, and our late great artist, Siemiradzki, painted the curtain and offered it as a gift to the city. This curtain is an object of admiration to all who visit Cracow. As a rule very little attention is paid to a curtain, but this one is an important ornament. It strikes a noble note, and fills the auditorium with an artistic atmosphere.

    [Memories and Impression, 1910, p. 11]

  • Train Station

    “At the depot the usual crowd of idlers as well as many friends wait for us. Faces not seen for years, faithful eyes and friendly, smiling lips, shaking of hands, words of hearty welcome, – all this fills me with joy, warms me, intoxicates me. The lapse of years spent far away from the country shrinks into nothingness; I am again with my own people as of old, and they are the same, unchanged and true! I am happy!”

    Train Station

    Train Station

     

    “At the depot the usual crowd of idlers as well as many friends wait for us. Faces not seen for years, faithful eyes and friendly, smiling lips, shaking of hands, words of hearty welcome, – all this fills me with joy, warms me, intoxicates me. The lapse of years spent far away from the country shrinks into nothingness; I am again with my own people as of old, and they are the same, unchanged and true! I am happy!”.

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p.7]

  • Botanical Garden

    “On the mornings which followed the off night I used to get up at five o’clock, and after the usual cup of coffee for breakfast I went into the open air with my part, sometimes to the chestnut alley, but more often to the botanical gardens, where I was sure not to meet anyone at an early hour. I studied aloud, having for an accompaniment the songs of the birds, trees and flowers for inspiration, and, above all, the wonderful gray or blue sky with its fantastic clouds.”

    Botanical Garden

    Botanical Garden

     

    “On the mornings which followed the off night I used to get up at five o’clock, and after the usual cup of coffee for breakfast I went into the open air with my part, sometimes to the chestnut alley, but more often to the botanical gardens, where I was sure not to meet anyone at an early hour. I studied aloud, having for an accompaniment the songs of the birds, trees and flowers for inspiration, and, above all, the wonderful gray or blue sky with its fantastic clouds.”

    [Memories and Impressions, 1910, p. 128]

  • Modrzejówka

    In 1882 Helena Modjeska planned to buy a parcel of land in Cracow; she bought a house for renovation: In the records of the Cracow City Council there is an entry concerning the application of Helena Modrzejewska-Chlapowska, submitted during the Council meeting on 11 May 1882, for the permission to buy a parcel of city land on the area of “Maślakówka” [Szlak street area] or behind Wolska toll [currently Piłsudzkiego street and Mickiewicza avenue],

    Modrzejówka

    Modrzejówka

     

    In 1882 Helena Modjeska planned to buy a parcel of land in Cracow; she bought a house for renovation: In the records of the Cracow City Council there is an entry concerning the application of Helena Modrzejewska-Chlapowska, submitted during the Council meeting on 11 May 1882, for the permission to buy a parcel of city land on the area of “Maślakówka” [Szlak street area] or behind Wolska toll [currently Piłsudzkiego street and Mickiewicza avenue],

    [Archival Materials, 2009, p.42]

    In the land register of the real estate Krowodrza no.11, the property of Helena Modrzejewska, an entry on the card B of the property Krowodrza 1wh 11, called ‘Browarek’ [currently 13c Mazowiecka street], concerning the purchase of the property by Helena Modrzejewska- Chlapowska in July 1882.

    [Archival Materials, 2009, p. 42]

    The mortgage: “An extract from notarial deeds concerning the mortgage taken by Helena Modrzejewska. Notarial obligation of Helena Modrzejewska–Chlapowska, represented by the plenipotentiary, a lawyer Władysław Markiewicz, to repay the loan of 12,000 taken in Kasa Oszczędności of the city of Cracow, on the property no.11 in Krowodrza.”

    [Archival Materials, 2009, p. 42-43]

    “An extract from a land register of the property Krowodrza no. 11, the property of Helena Modrzejewska. A mortgage statement of the possession card of the property no.11 in Krowodrza, called ‘Browarek’, the property of Helena Modrzejewska – Chlapowska. The information about the purchase of the property by the artist in 1882.”

    Archival Materials , 2009, p. 43]

    “The record of the plots of Krowodrza. As an owner of a building plot no. 87 and land plots nos. 229-231, 241, 242, 243/1, 243/2 is entered Helena Modrzejewska, living in Krowodrza no. 11.”

    [Archival Materials, 2009, p. 43]

    At the beginning of the year 1883 Adolf Opid writes to Helena and Karol about the progress in the renovation of the house in 14 Mazowiecka street [currently 12 Grottgera]: “…I would like to inform you that the building, according to your instructions, is in progress and the roof over the apartment will be finished soon . I planned the rearrangement as you can see in the sketch [ here a drawing with a sign ‘Rudawa’ at the top and the list of the rooms in the house]. Apart from the mentioned apartment, remade from the old walls, there will be two rooms for servants or guest rooms in the attic – and also an apartment for the porter by the road. The whole property is fenced, and at the front there are wooden stairs.”

    [Korespondencja, 2000, letter 119]

    20 February 1883 to Anna Wolska she writes briefly and definitely: “The grandmother is moving to the manor house in April.”

    [Korespondencja, 1965, letter 299]

    21 March 1883 she writes to her mother, that: “…she hopes, that the family will soon move to the new property, where they will be more comfortable, she asks her mother to choose the living room for her bedroom because it will be less damp.”

    [Korespondencja, 2000, letter 110]

    30 September 1884 Modrzejewska writes from Cracow to Zakopane: “Concerning your arrival – I don’t know when it may happen, because we can’t move upstairs yet – Ms Zaleska took my upholsterer and for two weeks the carpet lies on the floor not finished. In the dining room, in the living room and the library there are no stoves yet, and the painting of the walls will take two more weeks. Horror!!!

    Everything is ready and waiting – but we can’t find the workers to do the work. The door bells are to be done, the windows, everything – but the beasts turn a deaf ear to our requests. I’ve already bought everything to your rooms, but we don’t have people to do the work. Together with the Mother Wiercia [Bendowa Zagórska] we are sitting on the lumber and complaining. […] with some breaks I’m declaiming and walking from one room to another, because the Uncle [Karol Chlapowski] is nagging me to unpack the trunks – but I don’t want to make more mess so I’m hiding from him in the corners. A terrible mess!

    As soon as it will be possible to arrive here – I will telegraph […] You could bring some live ducks, if it’s possible, because we have here some pretty ones – the menagerie could grow bigger. You could bring only a pair, that is a duck and a drake, to breed them. Janek [Zając] says that there is one drake among them. Tatarowa knows how to tell such things. Remind her to send me butter here, not very soon, because I don’t need it at the moment but in about a month.

    [Korespondencja, 1965, letter 309]

    Four years later, 30 December 1888, Modrzejewska writes from her Californian house: “… I’d been waiting for a message from Mr. Markiewicz. I’d been waiting and waiting but I got nothing good, apart from the message that the house in Krowodrza is half damaged by mould and the repair would cost about 5,000 fl., apart from the roof which should be tiled again and, what is more, he couldn’t take another mortgage on the house. […] I wanted to give the house under the care of Mr. Józef Chłapowski, but he didn’t want to take it on. […] Maybe I will finally find a buyer who would like to buy it even for the half of the price.”

    [Korespondencja, 1965, letter 334; see also letters 335, 337; the house was sold in 1889]

  • Rakowicki Cemetery

    “The resolution from 5 July 1909 on ceasing the actions aiming at burying Helena Modrzejewska in the Crypt of the People of Merit in Skalka Monastery of Pauline Fathers, in connection with her will of being buried at the Rakowicki cemetery (“next to her mother’s grave”) and on accepting the program of the funeral ceremony of the artist.”

    Rakowicki Cemetery

    Rakowicki Cemetery

     

    “The resolution from 5 July 1909 on ceasing the actions aiming at burying Helena Modrzejewska in the Crypt of the People of Merit in Skalka Monastery of Pauline Fathers, in connection with her will of being buried at the Rakowicki cemetery (“next to her mother’s grave”) and on accepting the program of the funeral ceremony of the artist.”

    [Archival Materials, 2009, p. 48]

    “The project of a tomb, designed by Bolesław Opid, from the day 26 May 2010, ordered by Karol Chlapowski.”

    [Archival Materials, 2009, p. 50]

    “A notification, addressed to Karol Chlapowski, about the assigning of a place for the tomb of Helena Modrzejewska, the approval of the project (designed by Bolesław Opid) and the amount of payment for the place.”

    [Archival Materials, 2009, p. 51]