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Male, born 1861-01-27, died 1940-06-26

Professional History

Engineer, George S. Morrison, Engineer, Chicago, IL, c. 1885-1892. Of his time in Morison's office, W.F. Durand, in his Biographical Memoir of Ralph Modjeski, wrote: "His first connection was with George S. Morison, the leading bridge builder of his day, and this first contact, extending till 1892, determined the direction taken by his later professional life. His first work with Mr. Morison was in connection with the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad bridge over the Missouri River at Omaha. Following this, 1887 to 1889, he took a turn at mill and shop inspection, followed by design work in the drafting room from 1889 t0 1891, where, becoming chief draftsman, he supervised the design of the bridge across the Mississippi River at Memphis, Tennessee, and from 1891 to 1892 served as inspector of work in the shops and and as the assistant engineer for construction for the superstructure of this bridge." (See W.F. Durand, "Biographical Memoir of Ralph Modjeski 1861-1940," the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Biographical Memoirs, vol XXIII, 10th memoir, p. 246.Accessed 12/17/2013.) Principal, Ralph Modjeski, Civil Engineer, Chicago, IL, 1893-1924; Partner, Modjeski and Masters, Engineers, 1924-1940;

Honorary doctorate, Engineering, Illinois State University, Normal, IL, 1911. Honorary doctorate, Lwów Polytechnic University, Lwów, Poland, 1929. Modjeski was awarded the Franklin Medal, from the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA, 1922; this medal was first given in 1915, and previous winners included Thomas Alva Edison (1915), John Joseph Carty (1916), and Guglielmo Marconi (1918). He was awarded the John Fritz Medal, American Association of Engineering Societies, in 1930.


Elementary and secondary schools in Cracow, Poland. Graduate, l'Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées, Paris, France, 1881-1885.


His parents were Gustav Sinnmayer Modrzejewski, manager of an acting troupe, and the well-known actress Helena Opid Modrzejewska. Helena left Gustav in 1865 and married Karol Bożenta Chłapowski in 1868.

Modjeski married Felicie Benda in 1885. He later wed Virginia Mary Giblyn.

He and Felicie had three children.

He was born "Rudolphe Modrzejewski," but changed it soon after immigrating to America in 1876.

Associated Locations

  • Los Angeles, CA (Architect's Death)
    Los Angeles, CA

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  • Bochnia, Lesser Poland Poland (Architect's Birth)
    Bochnia, Lesser Poland Poland

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PCAD id: 6710