Modjeska Story

The Modjeska – by far our most popular candy and a staple of Louisville lore – has a history almost as rich as Muth’s itself. Below you can find the story of how this long time favorite came to us so many generations ago…

Helena Modrzejewska Portrait (1880)
Madam Helena Modrzejewska was a Polish actress born in 1840 who immigrated to the US in the 1870s. Madam Modjeska, as she came to be known, made a name for herself appearing in several plays including “Camille” and “Thora” (later titled “A Doll’s House”). In her memoir, Memories and Impressions of Helena Modjeska, she noted she was “taken” with Louisville and enjoyed visiting.

During this same period, Anton Busath, an immigrant of Alsace, France, moved to Louisville and opened a small candy shop on Louisville’s famous 4th street. The shop was not far from McCaully Theater, where Madam Modjeska performed.

Six years after Modjeska had last graced the stage in Louisville, Anton had perfected his “caramel marshmallow wonder”. Having seen her many times at the theater, he came to admire her beauty and talent. He wrote a letter to the stage veteran, asking if he could name his creation after her, and with her blessing the Modjeska was born. In gratitude, the actress sent him a signed portrait which hung in the candy maker’s store until a fire in 1947. (The portrait survived and currently hangs in the Filson Historical Society).

Unfortunately, the fire destroyed Busath’s candy store. Edgar Busath, Anton’s son, asked his good friend and fellow confectioner, Rudy Muth, if he could use Rudy’s kitchen to make Christmas candy for their friends and family. Rudy agreed and that holiday the two shared the kitchen. As they would not be able to reopen on 4th street, the Busath family decided not to reopen their store at all. As a gift for sharing his kitchen, Edgar passed his father’s recipe on to Rudy.

Muth's Caramel Modjeska
All these years later, our 3rd & 4th generations continue to make the Modjeska with the same recipe, dedication and care as Anton, Edgar and Rudy did before us. We still use copper kettles, the best ingredients, and always hand dip and wrap our Modjeskas. We have made some changes, as we now offer them dipped in chocolate or rolled in nuts while the caramel is still warm!

We are happy to share a little bit of the history and memories from our family and one of Louisville’s best loved treats. Be sure to stop in the next time you’re in town to try a taste and make some memories of your own.