*6 IV 1807 Warszawa, †29 X 1855 Warszawa
Ludwika Marianna, Fryderyk's eldest sister, daughter of Mikołaj Chopin and Justyna Krzyżanowska, was born on 6th April 1807 in Warsaw at 1899 Przyrynek St., where her parents lived with the widow of a relative Ignacy Kołomiński. She was christened on 14th April at the Virgin Mary church in the New Town. Ludwika's birth certificate was destroyed with the records of the New Town parish in World War II, but pre-war genealogist Stanisław Boleścic Kozłowski recorded the date (presumably of the christening) and the godparents: countess Ludwika Skarbkowa and Jan Dziewanowski. The latter has been identified as Jan Nepomucen Dziewanowski from Szafarnia, war hero of the Somosierra battle and probably a former student of Mikołaj Chopin's boarding school. Ludwika's birth date of 6th April is borrowed from M. Karłowicz who identified it on the recto of the today destroyed portrait of Ludwika with her small son, painted by A. Ziemięcki.
Ludwika began her education at a girls' boarding school run on 1320 Nowy Świat St. by Józefa Werbusz (born Cochet, wife of Kazimierz, professor of several Warsaw schools) or by Bogumiła Wiłucka. From her early years Ludwika showed a versatile artistic talent for music and literature. She studied music with Wojciech Żywny and composed. From all Chopin children she was closest with Fryderyk, becoming his confidant and protector for life. As a child, she taught Fryderyk to read and write in Polish and French, and piano playing. Fryderyk's precocious musical genius can be attributed to Ludwika's influence. In 1825 Fryderyk wrote to Jan Białobłocki about a mazur written by Ludwika: „Ludwika made a perfect mazur, one of the kind that Warsaw has not danced to yet". She also wrote several other mazurkas. Unfortunately, her compositions did not survive. It might have been through her influence that Chopin took up an interest in the mazurka, whose folk version he was to encounter only later, during holidays in the Dobrzyń district (1824 and 1825).
In 1826 Ludwika went on a trip to Kudowa with count Fryderyk Skarbek, his wife Prakseda and their son Józef. They left Warsaw on 27th June to meet a month later with Justyna Chopin, Fryderyk and countess Ludwika Skarbek with Emilia Chopin in Duszniki, where they were undergoing treatment. Ludwika synthesized her impressions from this journey and stay in Silesia in a leaflet titled Podróż Józia z Warszawy do wód szląskich przez niego samego opisana [Small Joseph's trip from Warsaw to the Silesian spas, as described by himself] (published in 1829, 1830 and 1844), in which the narrative was given to the small Józef Skarbek. In 1830 Ludwika received from her brother in Vienna a piece (Nocturne in C sharp minor) dedicated to her, about which she wrote in her manuscript Unpublished composition of F. Chopin: „A Lento, sent to me from Vienna in 1830. A Lento in the style of a nocturne".
Ludwika was an active participant in the cultural and intellectual life of Warsaw. She was a frequent guest at the Monday receptionw of Nina Łuszczewska and the Friday parties at Katarzyna Lewocka, and befriended writer Eleonora Ziemięcka. Her own writings gradually took on a educational character as she endeavoured to show examples of fruitful life and hard work. Together with her sister (probably Emilia), she published an educational children's novel Ludwik i Emilka (1828), and many smaller pieces in the Warsaw press. With her sister Izabella, she wrote a two-volume book for artisans titled Pan Wojciech, czyli wzór pracy i oszczędności [Mr. Wojciech, An Example of Work and Economy], which had no less than five editions (Warsaw 1836, 1843, 1848, 1858 and 1864). Also of popular character were the Wiadomości krótkie z nauk przyrodzonych i niektóre najważniejsze wynalazki [Short news from natural sciences, and some principal inventions] (Warsaw 1848), written „for the people and elementary schools" (some researchers attribute this work to Ludwika's husband). She also published a leaflet O pisaniu dzienników [On the writing of diaries] (in the New Year publication „Pierwiosnek" 1838), and translated the life of St. Veronica for use in the church.
Raised in the spirit of Polish patriotism, after the fall of the November 1831 Uprising she was accepted as a ‘comrade' of the Polish Ladies Patriotic Charity Union (also called the Warsaw Ladies Committee), which under the direction of Klementyna Tańska-Hofman, and later Katarzyna Sowińska (widow of general Sowiński), offered financial support to victims of tsarist repressions. From 1848 Ludwika also worked in the Warsaw Charity Society, becoming a patron in the Department of Orphans and Poor Children in 1849.
On 22nd November 1832 at the church of St. John the Baptist and St. Roch in Brochów, Ludwika married lawyer Józef Kalasanty Jędrzejewicz (1803-1853). Count Michał Skarbek, owner of Żelazowa Wola, and his brother-in-law Stefan Wiesiołowski, husband of Anna Skarbek (godmother of Fryderyk Chopin), acted as witnesses. After their marriage the couple moved to their own house in Warsaw at 526 Podwale St.
Ludwika's extensive correspondence with her brother Fryderyk and his emigration entourage provides a rich material for biographical studies of the composer. She not only took care of her ill-healthed brother, but also managed his material and artistic estate. Between 1844 and 1849 she exchanged letters with George Sand. Information gathered from Fryderyk's two sisters, Ludwika and Izabella, served as a basis for Maurycy Karasowski's article on Chopin's youth („Biblioteka Warszawska" 1862).
Ludwika visited her brother in Paris twice. In July 1844, after the death of Mikołaj Chopin, she came to Paris with her husband, also visiting Nohant on the way. Her second visit came at Fryderyk's direct request when his health was rapidly deteriorating; she arrived to Paris on 8th August 1849 with her daighter and husband, the latter soon returning to Warsaw. She was at Chopin's deathbed on 17th October 1849 and stayed in Paris until December that year. On 30th November she participated in the auctioning of Chopin's estate. She offered some manuscripts to Chopin's friends, but brought Chopin's heart, a number of memorabilia, including the correspondence with George Sand, and presumably a lock of Chopin's hair secretly to Warsaw (7th-8th January 1850). The letters were deposed with a friend in Mysłowice in fear of border controls, but were later ‘borrowed' by Alexandre Dumas Jr., who in turn gave them to George Sand. Sand burned all these letters.
Ludwika borrowed 5,000 francs from Jane Stirling and her sister for Chopin's funeral. Stirling also presented Ludwika with Chopin's piano, which is now kept at the Chopin Museum in Warsaw. After Fryderyk's death Ludwika corresponded with Jane Stirling (and also Julian Fontana and Camille Pleyel) on the posthumous edition of his works and the tomb monument at Père-Lachaise. In 1853, together with her mother and sister Izabella, Ludwika signed an authorisation for Fontana to prepare the manuscripts of unpublished Chopin works for publication.
From Ludwika's second trip to Paris onwards her marriage with Jędrzejewicz deteriorated. The conflict arose from Jędrzejewicz's unmasked animosity towards the Chopin family and his jealousy of Ludwika, whom he reproached of putting her family's affairs above all else. For many years Jędrzejewicz mistreated his wife, spread unfavourable gossip about Fryderyk, and showed anomisity towards his parents-in-law. Despite Ludwika's attempts at reconciliation, the conflict continued until Jędrzejewicz's death in 1853, seriously affecting Ludwika's health.
After her husband's death Ludwika received a pension of 72 silver rubels, but her health deteriorated and she died of a plague epidemic in Warsaw on 29th October 1855 in her house at 526 Podwale St. She was buried in the Jędrzejewicz family tomb at the Powązki cemetery in Warsaw, alonside her sister Emilia. Ludwika's death was widely reported in the press, where several commemorative articles were published. Fryderyk's publishing affairs were taken over by sister Izabella.
From her marriage with Józef Kalasanty Jędrzejewicz, Ludwika had four children: Henryk Bronisław, lieutenant-colonel in the January 1863 Uprising (18th August 1833 Warsaw-7th May 1899 Paris), Ludwika Magdalena (22nd July 1835 Warsaw-23rd July 1890 Warsaw), who married estate owner Ludwik Ciechomski (ca. 1827-1882), Fryderyk Bolesław (24th July 1840 Warsaw-25th January 1857 Warsaw) and Antoni Żelisław, clerk at the Warsaw Municipality Building Society (23rd July 1843 Warsaw-29th July 1922 Warsaw).