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Hispanic Heritage Month – Rosita Fernandez

October 1, 2009

By Rosemarie Rodriguez, Collections Assistant

In honor of Hispanic Heritage month we are featuring the Rosita Fernandez papers.

Rosita Fernandez was born in Monterrey, Mexico in 1918, and she was one of sixteen children born to Petra and Cesar Fernandez. Fernandez played several roles in her lifetime from singer, and actress to humanitarian and ambassador for San Antonio along with mother and wife. She was known as “San Antonio’s First Lady of Song,” a title which was given to her in 1968 by Lady Bird Johnson.

Fernandez began her singing career at the age of 14 with her uncles in the Trio San Miguel. This was the beginning of her pioneering career in music, radio and television. Fernandez auditioned and was selected for the lead in a 1932 W.O.A.I. radio show and in 1949 she appeared in San Antonio’s first television broadcast on W.O.A.I.-TV. She expanded to film in 1960, starring in The Alamo, followed by Three Hundred Miles for Stephanie, Seguin, and Disney’s 1963 Sancho, the Homing Steer, which based on a J. Frank Dobie story.

Fernandez officially retired in 1982 but continued to sing for charity benefits. She received several awards in appreciation of her dedication, talent and loyalty to San Antonio. Among the most visible is the “Rosita Bridge” named in her honor, which spans the San Antonio River at the Arneson River Theatre. In 2006, Rosita Fernandez passed away at the age of 88.

Included in the Rosita Fernandez Papers are certificates, publicity materials, newspaper clips, correspondence and audiovisual materials. Also present are several photographs and scrapbooks documenting her career.

For a complete description of the Rosita Fernandez Papers, please see A Guide to the Rosita Fernandez Papers, 1925-2000.

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