Rosita Fernández (January 10, 1918–May 2, 2006) was a Mexican American Tejano music singer, humanitarian, and actress. She became a symbol of "Old Mexico" among European Americans in San Antonio, and was called the city's First Lady of Song by Lady Bird Johnson. She was inducted into the San Antonio Musicians Hall of Fame, San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame, and the Tejano Music Hall of Fame, and received Woman of the Year honors in 1983.
Fernández was born in Monterrey, Mexico and received her early education in Laredo, Texas. She moved with her family to San Antonio at age nine. Fernández joined her family band, Los Tres San Miguel at the age of nine—which consisted of her uncles. She previously only performed in front of her relatives before becoming the band's lead vocalist. In 1932, she became the star of a radio program on WOAI in San Antonio, and in 1933 recorded jingles for several radio commercials. In 1938, Fernández married Raúl A. Almaguer, and the couple had two children. In 1949, she performed on the first broadcast on WOAI television, and later became a regular on several shows.
She became a pioneer of corridos, and recorded romantica style ballads in the male-dominated genre of Tejano music. Fernández is part of the Smithsonian Collections at the National Museum of American History with her china poblana dress, which was made in the 1960s. Beginning in the 1950s, Fernandez performed in the annual summer show Fiesta Noche del Rio at the Arneson River Theater on the San Antonio River. She also was a featured performer each spring at the A Night in Old San Antonio event at San Antonio's Fiesta celebration. In 1967, San Antonio radio station KCOR recognized Fernandez as a "source of entertainment" at the riverwalk, convention centers, and for her public performances at charity events. The city renamed a bridge after her in 1982, which attracts 5.2 million visitors each year. Fernandez first retired from performing in 1982, but continued to make guest appearances into the 1990s.
- Villarreal 2015, p. 5.
- UTSA Special Collections Top Shelf Blog
- A Guide to the Rosita Fernandez Papers, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries (UTSA Libraries) Special Collections.
- Villarreal 2015, p. 3.
- Gender on the Borderlands: The Frontiers Reader - Page 183 Antonia Castañeda - 2007 She met her future husband, Raul Almaguer, while taking these evening classes (Fernández, interview, May 5, 2000).
- Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia - Page 256 Vicki Lynn Ruiz - 2006 "Fernández's career continued to advance following her marriage to Raul Almaguer on March 21, 1938, and the birth of their two children, Raul Javier and Diana Rosa Orellana. Fernández did not step out of the spotlight."
- Villarreal 2015, p. 4.
- Villarreal, Mary Ann (2015). Listening to Rosita: The Business of Tejana Music and Culture 1930-1955. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 22. ISBN 9780806148526.