RODRIGUEZ, HERLINDA MORALES

Cynthia E. Orozco

RODRÍGUEZ, HERLINDA MORALES (1903–?). Herlinda Morales Rodríguez, businesswoman, was born in Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo León, Mexico, in 1903, the daughter of Anastacio Morales and Flora de los Santos. She married Guadalupe Rodríguez, Jr., who with his father established a bottling factory on Santa Rosa Street in San Antonio called Rodríguez and Son Bottling Company in 1918. In 1921 the company, which produced Rodríguez Root Beer, expanded and moved to Guadalupe Street. By 1923 business was flourishing. In 1929 Guadalupe died, and Herlinda joined her father-in-law in business. She bought him out in 1933 and became company president. As the business grew, her brothers, Armando and Melchor, assisted in operations. They produced new soft drinks and changed the name of the business to Dragon Bottling Company in 1934. By 1939 the business was one of the most prosperous owned by a Mexican American in the state. Its equipment and vehicles for transportation were modern, and it had developed twelve soft drinks; the factory produced 120 cases of soft drinks an hour, distributed by twelve trucks to points within a 160-mile radius of San Antonio. In 1938 the company sponsored a baseball team that won the San Antonio and South Texas championship. Dragon Bottling Company was rated excellent by Frost National Bank, Dun and Bradstreet, and Retail Merchants. Unlike most businesses owned by Mexican Americans, Dragon served all of San Antonio and outlying towns. In 1942 Morales Rodríguez operated the Dragon, Hernández, and Rodríguez Bottling companies. However, by 1962 all these companies had ceased to exist; competition from large corporations such as Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola may have forced her out of business. Morales Rodríguez was one of a handful of women in Primer Anuario de los Habitantes Hispano-Americanos (First Yearbook of the Latin-American Population of Texas), published in 1939. The Anuario noted that it was unusual for a Mexican woman to be involved in light industry and to sell a product not specifically consumed by women. In San Antonio in 1930, 27 percent of Mexican women were employed, mostly in the garment, pecan-shelling, manufacturing, food-processing, and domestic and personal service sectors. Of these women 41 percent were widows. Morales Rodríguez was one of a few women in the Mexican Chamber of Commerce in San Antonio. She was a Catholic.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Richard A. García, Rise of the Mexican American Middle Class, San Antonio, 1919–1941 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1991).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Cynthia E. Orozco, "RODRIGUEZ, HERLINDA MORALES," accessed September 16, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/frozy.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on February 1, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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