Victoria Hernández Interview, Tape 2
Continuation of Ruth Glasser interview with Victoria Hernández. Ms. Hernández is heard showing photographs of her travels throughout Latin America, her charity work and as a speaker at different events. They discuss the work and influence of Puerto Rican musicians. Ms. Hernández discusses the controversial nature of claiming ownership of plena songs, most of which are old, traditional works. She talks about Canario, Augusto Cohen and other musicians, sharing her honest opinion of each individual and their actions. She also talks about Harlem during the 1920s as a place of luxury and beauty and the prestige of black musicians, such as Duke Ellington.
Ms. Hernández then proceeds to show Ms. Glasser newspaper clippings, photographs and other memorabilia pertaining to Rafael Hernández. She begins to tell her story of opening the music store “Casa Hernández” in the 1930s under her brother’s name. Her strength and support earn her the nickname “La Madrina” among musicians. Her financial prowess allow her to sponsor up-and-coming musicians. Her record store catered to the Hispanic market in East Harlem.Victoria Hernández came to New York in 1919 with relatives. After working as a seamstress, she bought a storefront in 1927 and started Almacenes Hernández (The Hernández Music Store). The store served as a central hangout for Latino musicians and Ms. Hernández was a central part of this music scene, earning the nickname “La Madrina” from the musicians. Ms. Hernández herself was an accomplished violinist, cellist and pianist, but dedicated herself to the business aspect of the industry and was one of the only women playing such a key role in it.