San Antonio legend fulfills dream to donate company and personal records to the UTSA Libraries
(March 1, 2017) -- "Say please and thank you. Always."
Those words of wisdom from Rosemary Kowalski illustrate why she became one of Texas' most successful female entrepreneurs. Researchers and history buffs will find more insights in her personal and company records, which she recently donated to The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Libraries Special Collections.
Kowalski's career as a catering guru started with catering small private parties in the 1940's. She went on to become an iconic businesswoman who founded, managed and grew one of the largest and longest running catering firms in San Antonio.
Her company, at the time called Rosemary's Catering and later rebranded to The RK Group, caught its big break when it was named the official caterer for HemisFair '68, the only world's fair to be held in Texas. Four years later, her firm secured an exclusive catering contract at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, an arrangement that still exists today.
Over the decades, Rosemary's business has served meals to thousands of San Antonians, and she's also personally served a number of U.S. presidents and other world dignitaries like Pope John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth.
"During our time at HemisFair we did 95 percent of the parties and we were at The Institute of Texan Cultures two to four times a week," said Kowalski. "I was a young woman then and I didn't have much, but I thought, 'Wouldn't it be neat to have my papers with them?' It's been a longtime dream of mine to donate my papers to UTSA."
Rosemary's collection is comprised of 17 boxes containing appointment calendars, client cards, personal and catering photographs, awards and honors, and personal files ranging from 1959 to 2014. The collection also includes two grade school yearbooks and a childhood scrapbook, which is dated from 1927 to 1941.
"This collection provides a first-hand glimpse into the career of a pioneering business woman, culinary star and civic leader," said Amy Rushing, head of UTSA Special Collections. "Rosemary's story is an important aspect of the history of San Antonio. Her donation will further enhance our top-tier special collections."
Established more 70 years ago, The RK Group is a privately held firm based in San Antonio that owns several restaurants and provides off-site corporate catering and event planning in the San Antonio and Austin areas.
The UTSA Libraries Special Collections brings national recognition to the university for distinctive research materials documenting the diverse histories and development of San Antonio and South Texas. Collecting priorities include the history of the Mexican American, African American and LGBTQ communities in our region, the history of women and gender in Texas, activism, the Tex-Mex food industry, and urban planning.
Learn more about UTSA Libraries.
Free presentation: Join us as we take a virtual tour of La Provence led by Claudia Carvalho. You will have an opportunity to immerse yourself in France and French culture by experiencing it from a touristical and cultural perspective.McKinney Humanities (MH 2.01.04), Main Campus
Please join us for a free research symposium of nationally renowned scholars who will share their insights on 21st century educational policies and the climate they foster for today's schools, teachers and students.Durango Building, Southwest Conference Room (DB 1.124), Downtown Campus
The unofficial Fiesta event is an alcohol-free party that's a favorite among the UTSA community and San Antonio families. There will be free food, live music and other activities. Students will also be able to test out texting and driving and drunk driving simulators.Paseo, Main Campus
United to Serve is a System-wide volunteer initiative involving UT System students, administrators, faculty and staff. Join fellow Roadrunner volunteers for this kickoff event prior to volunteering.University Center Lawn, Main Campus
This session will cover Texas' high school graduation requirements and more. It is geared toward parents and families of middle school students planning for high school entry and students already in high school considering going to college.Buena Vista Street Building, Aula Canaria Auditorium (BVB 1.328), Downtown Campus
UTSA Music Biz Day is an annual music symposium for the San Antonio community and students to network with music professionals and learn about how to get involved in the industry independent of experience. The event is free and open to all.Arts Building, Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
This session will discuss implications of students' undocumented status for college admission and financial aid.Buena Vista Street Building, Aula Canaria Auditorium (BVB 1.328), Downtown Campus
UTSA hosts workshops that focus on the national need for the preparation of deaf educators to fill teaching and administrative roles. This event is designed for educators and policy makers.Café College, 131 El Paso Street, Downtown San Antonio