Clínica de la Beneficencia Mexicana

By: Cynthia E. Orozco

Type: General Entry

Published: December 1, 1994

Updated: August 4, 2020

Clínica de la Beneficencia Mexicana, a health clinic in San Antonio for the Mexican-descent community during the Great Depression and the 1940s, was a project of Beneficencia Mexicana, a Mexican-descent women's voluntary association. The clinic was supported by middle-class women for the poor on the West Side; they acted under the theme of "charity, order, and efficiency." In 1930 seven health clinics had been set up throughout the city in an effort to serve the poor during hard times. Nurses reported that the worst health conditions existed on the West Side, where most of the Mexican-descent community lived.

Ignacio E. Lozano, the editor of La Prensa in San Antonio, initiated the fund-raising project to build a health clinic. Contributions came from across the country and locally; voluntary associations like the Finck Cigar Factory Workers, Club Femenino Orquidia, and the Club de Jóvenes Católicos together donated $286. Caucasian businessmen such as the owners of the Finck Cigar Factory also contributed. In 1930, after La Prensa gathered $27,000 in seed money, Clínica Mexicana, a stone building in Spanish Colonial style, was constructed at 623 South San Saba. In 1931 Dr. Joaquin Gonzales served as superintendent. Efforts were also coordinated by the Junta de Beneficencia, a committee of middle-class individuals, most of whom seem to have been born in Mexico. Apparently, the committee eventually became an organization composed of women, with Alicia Lozano as president of the board of directors of Beneficencia Mexicana.

For a short time the clinic had financial problems and closed, but it was reopened. Clients paid twenty-five cents on the first visit, and the clinic made medical care available on request afterwards. Both Mexican-descent and Caucasian doctors served as volunteer staff. Matilde Elizondo, owner of La Gloria grocery and meat market, donated medical equipment to the clinic. The board of trustees was composed of men, probably doctors, and the board of directors was made up of women. Alicia Lozano was president until 1938, when María de los Angeles G. de Velasco replaced her. In 1938 a serious dispute over management resulted in a court settlement, and the women took over the clinic's management. Around 1949 the clinic served expectant mothers. At some time between 1942 and 1948 the clinic moved to 207 San Fernando Street.

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Richard A. García, Rise of the Mexican American Middle Class, San Antonio, 1919–1941 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1991). Frances Jerome Woods, Mexican Ethnic Leadership in San Antonio, Texas (Ph.D. dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1949; published as Catholic University of America Studies in Sociology 31 [1949]; rpt., New York: Arno Press, 1976).

  • Health and Medicine
  • Hospitals, Clinics, and Medical Centers
  • Women
  • Activism and Social Reform
Time Periods:
  • Great Depression
  • Central Texas
  • San Antonio

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

Cynthia E. Orozco, “Clínica de la Beneficencia Mexicana,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994
August 4, 2020

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: