The Teodoro Vidal Collection | About the Collection

Teodoro Vidal: The Collector

Teodoro Vidal Santoni was born in Condado, Puerto Rico, in a prominent and well-known family. From an early age, he was interested in Puerto Rican history and in collecting objects that spoke about that history. After graduating from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania with an MBA in 1954, Teodoro Vidal went back to Puerto Rico and became an aide to its first elected governor, Luis Muñoz Marín. In 1955, he became part of the first Board of Directors of the newly formed Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.

Teodoro Vidal and Brother

Teodoro Vidal and Brother

Luís Muñoz Marín and Teodoro Vidal

Luís Muñoz Marín and Teodoro Vidal

Vidal was interested in collecting not only “high art” but also the material culture of everyday life. From his earliest days as a collector during the early 1950s, he understood the importance of saving everyday objects that represented the collective memory of the Puerto Rican people. He wanted to preserve objects that he felt were being ignored and in danger of disappearing. He has said, “I always thought of this collection as a reaffirmation of puertorriqueñidad, the unique identity and culture of Puerto Rico. I always planned to give my collection as a gift to Puerto Rico and all Puerto Ricans.”

Teodoro Vidal with a Pava Maker

Teodoro Vidal with a Pava Maker
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