Skip to main content

María Cortijo Collection

Identifier: MSS 105

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of biographical information, a photograph, a doll, vessel, and heart woven with plastic bags. The collection dates to 2003, when Centro exhibited Cortijo’s work in its gallery.


  • 2002-2003


Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by Centro.

Biographical / Historical

María Cortijo, a resident of Brooklyn since 1950s, was a self-taught artist. Cortijo transformed disposable plastic bags into vases, hats, flags, vests, dolls and caps that “intentionally, and somehow whimsically, integrates different colors, which make for highly textured weavings each one unique… her imagination reaches back to the campos of Puerto Rico and forward to her new urban context in the diaspora. The results are surreal objects of fantasy, delight irony and contradiction.” This collection saves for posterity some examples of her work in the archive forever.

In 2003, the Centro Gallery hosted an exhibition on self-taught artists, including Cortijo. The exhibit was curated by José Vidal.

Source: Nuyorican Outsider: The Art of Dona Cortijo by Jose Vidal, Siempre, September 2003, page 22 and “Las criaturas sorprendentes de ‘doña Cortijo.’ El Diario/la Prensa, Arte y Cultura, domingo 7 de septiembre de 2003 page 20 Display images from: María Cortijo


0.12 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian


A resident of Brooklyn since the 1950s, Cortijo is a Puerto Rican artist who created an art form, weaving dolls and other artifacts, such as handbags, baskets and even vests from disposable plastic bags. The María Cortijo collection consists of 0.12 cubic feet of biographical information, a photograph, and woven artifacts. The collection dates to 2003, when Centro exhibited Cortijo’s work in its gallery.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by María Cortijo.

María Cortijo Collection
Biographical Sketch written by José Vidal. Archive staff members under the supervision of Pedro Juan Hernandez.
February 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • May 2021: Notes updated by Victoria Fernandez and Lindsay Wittwer

Repository Details

Part of the Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora Repository

Silberman Building, Hunter College
2180 Third Ave. Rm. 122
New York New York 10065

About the Collections

Our collections consist of personal papers from prominent Puerto Rican artists, elected officials, social activists, writers, as well as the records of community-based organizations. Our largest collection, the Offices of the Government of Puerto Rico in the United States (OGPRUS) Records, measures approximately 2,900 cubic feet and contains an extraordinary amount of information regarding Puerto Rican migrants and the government institutions established to assist them. The collections date from the 1890s to the present, and document Puerto Rican communities in the Northeast, Midwest, Florida, California and Hawaii.