Florida Folklife Program
Folk Heritage Awards Recipient: Xavier Lopez Pellicer
Xavier Lopez PellicerCourtesy of Rollins College Digital Collections.
Xavier Lopez Pellicer (1900 - 1990) - 1991 Florida Folk Heritage Award
Xavier Lopez Pellicer (St. Augustine) supported the development, recognition, and preservation of Florida’s Minorcan heritage for many years. This civic leader and retired banker was recognized statewide for his untiring efforts to foster the awareness and appreciation of Minorcan culture.
Pellicer was one of nine children of Andrew Joseph and Josephine Lopez Pellicer. He became interested in his Minorcan heritage when one of the partners where he worked at an after-school job “talked with me a great deal about the Minorcans and told me of my ancestor, Francisco Pellicer, being one of the leaders in the Minorcan colony when they moved from New Smyrna in 1776.” He “vowed to be proud of my Minorcan heritage. There was a great feeling among many people that those of Minorcan heritage were second-class citizens.”
He attended the Rutgers School of Banking, went to work for the St. Augustine National Bank in 1919 and retired as a senior vice president in 1966. He served as president of the Rotary Club; president of the Board of Trustees of Flagler Hospital and trustee for 40 years; president and director of the St. Augustine Historical Society; president of the Florida Bankers Association and president of the Florida Forestry Association. Pellicer also served for seven years as a national director of the American Forestry Association and for three years on the Florida Board of Forestry and Parks.
Pellicer’s interest in Minorcan heritage continued through the years. As a result of his efforts, a statue was erected in 1975 near the Basilica Cathedral of St. Augustine to the memory of Father Pedro Campos, priest to the Minorcans. Pellicer was also instrumental in the reconstruction of the chapel that honors Father Felix Varela at Tolomato Cemetery. He was a prime resource in developing the Minorcan Folklife Area at the 1983 Florida Folk Festival. He also was a sponsor of the 1983 Minorcan Cultural Exchange Tour, a folklife project of the Florida Department of State, in which Minorcan visitors toured Florida presenting a program of traditional performances and met with Minorcan Americans living in St. Augustine. Pellicer was selected as a Great Floridian by the Division of Historical Resources in 2000.