José Vicente Ferrer Otero y Cintran was born on January 8, 1912, in Santurce, Puerto Rico. He belonged to a notable and affluent Puerto Rican family known for its involvement in the island's cultural and literary landscape. His father, Rafael Ferrer, was a well-known lawyer. His mother was Providencia Cintrón. Ferrer attended elementary school at the San Agustin College in Río Piedras.