Scope and Content
Provenance: Santa Clara University Archives
Santa Clara University
Title: Alberto F. Porta Papers,
Santa Clara University Archives
Extent: 1 linear foot
Collection Number: PP-Porta
Abstract: This collection documents a portion of the career of architect and professor Alberto F. Porta.
Included in collection are clippings, correspondence, academic writings, newsletters, architectural
drawings and photographs.
[code "English," not found in ISO 639-2 list],
and [code "Italian" not found in ISO 639-2 list].
Santa Clara University permits public access to its archives within the context of
respect for individual privacy, administrative confidentiality, and the integrity of the
records. It reserves the right to close all or any portion of its records to researchers.
The archival files of any office may be opened to a qualified researcher by the
administrator of that office or his/her designee at any time.
Archival collections may be used by researchers only in the Reading Room of the
University Archives at the discretion of the archivist.
Permission to copy or publish any portion of the Archives' materials must be given
by the University Archivist.
[Identification of item], Alberto F. Porta Papers, Santa Clara University.
Gift of Alberto Porta's granddaughters, Alma Porta
Brennan and Catherine Porta Gilligan, in 1996. Accession Number 996-029.
Alberto Francisco Porta, born in Mondovi, Italy in 1853, was a civil engineer and architect trained
at the University of Turin. In 1894, at the request of the Guatemala government to serve as
architect for the reconstruction of structures damaged by earthquakes and revolutions, Porta
moved his family to Quesaltenango, Guatemala. The request to come to Guatemala was handled through
the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). In Quesaltenango, Porta worked on rebuilding bridges and
Due to political unrest and natural disasters, including earthquakes and the eruption of the
volcano, Santa Maria, the Porta family immigrated to San Jose, California in 1901 with the help of
Jesuit friends. Porta first came to San Jose alone to find work, then sent for his family. Through
Jesuit connections, Porta was hired at Santa Clara College in 1907 to teach Mechanics, Descriptive
Geometry, and Architectural, Mechanical, Figure and Topographical Drawing. He remained at Santa
Clara from 1907-1914. As a teacher, he has been described as a colorful professor devoted to the
In 1914, Porta left Santa Clara, moved his family to San Francisco, and opened his own architect
business. While in San Francisco, he published a newsletter on weather prediction entitled
"Institute of Planetary Sciences." He soon became ill with cancer of the liver and
died in 1923.
Scope and Content
The Alberto F. Porta Papers consist of correspondence, clippings, manuscripts,
architectural drawings, and prints and negatives of drawings. The materials, in both English and Italian,
reflect Porta's career as an architect in Guatemala and San Francisco, and a professor at Santa
Clara College. Included in the collection are materials on weather forecasting, earthquake predictions,
and his invention of a helicoidal aeroplane.
Porta, Alberto F.