Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Alberto F. Porta Papers, 1881-1990
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (58.20 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Provenance: Santa Clara University Archives Santa Clara University
    Title: Alberto F. Porta Papers,
    Date: 1881-1990
    Repository: Santa Clara University Archives
    Santa Clara, CA 95053
    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.
    Languages: [code "English," not found in ISO 639-2 list], and [code "Italian" not found in ISO 639-2 list].

    Administrative Information


    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.

    Publications Rights

    Permission to copy or publish any portion of the Archives' materials must be given by the University Archivist.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Alberto F. Porta Papers, Santa Clara University. University Archives.

    Acquisitions Information

    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 buildings.
    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 institution.
    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.

    Indexing Terms


    Porta, Alberto F.