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Early California Settlers and Immigrants Resources: Additional Resources

Guide to the Manuscripts and Digital Collections of California Founders

Books About Early California Settlers and Immigrants

Related Collection: Alberto F. Porta Papers, 1881-1990

Alberto F. Porta Papers, 1881-1990

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.

Related Collection: Papers of Arthur Dunning Spearman, S.J., 1899-1977

Papers of Arthur Dunning Spearman, S.J., 1899-1977​
     The Spearman papers consist of notes, correspondence, manuscripts, books, photos, albums, memorabilia, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, videotapes and audiotapes. The collection is divided into eight primary subject areas: biographical materials; family materials; subject files dealing with mission, local and California history; Spearman's writings about the mission and the University; his research on Jesuits and other religious; ADS' research and writing about John J. Montgomery; his miscellaneous writings on religious and patriotic themes; and his correspondence.The papers of Fr. Spearman include extensive research materials on local early California history. He has notes on several early settler/immigrant families such as the Berryesas, the Peraltas, the Pinedos, the Bandinis, and the Fatjos.

Quick Links to Archives & Special Collections

Archives & Special Collections Access Policy

In some cases, Archives & Special Collections staff reserve the right to insist on researcher use of digital surrogates in lieu of the originals due to fragility of the originals. These cases include researchers interested in the sacramental records and Fr. Viader's Miscellany Book. If you feel you have a good reason to consult the original, please contact us to discuss this.

Otherwise, items from the Santa Clara Mission Manuscript Collection are available for researchers to use in the Norman F. Martin, S.J. Reading Room Monday - Friday, 10 am - 7 pm.  Access to the collections are by appointment only.  Please contact us at to make an appointment. Researchers are required to complete the user register form before interacting with materials.