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John J. Montgomery photograph collection

Identifier: PHOTO-MONT

Scope and Content of the Collection

The John J. Montgomery Photograph Collection includes b&w prints of family photographs, Montgomery's gliders and glider flightst, movie stills of the biographical film "Gallant Journey," and other images.


  • Publication: circa 1896-1967


The collection is open for research. There are no restrictions.

Publication Rights

Materials in Archives & Special Collections may be subject to copyright. All requests for permission to publish from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Permission for publication is given on behalf of Archives & Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials, and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials.

Biographical History

John Joseph Montgomery was born February 15, 1858 in Yuba City, California, the son of Zachary and Ellen Evoy Montgomery. In 1864 he moved to Oakland California, where he is believed to have begun his study of birds' flight and wing structure. He entered Santa Clara College in 1874 then transferred to St. Ignatius College in San Francisco in 1875, where he earned his B.Sc. in 1879 and his M.Sc. in 1880. In 1893 Montgomery presented his paper "Soaring Flight" at the Aeronautical Congress' Conference on Aerial Navigation, in Chicago, having accomplished the first controlled flight of man in a heavier than air craft at Otay Mesa, around 1883 or 1884. In 1894 Montgomery began teaching mathematics at St. Joseph's College in Rohnnerville, but he returned to his family home in Oakland in 1895 and began living at Santa Clara College in 1896, where he was awarded his Ph.D. in 1901. While at Santa Clara he worked with James E. Leonard, flying three and four-foot wingspread model planes at Leonard's ranch, and with the Rev. Richard H. Bell, S.J. on improve-ments on the Marconi Wireless, while also teaching physics. In 1904 Montgomery trained Daniel Maloney to fly two full-scale planes that had been completed in 1903. The two presented several exhibitions in 1905, in which a plane was raised 500 to 4,000 feet by a hot air balloon, then cut free and maneuvered to the ground. The exhibitions stopped when Maloney was killed July 18, 1905. Shortly after Maloney's death Montgomery received patent No. 831,173 "For Improvement in Aeroplanes." This was to be the basis of a 1921 suit brought by Montgomery's widow, Regina Cleary Montgomery, and other family members. In 1909 Montgomery patented an alternating current rectifier which he sold to a San Francisco company. He married Regina Cleary on June 30, 1910. Montgomery continued his experimental flights. In the Fall of 1911, during a two week period of work with his mechanics Cornelius Reinhardt and Joseph Vierra at Evergreen, he made approximately 55 successful flights. On October 31, 1911, during a flight, he was struck by a bolt loosened from the aeroplane and was killed.

Organizational History

Santa Clara University was founded in 1851 by the Society of Jesus as Santa Clara College and is California’s oldest operating institution of higher learning. It was established on the grounds of Mission Santa Clara de Asìs, the eighth of the original 21 California missions. The college originally operated as a preparatory school and did not offer courses of collegiate rank until 1853. The institution became known as the University of Santa Clara in 1912, when the schools of engineering and law were added. For 110 years, Santa Clara University was an all-male school. In 1961, women were accepted as undergraduates and Santa Clara University became the first coeducational Catholic university in California. The number of students and faculty tripled over the next decade and the university began the largest building program in school history with eight residence halls, a student union, and an athletic stadium. In the early 1970s, the Board of Trustees voted to limit the size of the undergraduate population, an action that was intended to preserve the character and ensure the quality of the university for generations to come. In 1985, the university adopted Santa Clara University as its official name. Bibliography: Santa Clara University. “About SCU – History.” (Accessed Nov. 23, 2010) McKevitt, Gerald, S.J. The University of Santa Clara: A History, 1851-1977. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1979.


2 Linear Feet (2 linear feet : 6 boxes) : b&w prints

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Physical Location

This collection is located in Santa Clara University Library's Archives & Special Collections.

Language of Materials


Processing Information

Collection processed prior to 2024. Legacy collection data migrated from existing MARC records by Taylor Garvey in 2024. Please consult Archives & Special Collections staff regarding the existence of container lists or other finding aids for this collection.

In Progress
Legacy collection data migrated from existing MARC records by Taylor Garvey in 2024. Reviewed by Nadia Nasr.
© 2024 Santa Clara University. All rights reserved.
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Repository Details

Part of the Archives & Special Collections, Santa Clara University Library Repository

Santa Clara University Library
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara California 95053-0500 USA US