Walter T. Steilberg graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1910 with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a minor in structural engineering. Steilberg worked with Julia Morgan from 1910-1920 as draftsman, architect, office manager, and structural engineer. In 1920 he formed his own architecture and consulting firm and collaborated with Gardner Dailey on many projects. Steilberg became an expert in seismic architecture and engineering issues and conducted extensive experimental research with concrete.
The Walter T. Steilberg collection documents Steilberg’s engineering and architectural careers, as well as his own research into building materials and the structural effects of earthquakes. Project records include correspondence, notes, reports, photographs, and drawings documenting both his consulting and design work. A major element of the collection is Steilberg's unpublished monograph on the effects of the 1925 Earthquake in Santa Barbara which includes photographs. Project files for the University of California, including the Sather Tower renovation, are well-represented. The project records also contain correspondence between Steilberg and architect Gardner Dailey and biographical information on Julia Morgan. Of particular interest are two folders of correspondence, clippings, and photographs relating to the 1923 Berkeley fire.