Porter Garnett was born in 1871 in San Francisco. He was an active member in San Francisco's literary scene and a member of the Bohemian Club, writing and directing plays at Bohemian Grove. In 1896, he joined The Lark, founded the previous year by Gelett Burgess and Bruce Porter. In 1907 he became assistant curator of Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley.
In 1922, Garnett became professor of graphic arts at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, teaching traditions, development and ideals of printing. There, he founded the Laboratory Press, as the only program in the country for the teaching of fine printing until the press closed in 1935. The Press was one of the only dedicated to education in printing as a fine art. In 1932, he was awarded the AIGA Medal.
When Porter and his wife Edna retired, they established their home at Foote Ranch in the Bay Area, which Edna's father had pioneered. Garnett died on March 21, 1951, in Calistoga, California. After his death, an archive of his papers was created in his name in the Bancroft Library.
- The Green Knight, A Vision, 1911
- The Bohemian jinks; a treatise, 1908
- Papers of the San Francisco Committee of vigilance of 1851, 1910
- San Francisco one hundred years ago, tr. from the French of Louis Choris, 1913
- The lure of the traffic: a melodrama of social evil, in six acts and nineteen scenes, 1914
- A pageant of May: I. The masque of Proserpine; II. The revels of May, 1914
- The inscriptions at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915
- Stately Homes of California, 1915
- The grove plays of the Bohemian Club, 1918
- "Porter Garnett: The Greenwich Village Bookshop Door". norman.hrc.utexas.edu. Retrieved 2016-12-07.
- "PORTER GARNETT, 80, COAST LITTERATEUR". Retrieved 2016-12-07.
- "THE ART OF FINE PRINTING". Retrieved 2016-12-07.
- "AIGA Medal and Medalists". AIGA | the professional association for design. Retrieved 2016-12-07.
- "TRADE REST 'CURES' AURORA'S NERVES; Bank Deposits Rise $1,000,000 as City Ends Five-Day Business Holiday to Restore Faith. ILLINOIS CITY REJOICES Fifty Thousand Join In Fete -- Experiment a "Howling Suc- cess," Mayor Declares". Retrieved 2016-12-07.
- "Volume I: Grace V. Bird" (PDF). University of California Berkeley. 1978. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
- Garnett, Porter (1908-01-01). The Bohemian jinks; a treatise. San Francisco: Bohemian Club.
- San Francisco Committee of Vigilance of 1851; Garnett, Porter (1910-01-01). Papers of the San Francisco Committee of vigilance of 1851. I. Publications of the Academy of Pacific Coast History ;vol. 1, no. 7. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California.
- Choris, Louis; Garnett, Porter (1913-01-01). San Francisco one hundred years ago. San Francisco: A. M. Robertson.
- Field, Charles K.; Garnett, Porter; Bohemian Club (San Francisco, Calif.) (1914-01-01). The lure of the traffic: a melodrama of social evil, in six acts and nineteen scenes. San Francisco: The Bohemian Club.
- Garnett, Porter; Woman's Park Club, Walla Walla, Wash. (1914-01-01). A pageant of May: I. The masque of Proserpine; II. The revels of May. Walla Walla, Wash.: [Walla Walla Union].
- Garnett, Porter; Taylor, Nash & Taylor. (1915-01-01). The inscriptions at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. San Francisco: San Francisco News Co. [distributor] : Taylor, Nash & Taylor [printer].
- Garnett, Porter (1915-01-01). Stately homes of California. Boston, Little, Brown, and Company.
- Bohemian Club (San Francisco, Calif.); Garnett, Porter; H.S. Crocker & Co. (1918-01-01). The grove plays of the Bohemian Club. San Francisco: Printed for the Bohemian Club at the press of the H. S. Crocker Company.