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Sterling Alam Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MC-027

Scope and Contents note

Sterling Alam had a wide variety of interests, which are revealed in this collection of papers. Each part of the collection consists of a different area of interest in his life, supplemented with academic papers written by himself and by others, magazines, and newspaper articles that he used for reference. Of particular interest is his early interest in religion; the collection includes information from the various parishes over which he presided, including a sermon book with some information about the parishioners.

The various universities from which he received degrees and at which he later taught are represented, including transcripts and applications for different universities and funding opportunities. Papers regarding Alam's interest in sociology are extensive, especially those about the future of the family, including his class notes and lecture materials.

Communes were a serious interest of Alam's, and he collected extensively papers written by himself and others, magazines, and newsletters on his favorite commune, Twin Oaks.

Later in life, Alam became interested in gerontology, and collected information from conferences he attended, as well as research notes on various aspects of gerontology. He worked at the University of Illinois in the specialized Cooperative Extension Service, which specialized in informing people about the process of growing older. Sterling Alam lectured there and wrote papers; correspondences and lecture notes may be found in this part of the collection. The United Ostomy Association includes information on Alam's work at the Association, and messages from the United Ostomy Association.

Alam corresponded with several politicians including Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bill Clinton, Jim McGovern, Barack Obama, and Scott Brown about his political concerns. Sterling Alam devoted much of his life working toward equal healthcare and to educate people about social security, so there are extensive academic papers, and reports from various boards on which he sat. Alam was very involved in the Civil Rights movement, particularly through the church, and recently he has been a member of both the Attleboro Council on Human Rights and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Committee.

Miscellaneous materials include his sociological studies, and his interest in music, such as the Russian choir.


  • 1950-2009
  • 1960 - 1990


Copyright Status

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Biographical / Historical

Sterling Eugene Alam graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary, Hastings College, Syracuse University, and taught sociology at a number of universities including Rhode Island College and Sangamon University. His interests in sociology included the future of the family and middle class communes, on which he researched extensively. His interests turned to work in gerontology; while he worked for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service Alam wrote many papers on the lives of older people. He later became associated with the United Ostomy Association of Boston and the AARP. Throughout his life, Alam was interested in politics, civil rights, and community action.

Twin Oaks Community, VA

"Twin Oaks Community is an ecovillage and intentional community of about one hundred people living on 450 acres in Louisa County, Virginia. It is a member of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities. Founded in 1967, it is one of the longest-enduring and largest secular intentional communities in North America. The community's basic values are cooperation, egalitarianism, non-violence, sustainability and income sharing." For further information, see:,_Virginia

United Ostomy Association Administrative History

The United Ostomy Association is an organization which seeks to support and network with individuals who are affected by bowel and urinary problems, a group largely compsed of older people. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting a network of support groups.


12.0 boxes (The collection consists of 12 gray boxes and one carton. The original extent was 5 cartons. )

Language of Materials



The collection consists of 5 cartons of lecture notes from his years as a professor, political and personal correspondences, research materials, and general information from his interests in gerontology, human rights, and communes. Numerous magazines, reports, books, and newspaper articles have been retained, although many were removed from the collection. In addition, Alam collected political buttons, political cartoons, and comics, from which a sample was taken.

Immediate Aquisition Information

Acquisition information may not available for this collection. Please contact the repository for more information. The papers were donated by Sterling Alam. The majority was donated in 2010, and a small part of the papers was donated a few months later.

Physical Description

The majority of the materials are in good condition. Some papers stained with rust from old paperclips and staples.
Inventory of the Sterling Alam Papers
In Progress
Julie Travers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Marion B. Gebbie Archives and Special Collections Repository

Wheaton College
26 East Main Street
Norton Massachusetts 02766