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Register of the Claire Sterling papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Related Collections
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Claire Sterling papers
    Date (inclusive): 1936-1994
    Collection Number: 96053
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Languages: The collection is in English and Italian.
    Physical Description: 82 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box (34 linear feet)
    Abstract: The collection contains writings, notes, correspondence, reports, photocopies of trial transcripts and interrogations, clippings, other printed matter, sound recordings, and photographs related to the Mafia, organized crime in Italy and the United States, international organized crime, and international terrorism.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Sterling, Claire.


    Collection is stored off site; a minimum of two days notice is required for use. Boxes may be requested through Stanford's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu 

    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To view films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Claire Sterling papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1996.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Related Collections

    Antonio Albano legal motion, Hoover Institution Archives
    Dorothea Price Farquharson papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    Genesis, rise and decline of terrorism in Italy conference papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    Paul B. Henze papers, Hoover Institution Archives

    Biographical Note

    1919 Born, Queens, New York
    Circa 1940 Graduated from Brooklyn College
    1945 Master's degree, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism
    Circa 1945 Worked for Overseas News Service
    1946 Author, Our Goal Was Palestine
    1949-1968 Wrote for The Reporter until it ceased publication in 1968
    1951 Married Thomas Sterling
    Circa 1951 Moved to Italy
      Became the Rome correspondent for an American news agency
    1969 Author, The Masaryk Case
    1981 Author, The Terror Network
    1984 Author, The Time of the Assassins
    1990 Author, Octopus: The Long Reach of the International Sicilian Mafia
    1994 Author, Thieves' World: The Threat of the New Global Network of Organized Crime
    1995 Died

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The papers document the career of Claire Sterling, an American journalist who lived in Italy for much of her life. The collection contains writings, notes, correspondence, reports, photocopies of trial transcripts and interrogations, clippings, other printed matter, sound recordings, and photographs related to the Mafia, organized crime in Italy and the United States, international organized crime, and international terrorism.
    After graduating from Columbia University, Sterling began her career in journalism, working for the Overseas News Service and writing for The Reporter. The Biographical file contains clippings on Sterling's life, as well as appointment books.
    Thomas Sterling, the husband of Claire Sterling, was an author who wrote novels and travel books. The Thomas Sterling file includes drafts for several of his monographs, including The Amazon and A Pride of Ambassadors. This file contains many of Thomas Sterling's diaries and notebooks, several of which depict his travels in Africa and were perhaps used as material for some of his travel books.
    The majority of Correspondence was sent and received by members of the Sterling family, including letters sent to Claire and Thomas by their children, Abigail and Luke. Also included are detailed letters sent to Pan Sterling, grandmother of Abigail and Luke, from a friend traveling abroad.
    As a journalist, Sterling covered stories on political situations in Europe and the Middle East, writing about events that took place during the Cold War. Over her long career, Sterling wrote for publications such as The Atlantic Monthly, Financial Times, The New York Times, The Reporter, and The Washington Post. In 1969, Sterling published her first full-length book, The Masaryk Case, in which she argued that the Czechoslovak foreign minister Jan Masaryk had been assassinated. Her next book, The Terror Network, explored international terrorism, while Octopus focused on the Sicilian Mafia. In The Time of the Assassins, Sterling presented the "Bulgarian Connection" theory as the motivation behind the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. Her last published book, Thieves' World, described the connections between various mafia groups and other organized crime syndicates. The Writings series includes articles that Sterling wrote for various publications, and drafts, reviews, and correspondence related to her monographs.
    Sterling kept Notes detailing her research and interviews for her writings. The collection contains a series of notebooks that Sterling labeled by location, as well as loose pages of notes and a series of index cards related to her research for The Terror Network.
    The Subject file, which contains the bulk of the material in the collection, includes Sterling's notes and gathered clippings on crime, drug traffic, and mafia organizations in various counties, which she used as research and references for her books and articles.
    In addition, the collection includes Sound recordings related to Sterling's work and Photographs of the Sterling family.
    Source: Pace, Eric. "Claire Sterling, 76, Dies; Writer on Crime and Terror." New York Times 18 June 1995. Accessed on April 2013 through: http://www.nytimes.com/1995/06/18/obituaries/claire-sterling-76-dies-writer-on-crime-and-terror.html

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Organized crime--Italy.
    Organized crime--United States.
    Organized crime.