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Tony Alamo Materials

 Collection
Identifier: MC 1673

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes circulars and flyers put forth by the ministry and typically placed on car windshields by Alamo followers. Also included are copies of the Alamo Christian Ministries World Newsletter, as well as a 2006 reprint of Tony Alamo’s The Messiah According to Bible Prophecy, originally published in 1980. Other materials include online source materials and newspaper clippings. Finally, the collection includes six audio CDs, recordings of Alamo’s “How to Have God’s Life Living in You,” Parts 114-119, dating from July 2006.

Dates

  • 1976-present

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email specoll@uark.edu at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

No Use Restrictions Apply.

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical Note

Tony Alamo was born Bernie Lazar Hoffman on September 20, 1934, in Joplin, Missouri; his father was a Jewish immigrant from Romania. As a teenager Bernie went to make his fortune as an entertainer in Los Angeles, California, where he came to own a health club and worked in the music industry. He initially changed his name to “Marcus Abad,” and later adopted the name “Tony Alamo.” Serving time in jail on a weapons charge, in 1966 he married Edith Opal Horn from Alma, Crawford County, Arkansas. Horn, who changed her name to “Susan,” was also of Jewish descent. She had gone to Hollywood hoping to find work as an actress but ended up supporting herself and her daughter by scamming churches under the guise of being a missionary seeking funds. While in California the Alamos converted to an evangelical form of Christianity and established the Music Square Church, a ministry which sought converts among drug addicts, alcoholics, and prostitutes on the streets of Hollywood. Alamo preached a pentecostal theology with strong anti-Catholic and conspiratorial undertones.

In 1975 the Alamos relocated to Dyer, Crawford County, Arkansas, near Alma. There they became embroiled in a number of controversies, and the ministry gained the reputation of being a “cult.” Among other things Alamo was charged with violating the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1976, had his ministry’s tax exempt status revoked by the Internal Revenue Service in 1985, and in 1994 was convicted of tax evasion. He received a six year sentence in the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, but was paroled in late 1998. The most bizarre controversy involved the body of his wife Susan, who died of cancer in 1982. Proclaiming that she would be resurrected, he placed her embalmed corpse on display for six months, after which it was interred in a mausoleum. Fearing a raid by federal officials, Alamo followers took the body in February 1991, and it remained hidden for several years. A custody battle over the body ensued between Alamo and Susan’s daughter, Christhiaon Coie. In 1995 a chancery court judge ruled in favor of Coie; three years of legal battles followed. Only in 1998 did Alamo’s followers surrender the corpse, which was finally interred in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Following his release from prison Alamo established the headquarters of his Tony Alamo Christian Ministries in Miller County outside of Texarkana. His followers also established branches in Fort Smith and Los Angeles. In 2006 the ministry remained active, broadcasting services over radio stations in the United States, Africa, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.

Extent

1 Linear Feet (2 Boxes)

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged in chronological order in two boxes.

Acquisition Information

Timothy G. Nutt of Fayetteville, Arkansas, donated the Tony Alamo Materials to the Special Collections Department on July 26, 2006. These materials were supplemented by items from the Tony Alamo vertical file collected by Special Collections staff over the years.

This collection remains open to new materials as they are produced. Interested researchers are encouraged to periodically review the collection finding aid for newer materials.

Processing Information

Processed by Matthew Lammers and Todd E. Lewis, December 2006
Title
Tony Alamo Materials
Status
Completed
Author
Matthew Lammers and Todd E. Lewis
Date
2006
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Department Repository

Contact:
University of Arkansas Libraries
365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville AR 72701 United States
479-575-5577