Alexander McCormick Sturm

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Alexander McCormick Sturm
William B. Ruger and Alexander McCormick Sturm 1950.jpg.tiff.jpg
William Batterman Ruger and Sturm (with beard) in 1950. Together they founded Sturm, Ruger & Co., with Ruger providing the gun expertise, and Sturm providing the eagle logo and financial backing
Born (1923-06-23)June 23, 1923
Westport, Connecticut, U.S.
Died November 16, 1951(1951-11-16) (aged 28)
Norwalk, Connecticut, U.S.
Alma mater Yale University
Occupation artist, author, entrepreneur
Employer Sturm, Ruger & Co.
Spouse(s) Paulina Longworth
(m. 1944–1951; his death)
Children Joanna Sturm
Parent(s) Justin Sturm
Katherine McCormick
Relatives Alexander Agnew McCormick, Jr. (uncle)

Alexander McCormick "Alex" Sturm (June 23, 1923 – November 16, 1951) was an American artist, author, and entrepreneur who co-founded in 1949, the American firearm maker, Sturm, Ruger & Co. Sturm provided the start-up money and designed the Germanic heraldic eagle that is found on Ruger guns. He was the husband of Paulina Longworth. Sturm came from a prominent Connecticut family, and his wealthy mother was of the McCormick mercantile family.[1] He was a Yale University graduate. Not long after the company had begun to succeed financially and gain traction, Sturm died from viral hepatitis.

Early life and education[edit]

Alex was born in Westport, Connecticut to sculptor/author/Yale football star Justin Sturm (April 21, 1899 — August 6, 1967) and Katherine "Kit" McCormick (August 31, 1900 — May 6, 1971). He had one younger brother, Justin Jr. (born 1926) (known as "Dusty").[2] Kit's brother Alexander Agnew McCormick, Jr. (1897–1918) was a World War I flier.[3][4] As a writer and artist, he was, during his life, perhaps best known for his two popular illustrated children's books, The Problem Fox, and From Ambush to Zig-zag, both published before he graduated from Yale; and for his playboy bon vivant lifestyle. A reviewer for The New York Times described The Problem Fox as "marvelous", and "a little masterpiece."[5]

While a student at Yale, Alex liked to dine at the best hotel in town, while other students would eat at the school dining hall. One of his classmates from his undergraduate days at Yale recalled:

He would go to New York regularly on the weekends. His clothes were all custom-tailored, and he was a Renaissance type, with all kinds of talent. An artistic sense, a true brilliance, were in his genes. Alex was a voracious collector: guns, canes, swords, heraldry.

Although Sturm preferred to stay indoors, he was an accomplished polo player.[6]

Co-founds Sturm, Ruger & Co.[edit]

He is perhaps best known today for his $50,000[7] seed-money investment in co-founding Sturm, Ruger & Co. in 1949 that was prompted by his interest in guns and his friendship with William Batterman Ruger. Ruger provided the technical know-how as a gunsmith, and business acumen; Sturm provided the Germanic heraldic-based red eagle logo and all of the financial backing necessary for starting the fledgling firearms business.

Ruger once stated,

I remember Sturm and I going to New York. We invited Warren Page of Field & Stream magazine to join us for lunch so we could tell him about the pistol. Page was looking forward to meeting Alex; he expected an impressive person, which Alex was, but not in the way Page expected him to be. Alex was an odd fish in those days. He had a beard, wore green suits with all sorts of bells and whistles on them — cuffed sleeves and so on — and he had a marvelous manner. He gave you the general impression of being a prewar German baronial type. He was actually a very artistic and sensitive person, but he also looked like a bull in the woods and was quite strong.[8]

Sturm with his wife Paulina Longworth on their wedding day, August 26, 1944.


During World War II, Sturm was an officer with the Office of Strategic Services[1] in Washington D.C. While in D.C., he met Paulina Longworth, the daughter of William Borah and Alice Roosevelt Longworth.[9]

Sturm and Paulina married in 1944, with his brother Dusty serving as best man.[2] They had one daughter, Joanna Mercedes Alessandra Sturm (born 1946). Paulina had helped launch Sturm, Ruger & Co., stuffing envelopes with Alex on Sunday afternoons, and giving moral support to the two partners.[8] The couple lived in Alex Sturm's home in Westport, which was situated near his parents' house on property that the family owned.[4]


Alexander Sturm became seriously ill in 1951 with viral hepatitis and died after a ten-day stay in the hospital. He was 28 years old. The Sturm, Ruger trademark, which had been a red eagle, was changed to a black eagle by his friend Bill Ruger to mourn the death of his business partner.[10]

Paulina died five years later at the age of 31 from an overdose of sleeping pills. Their daughter Joanna was raised by Paulina's mother Alice.


  1. ^ a b Wilson, R.L. (2008). Ruger & His Guns: A History of the Man, the Company & Their Firearms. p. 23. ISBN 978-0785821038. 
  2. ^ a b Felsenthal, Carol (2003). Princess Alice: The Life and Times of Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Macmillan. 
  3. ^ "Miss McCormick and Justin Sturm Will Be Wed on June 24," Chicago Daily Tribune, June 14, 1922; "Chicago Flier Dies in Battle, Another in Fall," Chicago Daily Tribune, October 1, 1918.
  4. ^ a b "Justin Sturm, Sculptor and Author, Dies," Chicago Tribune, August 8, 1967.
  5. ^ Wilson (2008), p. 38.
  6. ^ Wilson (2008), p. 22.
  7. ^ "Ruger history". 
  8. ^ a b Wilson, R.L. (2008). Ruger & His Guns: A History of the Man, the Company & Their Firearms. p. 24. ISBN 978-0785821038. 
  9. ^ Yardley, Jonathan (October 21, 2007). "A Roosevelt who married one politician and bore another's child". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 21, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Bill Ruger of Brooklyn". NY Press. 2002-08-06.