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later indicates that Jane was the wife of a "vice-president of a large

steel company."

The key words in her relative dry date are "about the same time"

[relative to February 1937]. I can't find a hard written reference to

confirm it, but sources I trust for credibility indicate that Jane S

stayed sober for only a few months.

"Pass It On" mentions Florence R. On pg 202 it states "The

name 'One

Hundred Men' fell by the wayside because of objections of Florence R,

at that time the only female member." It's odd that Jane S' name isn't

also mentioned as a female member "at that time." Is it possible


that she had already fell off the wagon and departed?
The edited story section of the Big Book was completed "in the latter

part of January 1939" (re "AA Comes of Age" pg 164). The

mark-up of

the manuscript was likely completed in the latter part of March (the

book was published April 4, 1939).
Florence R, states in her story "... The drinking ended the morning I

got there ..." ["there" was Bill and Lois' home for the 2nd

time]. She

then later states "That was more than a year ago." In manuscript

versions, circulating around the internet, the sentence read "That was

several years ago" which is quite obviously wrong. The key words in

her relative dry date are "more than a year ago" [but from when?].
So how to do the reckoning to establish female member primacy? It

seems to be a contest between the precision inherent in the relative

values denoted by "about" or "more than."
Is Jane S' dry date of "around February" fall on February 1st or


(that's almost a month's difference) or February 14 (to split the

difference)or could late January (31st) or early March (1st)?

Is Florence R's dry date of "more than a year ago" relative to


January 1939 (when the edited stories were completed) or mid to late

March 1939 when the mark-up was completed? If it is March 1939, then

Jane S may have primacy (and that is only a "may have"). If


than" is relative to January or February 1939 then Florence R has

primacy or perhaps it's a tie. The problem is does "more than"

mean a

day, a week or weeks, a month, 365 days + 1, 13 or 14 months or what?

So which is earlier? I'm sticking with Florence. Why? Florence stayed

dry for over a year. Jane S lasted for a few months. If it's mainly

about when they showed up then legendary "Lil" beats them both. If


elapsed time before they returned to drinking doesn't factor in, then

by that logic, Ebby T is the first male member of AA and should be a

However, it probably boils down to "truth by choice." In any event


matter is not by any means certain.

-----Original Message-----

From: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

[mailto:AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Diz Titcher

Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2006 2:58 AM

To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] First woman was Jane S., not Florence
The first woman was Jane S. in Akron and she beat Florence by one

Diz T.

From: "mertonmm3" (mertonmm3 at


Women in the plural because, I believe in the NY/NJ/CT area (which

functioned as one during most of the time) they began with one woman

(Florence R. of Westfield N.J.), and around the time of the release of

the book Marty M., then a patient of Blythewood Sanitarium, became

number 2.


Yahoo! Groups Links
++++Message 3133. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Bill W and Dr. Bob

From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/3/2006 1:45:00 AM

Hi Jim
"Bill's Story" and "There is a Solution" were the first

two chapters

written. They were used as examples to show what the book would be

like while it was being developed.

I don't think the early AA members shared your viewpoint about what

comprised "the important stuff" in the Big Book. Quite often


will trumpet the "basic text" of the Big Book and give

short-shrift to

the personal stories. The "basic text" very much suggests

Also, in "AA Comes of Age" (pg 164) Bill W writes "We had not


much farther with the text of the book when it was evident that

something more was needed. There would have to be a story or case

history section. We would have to produce evidence in the form of

living proof, written testimonials of our membership itself. It was

felt also that the story section could identify us with the distant

reader in a way that the text itself might not."

Among the "important stuff" in the Big Book basic text there are 5

explicit references to the personal stories:

1 - Page 29:
"Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered.

These are followed by forty-three [forty-two in the 4th edition]

personal experiences. Each individual, in the personal stories,

describes in his own language and from his own point of view the way

he established his relationship with God. These give a fair cross

section of our membership and a clear-cut idea of what has actually

happened in their lives.
We hope no one will consider these self-revealing accounts in bad

taste. Our hope is that many alcoholic men and women, desperately in

need, will see these pages, and we believe that it is only by fully

disclosing ourselves and our problems that they will be persuaded to

say, "Yes, I am one of them too; I must have this thing."
2 - Page 50:
"In our personal stories you will find a wide variation in the way

each teller approaches and conceives of the Power which is greater

than himself. Whether we agree with a particular approach or

conception seems to make little difference. Experience has taught us

that these are matters about which, for our purpose, we need not be

worried. They are questions for each individual to settle for himself.

On one proposition, however, these men and women are strikingly

agreed. Every one of them has gained access to, and believes in, a

Power greater than himself. This Power has in each case accomplished

the miraculous, the humanly impossible. As a celebrated American

statesman put it, "Let's look at the record."
3 - Page 55:
"In this book you will read the experience of a man who thought he was

an atheist. His story is so interesting that some of it should be told

now. His change of heart was dramatic, convincing, and moving."
4 - Page 58 (a familiar reading at meetings):
"Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what

happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what

we have and are willing to go to any length to get it-then you are

ready to take certain steps." [note: this was not written to be the

format of a speaker meeting - it was written to get the reader to read

the stories to find out what they had].

5 - Pages 112-113:
.. But after his next binge, ask him if he would really like to get

over drinking for good. Do not ask if he would do it for you or anyone

else. Just would he like to?
The chances are he would. Show him your copy of this book and tell him

what you have found out about alcoholism. Show him that as alcoholics,

the writers of the book understand. Tell him some of the interesting

stories you have read. If you think he will be shy of a spiritual

remedy, ask him to look at the chapter on alcoholism. Then perhaps he

will be interested enough to continue.

I've often wondered how those who purchase the abridged edition are

able to follow the instructions in the basic text without the material

that the basic text makes reference to.
"The Doctor's Opinion" by Dr Silkworth, started as page 1 in the


edition Big Book. Dr Esther L Richards of John Hopkins Hospital in

Baltimore, was sent a copy of the first two chapters mentioned above.

She wrote to Bill that he should get a first rate medical view at the

beginning of the book.

So Bill W's story starts the numbered chapters and Dr Bob's story

starts the personal stories. Seems like a good fit for both our

co-founders. After all, Bill W was AA #1 and Dr Bob was AA #2. AA #3

didn't make it into the book until the 2nd edition (his discharge from

the hospital marked the start of AA's first group Akron #1).
The first page in the Big Book starts immediately after the front

cover. The last page ends immediately prior to the back cover. My

friendly appeal to you would be to consider the "important stuff"


be everything that exists between those two covers. This way you get

your full money's worth. (rule #62)

-----Original Message-----

From: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

[mailto:AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jim S.

Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2006 1:31 PM

To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Bill W and Dr. Bob
I have asked these questions several times in my F2F meetings and

sponsor, I have even checked the internet.

How did Dr. Bob wind up in the back of the BB with the stories instead

of in the main section (164 pgs)?

I usually relate the important stuff to the first 181 pages.
Really don't understand why Dr. Bob isn't given more credit, except


Bill was a salesman and Dr. Bob wasn't.
Thank you for being here,
Jim S/Pensacola, FL
Yahoo! Groups Links
++++Message 3134. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Bill W and Dr. Bob

From: ny-aa@att.net . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/4/2006 12:21:00 AM

Doctor Bob's story is in the first part of the Big Book as well

as being the first chapter in the story section. It starts on

page 155 in "A vision for You." It has been talking about Bill's

"journey to a certain western city" when he needed to talk to

another alcoholic. Reference to "a certain resident of that town"

means Dr Bob. Then the story of AA Number three is introduced

on page 156 where he is "a first class alcoholic prospect."
BTW: When the Big Book was first published, did they ever say

that the stories weren't "important stuff" as implied here? :-)

When the Big Book said that a new prospect should "read this

book," it didn't say he should only read "part of this book."

I wonder when that trend to worshiping the first part while

dismissing the story part started happening.

"Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like,

what happened to us, and what we are like now -- but you don't

need to read those stories." Bah! It's time for a reality check.

They included "our personal adventures before and after" for

a good reason other than to make the book thicker.


En2joy! Tom En2ger
-------------- Original message ----------------------

From: "Jim S."


> I have asked these questions several times in my F2F meetings

> and sponsor, I have even checked the internet.


> How did Dr. Bob wind up in the back of the BB with the stories

> instead of in the main section (164 pgs)?


> I usually relate the important stuff to the first 181 pages.


> Really don't understand why Dr. Bob isn't given more credit,

> except that Bill was a salesman and Dr. Bob wasn't.


> Thank you for being here,


> Jim S/Pensacola, FL




++++Message 3135. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Bill W and Dr. Bob

From: Diz Titcher . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/2/2006 3:50:00 PM

From: "Diz Titcher" (rtitcher at


Bill wrote the book.


From: jocis007@aol.com (jocis007 at aol.com)
They agreed that Bill's story would go first, and

Doctor Bob's story would be the finish. It was done

in such masterly form. Don't you agree?


From: "Lee Nickerson" (snowlily at


My take on it is that Bob was a very low-key guy and focused on

Twelfth Step work and trying to keep Bill for franchising the

program in the first few years. If Dr. Bob had been the one to get

the message out to the world, it would have remained in Akron for a

very long time. I can find nothing that indicates that Bill did

anything unsavory to get his image the way it ended up. The Big Book

was approved by the entire membership at the time, so Dr. Bob must

have had a chance to speak up about just where his story was. I

actually see Bill as a much larger influence as to the formation of

the Fellowship than Dr. Bob. I think Bob's primary role was keeping

a lid on Bill grandiosity and serving as Bill's friend and




From the moderator, Glenn C.


Let's not over analyze and forget the obvious! There

are people who can sing beautifully but cannot play a

musical instrument. Their musical skills extend to

their mouths but not to their fingers, because it seems

to involve training a different part of the brain.
Dr. Bob was someone who could talk to you, and explain

to you orally what you had to do to get sober, better

than anybody else in early AA. But if you look at the

few things that he wrote, once you put a pen in his

hand, he kind of froze up, and what came out was kind

of wooden and not very well expressed.

There have been many people in AA since then who were

wonderful sponsors, and could stand up and give

marvelous leads, but were not good writers. We've

got a heck of a lot of good people like that.

But Bill W. was real writer. I don't know how he

managed to write all those hundreds of beautiful

letters to people. And if you look at "As Bill

Sees It," you can see how, even in the middle of

an ordinary little letter that he just tossed off

in a few minutes, there would often be buried

passages of profound spiritual wisdom.
You can't criticize other people for not having

that kind of extraordinary skill. And it would

have been foolish in the extreme to play silly

games and insist on all of the first forty AA's

being given exactly 4.1 pages to write in the

first 164 pages of the Big Book, no more, no less.

But this posed a problem when it came time to write

the Big Book. Bill W. certainly couldn't have

written Dr. Bob's story for him, that would have

been arrogant and rude. So he had to concentrate

in the book on the part that he had a right to talk

about, about Ebby's visit to him, and how the

scales fell from his eyes and he found the path

of healing for himself, when Ebby told him what

he had learned from the Oxford Group.
And then he gave Dr. Bob the place of honor at

the head of the story section, but kept the

part Dr. Bob had to write fairly small, so Dr.

Bob would be able to handle it.

It would be great if Dr. Bob had also had the

writing skills to explain exactly what he was

thinking and feeling when he and Bill W. first

met, oh boy would it be great, but he didn't

have those skills.
Nevertheless, when we put up pictures of the

founders, we give Bill W. and Dr. Bob equal

honor, with their portraits side by side.

That's the important symbolism. Nobody tries

to make the portrait of Bill W. bigger than

the portrait of Dr. Bob.

Let's just be grateful that we had several

people in early AA who did have remarkable

writing skills, like Bill W. and Richmond Walker

and Ralph Pfau (Father John Doe) and Ed Webster.

While also being grateful for the far greater

number of people who knew how to be effective

sponsors, and how to deal with suffering

alcoholics on a one on one basis. We needed

ALL of them in order for us to receive God's

grace in its fullness.

Along with the guy who shows up an hour in

advance of every meeting and unlocks the building

and makes the coffee, and says hello to you when

you walk in, and is GLAD to see you. And you

can count on him, and you know he's going to be

there. And when you're hurting, he saves your

life too, just as much as the others.
In a little piece called the Tools of Recovery

(http://hindsfoot.org/tools.html) which is often

read at meetings in my part of Indiana, the sixth

tool is Service, and it says simply, "Service

helps our personal program grow. Service is

giving in A.A. Service is leading a meeting,

making coffee, moving chairs, being a sponsor,

or emptying ashtrays. Service is action, and

action is the magic word in this program."
When I make coffee for a meeting, or help

move chairs, or empty ashtrays, I do not regard

it as a lower and inferior kind of service work.

I do everything on that little list in the

Tools of Recovery, and everything else that

people ask me to do. All service is of equal

honor in the eyes of God. I don't go around

giving leads as a conference speaker on a

regular basis because there are people in the

program far more talented than I am in that

area. My own story really isn't very interesting.

But I treasure and honor the people we have who

DO have good stories, and ARE good at giving

leads in front of big conferences.

Ralph Pfau (Father John Doe), the Catholic

priest from Indiana, found that because the

Catholic Church in those days required priests

to wear clerical collars at all times, that he

couldn't do a good job of making twelve step

calls. All alcoholics could see was his

clerical collar, and they couldn't identify

with him, and they found it very threatening

and frightening. He desperately wanted to do

something which would be of service to his

fellow alcoholics, and finally turned to leading

weekend spiritual retreats and then to writing

his Golden Books, not because he thought that

being a writer was more important or more

glamorous, but because it was the only kind of

service work that he seemed to be any good at!

++++Message 3136. . . . . . . . . . . . California Bill

From: ckbudnick . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/3/2006 2:01:00 PM

In Message 3129, "Significant February dates in A.A. History "


it says:
Feb 14, 2000 - William Y., "California Bill"

dies in Winston Salem, NC.

Who was William Y. "California Bill" and what is his

significance in AA history?


Raleigh, NC

++++Message 3137. . . . . . . . . . . . Pat McC - Philadelphia longtimer

From: Shakey1aa@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/3/2006 9:16:00 AM

Pat McC. of Audubon, NJ, formerly of Yeadon, Pa. died Feb 1st with 57 years

of sobriety. He came in thru the 4021 clubhouse and was going to be one of

the 5 longtime speakers on Sunday 3/12/06 3 P.M. when the club will


their 60th anniversary.Another AA who showed us that long term sobriety is

possible a day at a time with the help of a Higher Power and following the

suggestions of our program.

Yours in Service,

Shakey Mike G.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3138. . . . . . . . . . . . From We Agnostics..Professor Langley

From: Gene . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/3/2006 2:44:00 PM

As part of my continuing project to share esoteric refrences in the

Big Book from Bill W's idiom of the time...(1930's)

I'm sending this about the refrence to professor Langley's flying

machine Chapter 4, Page 51; We Agnostics.

"Professor Langley's airplane sank in the Potomic River".....
From We Agnostics, (P 51 Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous)
Bill W. was moved by the story of a man's dreams and the ridicule of

the press and the fact that a man could eventually fly.

Samuel Pierpont Langley

Samuel Pierpont Langley (1834 - 1906) is often used as a contrast to

the Wrights. Unlike the two brothers, Langley was highly-educated and

had more than ample funding in support of his efforts to develop an

airplane. His stature at Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution

lent great credibility to his efforts to build an airplane, as did

his success with the unmanned aerodromes. In particular, his

Aerodrome No. 6 flew 4,200 feet at about 30 mph on November 28, 1896.

This unmanned tandem-wing craft employed a lightweight steam engine

for propulsion. The wings were set at a distinct dihedral angle so

that the craft was dynamically stable, capable of righting itself

when disturbed by a sideways breeze. There was no method of steering

this craft, nor would it have been easy to add any means to control

the direction the craft flew.

From the success of No. 6, Langley was able to convince the War

Department (a.k.a. Department of Defense) to contribute $50,000

toward the development of a person-carrying machine. The Smithsonian

contributed a like sum towards Langley's efforts. Charles Manley

developed an extraordinary radial-cylinder internal combustion engine

that developed 52 horsepower for the man-carrying Great Aerodrome.

Langley felt it would be safest to fly over water, so he spent almost

half of his funds constructing a houseboat with a catapult that would

be capable of launching his new craft.

The Great Aerodrome might have flown if Langley had chosen a more

traditional means of launching the craft from the ground. The pilot

still would have lacked any means of steering the plane, and so faced

dangers aplenty. But it might have at least gotten into the air.

Unfortunately, Langley chose to stick with his 'tried-and-true'

approach of catapult launches. The plane had to go from a dead stop

to the 60 m.p.h. flying speed in only 70 feet. The stress of the

catapult launch was far greater than the flimsy wood-and-fabric

airplane could stand. The front wing was badly damaged in the first

launch of October 7, 1903. A reporter who witnessed the event claimed

it flew "like a handful of mortar." Things went even worse during


second launch of December 9, 1903, where the rear wing and tail

completely collapsed during launch. Charles Manley nearly drowned

before he could be rescued from the wreckage and the ice-covered

Potomac river.

Needless to say, the Washington critics had a field day. The Brooklyn

Eagle quoted Representative Hitchcock as saying, "You tell Langley

for me ... that the only thing he ever made fly was Government

money." Representative Robinson characterized Langley as "a

professor ... wandering in his dreams of flight ... who was given to

building ... castles in the air."

The War Department, in its final report on the Langley project,

concluded "we are still far from the ultimate goal, and it would seem

as if years of constant work and study by experts, together with the

expenditure of thousands of dollars, would still be necessary before

we can hope to produce an apparatus of practical utility on these

lines." Eight days after Langley's spectacular failure, a sturdy,

well-designed craft, costing about $1000, struggled into the air in

Kitty Hawk, defining for all time the moment when humankind mastered

the skies.

In spite of 18 years of well-funded and concerted effort by Langley

to achieve immortality, his singular contribution to the invention of

the airplane was the pair of 30-lb aerodromes that flew in 1914.. He

died in 1906 after a series of strokes, a broken and disappointed man.


A very short history of the airplane.

Professor Langley was a respected astronomer. He invented the

bolometer, an instrument that measures small amounts of microwave or

infared radiation by detecting changes in electrical resistance on a

thin heat sensitive metal conductor. (This will be on the test) His

name lives on in a unit of energy flux. At the end of the 19th

Century he was head of the Smithsonian Institute, which in those days

was a serious scientific organization. He started to experiment with

model airplanes. These experiments culminated in a couple of Steam

Models that earned him a permanent place in pre Wright Brothers


These successes lead to his being asked by the Department of War to

construct a man carrying air craft. It didn't fly. Twice the

Aerodrome, as he called it, was catapulted off the roof of a house

boat and twice it fell into the Potomac river "Like a handful of wet

mortar." Soon after he died, some say broken by the ridicule with

which the press treated the event. And the airplane languished in the


In the meantime the Wright Brothers flew, and patented, their

airplane. They were quite aggressive about pursuing what they

considered violations of this patent, and set American aviation back

by years. Glen Curtiss was one of the individuals who wanted to avoid

paying the Wright's considerable royalties and he embarked on a

series of lawsuits that was to drag on for years.

In about 1914, in an effort to show that the Wright Brothers didn't

make the first airplane capable of flight he approached the

Smithsonian with an offer to see if he could make the remains of the

Aerodrome fly. The Smithsonian who stood to recover from shame and

ridicule agreed to this. But the Aerodrome was fundamentally unsound,

so Curtiss took it upon himself to make many modifications. He

eventually achieved limited flight. Among the changes were,

replacing the motor and the two primitive propellers mounted behind

the forward wing with a tractor prop powered by a more modern engine.

He also gave up on catapulting it off a houseboat and fitted it with

floats. Orville Wright was particularly insistant that Langley had

the center of pressure in the wrong places and that Curtiss applied

the Wright Bros discoveries to rerig the wing bracing.



Gene from Westchester
++++Message 3139. . . . . . . . . . . . Bill''s debt from stock market


From: gbaa487 . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/3/2006 11:08:00 PM
On page 4 of Bill's story he tells us of the collapse of the market.

My understanding is that it put him in about $650,000 (today's value)

in debt. How and when did he get out of that debt?
Thanks......this is the best AA info site.
++++Message 3140. . . . . . . . . . . . First lesbian or gay AA member?

From: nancy miller . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/3/2006 8:14:00 PM

Who was the first lesbian or gay man in the program?

I heard this women set up an organization that studies

alcoholism. Who was she ???
Nancy M


(This is with respect to the discussion over whether

Florence R. of Westfield N.J. or Jane S. in Akron was

the first woman to get sober in AA.)
++++Message 3141. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: 100 Hundred Men and Women?

From: merton m. . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/4/2006 1:12:00 AM

Hi Art,
I enjoyed this. The only techno is that Florence

lived in Westfield NJ rather than NY. Only people

like us care about such details.
When I was archives chair for N. Jersey 15 years

ago we photographed the beautiful home as well as

extensive photos of 9-11 Hill St and 17-19 William St.

in Newark, Hanks 1936 home at 575 Wyndum (sp?) in

Teneck where Lois diary said the Jersey drunks met

at times (carried into LR I believe), Hank and

Kathleen's much larger home at 344 N. Fullerton

in Montclair where they moved in 1937 and where

Bill and Lois stayed for a few months after

leaving the Heights. (along with Jim B.).

All these photos still hang on huge displays in

the intergroup office and are carried around the

country with the traveling committee.
All the Best,

ArtSheehan wrote:

The "and women" part turned out to be Florence R of

NY (as Merton noted) whose story is "A Feminine

Victory" (Marty M didn't arrive until after the

manuscript had been distributed). Florence R, was

the first woman in AA and was sober around a year

when she wrote her story. She later moved to Washington

DC to join up with Fitz M (whose story is "Our

Southern Friend") to help start AA there. Sadly,

Florence returned to drinking (Fitz M was called

to the morgue to identify her).

++++Message 3142. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: First woman was Jane S., not


From: Tom Hickcox . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/6/2006 5:24:00 PM
Diz and Art have presented answers to the question referred to in the

subject line of this email.

They appear to me at least to be addressing two separate but related


Perhaps if we could agree on a question first, then it could be addressed.
The question could be, "Who was the first woman working the program of


became Alcoholics Anonymous to attain a year's sobriety?"
While some of my contemporary colleagues think you are still a bit wet

behind the ears at one year, it was an awful long time for our Old Timers,

whose sobriety was measured in months.
That is the question; what is the answer?
Tommy H in Baton Rouge
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3143. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: First woman was Jane S., not


From: mertonmm3 . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/7/2006 3:47:00 AM
>Hi Art,
In GSO Archives the early members were given 1 page questioneers to

fill out which included self reported sobriety date, occupation, ect.

I specifically recall one that Florence presumably submitted. Post 64

on this site (by this sites founder) places Florence's date of entry

at March, 1937. This sound accurate but I'm missing my transcript of

this. A specific inquiry to NY regarding this questioneer will verify

the accuracy or inaccuracy as to the date if GSO responds. It would be

easiest to obtain from the microfische.

As you know Florence made contact with AA through her non-alcoholic

husband who was a friend and buisness associate of Bill's.

All the best,


++++Message 3144. . . . . . . . . . . . San Francisco Bay area history

From: Trysh Travis . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/6/2006 10:05:00 PM

I am interested in finding out about the history of Bay-area 12-Step

culture during the late 1970s. I am curious about the growth of AA and

other organizations in San Francisco and Oakland, but also in

surrounding counties, especially Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino. This part

of the country has a reputation for "crunchy" and New Age-y


but I'm not sure what that reputation is based on. I'd be grateful for

any sources folks can direct me to.

Thanks in advance.
Trysh Travis
ttravis@wst.ufl.edu (ttravis at wst.ufl.edu)
++++Message 3145. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: First lesbian or gay AA member?

From: Sally Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/7/2006 8:43:00 PM

Hi, Nancy - I think you must be referring to Marty Mann (see below), who

founded the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) when

she had 5 years' sobriety. She was not the first woman to come to AA, but

she was the first to achieve long-term sobriety. She arrived in AA in April

Also, she was lesbian. However, Dave (co-author of our biography of her) and

I never looked into whether she was the first LGBT. I think there may have

been one or two gay men before her, but I'd be surprised if there were

another lesbian. Maybe this posting will produce historical information for

all of us.
Shalom - Sally
Rev Sally Brown coauthor: A Biography of

Mrs. Marty Mann

Board Certified Clinical Chaplain The First Lady of Alcoholics


United Church of Christ

1470 Sand Hill Road, 309

Palo Alto, CA 94304

Phone/Fax: 650 325 5258

Email: rev.sally@att.net
++++Message 3146. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: First lesbian or gay AA member?

From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/8/2006 12:02:00 PM

Hi Nancy
Source abbreviations: (12and12)Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,

(AACOA)AA Comes of Age, (BW-FH) Bill W by Francis Hartigan, (DBGO) Dr

Bob and the Good Oldtimers, (MMM) Mrs Marty Mann by Sally and David

Brown, (PIO)Pass It On.

The first homosexual AA member likely entered the Fellowship in 1937

("year two" on the "AA calendar") in Akron, OH.

It's discussed in the

12and12 Tradition 3 essay but you'd be hard pressed to discover it.


specifics are obscured. The 12and12 Tradition 3 essay states:

"A newcomer appeared at one of these groups, knocked on the door and

asked to be let in. He talked frankly with that group's oldest member.

He soon proved that his was a desperate case, and that above all he

wanted to get well. "But," he asked, "will you let me join

your group?

Since I am the victim of another addiction even worse stigmatized than

alcoholism, you may not want me among you. Or will you?"
"One of these groups" referred to Akron #1 in Ohio and the


member" was Dr Bob. The "addiction even worse stigmatized than

alcoholism" had nothing at all to do with drugs. Bill W later speaking

at an open meeting of the 1968 General Service Conference described

the prospect's "addiction" as "sex deviate."

The member was likely

homosexual. The language used by Bill to describe him was the language

of the time in the latter 1960s.
Guidance on what to do on the matter came from Dr Bob asking, "What

would the Master do?" The prospect was admitted (DBGO 240-241, also

the pamphlet "The Co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous" pg 30).


member is then described in the 12and12 Tradition 3 essay as:
"Overjoyed, the newcomer plunged into Twelfth Step work. Tirelessly he

laid AA's message before scores of people. Since this was a very early

group, those scores have since multiplied themselves into thousands.

Never did he trouble anyone with his other difficulty. AA had taken

its first step in the formation of Tradition Three."
I do not know who this member was or whether he had his story in the

1st edition Big Book. Oddly though, this Akron, OH member's

circumstances are often erroneously intermingled with an incident that

occurred in New York 8 years later in 1945. The NY incident involved a

prominent, early homosexual member, Barry L, and an unknown homosexual

member who created quite a stir upon arrival.

Barry L (author of the book "Living Sober" discussed later

below) was

likely the first male homosexual member of the Fellowship in New York.

The book "Pass It On" describes his calling Bill W from the 41st


clubhouse in NYC to tell Bill of the arrival of "a black man who was

an ex-convict with bleach-blond hair, wearing women's clothing and

makeup." The man also admitted to being a "dope fiend."

When asked

what to do about it, Bill W posed the question, "did you say he was a

drunk?" When answered "yes" Bill replied "well I

think that's all we

can ask" (BW-FH 8, PIO 317-318).
"Pass It On" goes on to state that "although he soon


(repeat "soon disappeared" for emphasis) the prospect's


created a precedent for the 3rd Tradition." Anecdotal accounts

erroneously say that the black man, in women's clothing, went on to

become one of the best 12th Steppers in NY. Prior postings to AAHL

even went so far as giving him the name "Veronica" and claiming


drug was heroin. It's a myth - again as stated in "Pass It

On" "he

soon disappeared." Fragments of the 1945 story in New York, which

mentions "dope fiend" are intermingled with the 12and12

Tradition 3

essay, which occurred in Ohio, and mentions "an addiction" and

"plunged into 12th Step work." It has created one of the most

persistent myths in AA.
Marty M was the first lesbian member of AA. On April 11, 1939, Marty,

at age 35, attended her first meeting at Bill W's home at 182 Clinton

St. For the prior 15 months, she was a charity patient at Bellevue

Hospital in NYC and the Blythewood Sanitarium in Greenwich, CT (under

the care of Dr Harry Tiebout). Dr Tiebout gave her a manuscript of the

Big Book and arranged for Marty to go to the meeting. Upon her return

to Blythewood, she told fellow patient, Grenville (Grennie) C "we are

not alone." Marty later established an AA Group at the Sanitarium.

(BW-FH 8, 125-126, AACOA 3, 18-19, PIO 210-213, MMM 111-123)
Sally and David Brown's excellent biography "Mrs Marty

Mann" provides

substantial details on Marty and her relationship with Priscilla P

(who along with Marty and others started the AA Grapevine in June

1944). Their book also notes that Marty briefly returned to drinking

somewhere in between the latter 1950s to early 1960s. It was a well

kept secret in NY and in the NCA.
Nancy O, in her biographies of Big Book story authors, wrote that in

order to protect the work she was doing during a period of heavy

anti-gay bias, Marty never revealed her lesbianism except to Bill (her

sponsor) and other close friends. Her long-time lesbian partner,

Priscilla P, was once a glamorous art director at Vogue Magazine and

was the 5th woman Marty brought into AA.

Barry L's involvement in the book "Living Sober" (noted

earlier above)

is an interesting story. Published in 1975, the book had a bit of a

tortuous history. According to Bob P's unpublished manuscript of AA

history from 1955 to 1985, around 1968, the Board discussed the need

for a pamphlet for sober old-timers, and the need to point out


or "danger signals." Out of this grew a proposal for literature

to be

developed around the topic, "How We Stay Sober."

In 1969 it was assigned to a professional writer. After nearly 2 years

of work, the draft was rejected. The sense that it needed such drastic

revision led to it being started from scratch by Barry L, a seasoned,

skillful freelance writer and consultant for GSO.

Barry negotiated a flat fee for the project. After 4 1/2 years he came

up with a simple and practical manual on how to enjoy a happy,

productive life without drinking. "Living Sober" proved to be


popular and after it sold nearly a million copies, Barry felt he

should have been compensated more generously and receive some sort of

royalty. AAWS and the General Service Board declined. Barry threatened

legal action, but never followed through.

As an item of further interest, not long ago the mark-up manuscript of

the editorial changes for the 1st Ed Big Book was auctioned off at

over a million and a half dollars. The manuscript was given to Barry L

as a gift by Lois W.


Arthur S
-----Original Message-----

From: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

[mailto:AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of nancy miller

Sent: Friday, February 03, 2006 7:15 PM

To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Cc: nancy miller

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] First lesbian or gay AA member?

Who was the first lesbian or gay man in the program?

I heard this women set up an organization that studies

alcoholism. Who was she ???
Nancy M


(This is with respect to the discussion over whether

Florence R. of Westfield N.J. or Jane S. in Akron was

the first woman to get sober in AA.)
Yahoo! Groups Links
++++Message 3147. . . . . . . . . . . . Early gay member Barry L. ("Living

Sober" author)

From: Wendi Turner . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/7/2006 7:19:00 PM
I don't know he was the very "the first" gay member

but I do know this man claims to be the member who

was asked to champion "Gay Meetings" by Bill Wilson...

his name was Barry L. and also the author of

Living Sober.
You can hear his talk online at www.xa-speakers.org>
Moderator's note:
See Message 3146 from Arthur Sheehan for more details

about Barry L.'s life and contributions to AA:

++++Message 3148. . . . . . . . . . . . Sylvia K.

From: edgarc@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/9/2006 4:02:00 AM

Is it true that Sylvia Kaufmann (Keys to the Kingdom) was urged

to return to Chicago and start AA there with Earl Treat after her

visit to Akron and her professed desire to stay with the founders?

According to the story I was told, Sylvia was gorgeous, rich,

divorced, and adoring and the AA ladies of Akron felt it would be

far better for all if she did her good deeds elsewhere.

Moderator: see Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age p. 22,

where a different story is told, and for a photo of Earl Treat,

see the second photo on


++++Message 3149. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Bill W and Dr. Bob

From: Mel Barger . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/7/2006 4:19:00 PM

From: "Mel Barger"

(melb at accesstoledo.com)

Hi All,

I went to my first meeting early in October, 1948,

in California and was given a loan copy of the

Big Book right then. The woman who loaned it

to me urged me to read the personal stories first

and then go back to the first part. Bill D.'s story

(AA #3) wasn't in the first edition, and appeared in

the second edition only because Bill W. recorded

him out in Akron and pretty much put together his


I gathered that Bill D. wasn't all that excited about

the book idea in the beginning, but Bill W. realized

that Bill D.'s role was important and should be in

the book.

I think it made sense to have Dr. Bob's story lead

the personal story section. But I've always believed

that Bill's Story is the best and strongest of all and

deserves to lead off the entire book.

Mel Barger


From: James Flynn

(jdf10487 at yahoo.com)

The trend of worshiping the first part of the Big

Book (the first 164 pages) might have started

happening around the same time that Bill W. had

to remove stories from the back of the book

because the "recovered' alkie who was the subject

of the story relapsed.

Jim F.
++++Message 3150. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: 1948 and 1950 Statement of


From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/4/2006 10:07:00 AM
Hi Shakey - this is a long reply
The information you seek is qualified in the source book as "according

to Clarence" or "Clarence believed." Clarence did much for

which he

should be complimented, but he also had another side that is not very

complementary. I'd suggest that Clarence S was to Bill W what Al Gore

is to George Bush today. No matter what the subject, it will be

interpreted in a sinister manner. This is not to say that anyone is

lying, rather it is what bias and antagonism produce.

The unpublished manuscript of Bob P contains the excerpts below which

are revealing. They are, for the most part independently, confirmed by

other authors in "Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers" and "Pass

It On."
Chapter 1 - When AA "Came of AGE"

All was not harmony within the Fellowship, however, which accounted

for a smaller-than-expected attendance at the St. Louis Convention. AA

had grown up in two places simultaneously - Akron and New York, each

with its own co-founder. So it is not surprising that there was a

feeling of separateness - some would say a schism - between the

Akron/Cleveland axis and the New York axis. The Akronites had clung

longer to the Oxford Groups and were more conservative generally.

Bill, the visionary, on the other hand pushed ahead with the writing

and publishing of the Big Book, the establishing of a


office and, in the late 1940s, a plan for a General Service


Dissent against this idea was led by Clarence S of Cleveland. With the

help of Henrietta Seiberling (who now lived in New York), an "Orthodox

Group" was formed to mobilize opposition to the Conference plan among

AA groups nationwide. They took pride in the fact they would have

nothing to do with Bill W, the "Headquarters" office or any form


organization of AA. Their most vigorous efforts took place after the

first trial conference was held in 1951. The groups and members with

the "Orthodox Group" view chose, not surprisingly, to boycott

the St.

Louis gathering where the Conference idea was to be ratified.

Chapter 2 - The General service Board
... in 1946, Bill submitted to the trustees a "Code of Traditions


General Headquarters," and followed it up with a barrage of memoranda

supporting its various points. These included ideas for fiscal

policies, and specifically the creation of a sound reserve fund; the

place of The AA Grapevine in the structure; and staff representation

at the Board and committee meetings, with a voice in policy decisions.

A 1947 memo added the most controversial proposal of all, that of

having a General Service Conference to provide a linkage between the

groups and the trustees as well as the headquarters office; and to

bring the trustees into regular contact and direct relationship with

the society.

The Board's reaction was at first defensive and then outright negative

to Bill's suggestions. Most of the trustees wanted to keep the status

quo. They were confident of their ability to handle whatever situation

might arise and saw no need to change. Bill, spurred into greater

urgency by Dr Bob's illness and feeling personal frustration, pressed

harder, resulting in hot and bitter debates. As Nell recounts, "Bill

felt they wanted him to be only a spiritual symbol, confined to a kind

of ivory tower where he couldn't stir things up." The trustees

resented Bill's over-aggressiveness.
Bill himself confesses, "Typically alcoholic, I turned passive

resistance into solid opposition. A serious rift developed between me

and the alcoholic members of the Board, and the situation became worse

and worse. They resented my sledgehammer tactics. As the tempest

increased, so did my blistering memorandums. One of them was an

amazing composition which finished with this astonishing sentence:

"When I was in law school, the largest book I studied was one on

trusts. I must say, gentlemen, that it was mostly a long and

melancholy account of the malfeasances and misfeasances of boards of

trustees.' I had written this to the best friends I had in the world,

people who had devoted themselves to AA and to me without stint.

Obviously I was on a dry bender of the worst possible sort.

This sizzling memorandum nearly blew the Foundation apart." The

nonalcoholic trustees were "dumbfounded," and the old-timer


trustees hardened their opposition to the Conference plan. Four of the

trustees even submitted letters of resignation; they were: LeRoy

Chipman, Leonard Harrison, Bernard Smith and Horace C. Bill wrote each

of them a conciliatory letter of apology, and the resignations were

either withdrawn or simply not accepted at the next Board meeting.

In fact, the only support on the Board for the Conference was from

Bernard Smith. However, as the dispute wore on into 1950, Chairman

Leonard Harrison - even though he did not see the necessity for a

Conference - appointed a trustees' committee to study the matter with

Bernard Smith as Chairman! Bill characterized this as "a most

magnanimous and generous act on Leonard's part. Bern Smith had


remarkable faculty for persuasion and negotiation." It took him only

two meetings to convince the committee to "give the Conference a


The full Board voted to go along. (See Chapter 11 for a fuller history

of the Conference.)

Chapter 3 - Groups in the US: How They Began and How They Grew

East Central Region - Akron, Cleveland and Ohio

The members of the new Cleveland group were uncertain what to call

themselves and discussed several suggested names. "None of them seemed

fitting," remembered Abby C, "so we began to refer to ourselves


Alcoholics Anonymous" after the title of the Big Book.
(On this tenuous fact Clarence S based a lifelong claim that he was,

in reality, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. He became perhaps the

most controversial character in AA. He turned against Bill and aroused

the Cleveland contingent to accuse Bill and Dr Bob of "getting


off the Big Book and the generosity of Mr. Rockefeller - which they

had to disprove with a certified audit of their financial affairs.

Clarence tried to organize a nationwide revolt against the Conference

idea and threatened, unsuccessfully, to secede. He criticized Bill and

the "New York office" vitriolically at every opportunity. Bill

steadfastly refused to hold a grudge against him and in their

correspondence "used soft words to turn away wrath."

Much later, when they met at the International Convention in Toronto,

they actually spent several hours together, reminiscing. However,

Clarence, a popular speaker on the Steps and the recovery program,

continued to raise hackles wherever he appeared by calling press

conferences in which he was photographed full face with his full name,

holding the Big Book which he claimed he wrote, and identifying

himself as the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. He asserted he was not

bound by AA's Traditions because they were written later - and written

by Bill. Clarence S moved to Florida in retirement, where he remained

extremely active until his death in 1984.

Chapter 9 - General Service Office - The AA Archives
Bill had some underlying reasons for his intense interest in archival

matters, beyond that expressed in AA Comes of Age namely, so that "the

basic facts of AA's growth and development never can become

distorted." By 1955, the facts were already being distorted by

Clarence S and other oldtimers who were attempting to undermine Bill's

place in AA's history. So Bill wanted the records available. Also Bill

was visionary; he saw the sweep and scope of the Fellowship he had

helped found and foresaw its significance as a social movement to be

studied by future historians.
Chapter 10 - The AA Grapevine
He [Bill W] obviously loved the Grapevine. He gave it his full

personal support from its very beginning, and whenever he spoke of it

or wrote about it, it was with great enthusiasm and affection. And he

devoted his time and effort unstintingly to helping it. For example,

in 1946, he wrote a six-page single-space typewritten document in the

form of a letter to attorney Royal Shepard about the corporate

structure of the Grapevine and the concepts behind it. ... There were

several reasons for this special interest. Bill perceived early that

this was a means for him to communicate directly with the Fellowship

without going through the Board of Trustees - especially when he was

at odds with them on a given issue. And he used the Grapevine for this

purpose frequently and effectively. The Traditions were born and grew

to their present form in a series of articles in the latter 1940s,

beginning with a 1946 piece entitled "Twelve Points to Assure Our

In 1950, a time when a majority of the Trustees seemed opposed to the

idea, Bill and Dr Bob wrote in the Grapevine suggesting that the AA

membership as a whole should take over, through a General Service

Conference ...

Chapter 11 - The General Service Conferences
Never did the co-founder and de facto leader of a social movement ever

try so early and so fiercely to relinquish his power and authority as

did Bill W. Incredibly, only twelve years after the birth of

Alcoholics Anonymous, nine years after the formation of the Alcoholic

Foundation and eight years after the Big Book was published, Bill

wrote the first of several controversial and even explosive memos

proposing a General Service Conference. The story of his battle with

the trustees over the issue for the next three years is related in

Chapter 2 on the General Service Board. But finally in 1950, the

trustees voted reluctantly to "give the Conference a try."

Chapter 12 - The Big Book and Other AA Literature
Bill said that more than 100 titles were considered for the book. The

title that appeared on the Multilithed copies was "Alcoholics

Anonymous." The first documented use of the name is in a letter from

Bill to Willard Richardson dated July 15, 1938, in which he uses it to

refer to the movement. Among the other possible titles considered for

the book were: "One Hundred Men," "The Empty Glass,"

"The Dry Way,"

"The Dry Life," and "The Way Out."

The choices quickly boiled down to "The Way Out," favored by

most in

Akron, and "Alcoholics Anonymous," favored by most in New York.


asked Fitz M, who lived near Washington, DC, to check both titles

through the library of congress. Fitz wired back to the effect that

the Library of Congress had 25 books entitled "The Way Out," 12

entitled "The Way," and none called "Alcoholics

Anonymous." That

settled the matter. The title of the book quickly became the name of

the Fellowship as well. Clarence S later called himself the founder of

Alcoholics Anonymous, basing his claim on his being the first to use

the name for a group. Which he probably was. But the fact is, the book

Alcoholics Anonymous was already off the press, and the name had been

used a year earlier to refer to the Fellowship as a whole.

-----Original Message-----

From: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

[mailto:AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of


Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2006 8:43 PM

To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Cc: hvyver@kvalley.com

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] 1948 and 1950 Statement of Principles
My sponsor told me about AA having a "statement of principles" in

1950. He tells me they originally came out in 1948 but that no proof

is obtainable from New York. Does anyone know about this?
The statement of principles of 1948 is in Appendix G in Mitch K's book

"How it Worked."

Does anyone know why these were replaced by the 1950 statement of

principles. Do they give General Service more power?

Why does Royal S., the attorney who incorporated the Grapevine, on pg

199 say the trustees suppressed the statement of 1948?

t/y Shakey Mike G.
Shakey1aa@aol.com (Shakey1aa at aol.com)
++++Message 3151. . . . . . . . . . . . God as we understand Him

From: Archie Bunkers . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/8/2006 12:38:00 AM

This is an excerpt from http://hindsfoot.org/AkrSpir.pdf
"William James, stripped of verbiage, says that

we should believe in God AS WE UNDERSTAND HIM."

Is William James the source of the Big Book

phrase "God as we understand him"??

Archie B.
From the moderator (Glenn C., South Bend, Indiana)
The passage which Archie quotes is from one

of the four pamphlets we possess which

were written by the early AA people in Akron.

They are "A Manual for Alcoholics Anonymous,"

"Second Reader for Alcoholics Anonymous,"

"A Guide to the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics

Anonymous," and this one, which is entitled

"Spiritual Milestones in Alcoholics Anonymous.

In the passage in question, which says "William

James, stripped of verbiage, says that we should

believe in God AS WE UNDERSTAND HIM,"

it seems to me that the early AA's in Akron

believed, not that William James wrote that line,

but instead were agreeing that adding "as we

understand Him" to the references to God in the

twelve steps was in agreement with James' belief

that people of different personality types needed

different types of spirituality and different kinds

of conceptions of God.
"God as we understand Him" was not a quote

from James however, as they give it in this

pamphlet. The pamphlet says that "God as we

understand Him" was a shorter way of saying what

James was saying in the long quotation which they

give from him, where James says "Religion shall

mean for us the feelings, acts and experiences of

individual men in their solitude, so far as they

apprehend themselves to stand in relation to

whatever they may consider the divine."

The early Akron AA people were clearly saying

in that pamphlet that Christians who followed the

teaching of the epistle of James, skeptics and

freethinkers like Immanuel Kant, Catholics who

followed the teachings of St. Augustine the great

Doctor of the Church, Jews, Muslims, and

Buddhists, could all join together in following the

twelve steps and could understand why following

these spiritual guides to action could lead us to

the higher spiritual life.

Here is that particular section of the pamphlet,

which is Part IV, giving the entire text of that

section, so the group can read in context what

the early Akron AA people believed:

"Spiritual Milestones in Alcoholics Anonymous"

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