Aa history Lovers 2006 moderators Nancy Olson and Glenn F. Chesnut page

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> I regret that the unfortunate prejudice against

> literature that isn't conference-approved has

> eliminated this any several other good books from

> most meetings. I recommend it whenever I can and

> sometimes mention it in talks.


> Mel Barger


> ___________________________


> Note from the moderator:


> See Mel's little article on Emmet Fox at

> http://hindsfoot.org/Fox1.html


++++Message 3349. . . . . . . . . . . . Emmet Fox, black and red and green

books, etc.

From: Billy-Bob . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/17/2006 11:50:00 PM
From Billy-Bob, Jon Markle, Robert Stonebraker,

Lynn Sawyer, and Glenn C.

From: Billy-Bob

(backtobasicsbillybob at yahoo.com)

When I first came to AA in 1985 I was told by my

temporary sponsor to get a copy of the Little Red

Book, Stools And Bottles, The 24 Hour A Day Book,

The Big Book and the 12 and12.

I read Emmet Fox's version of the Sermon On The

Mount, but I like the version that Jesus wrote

better. (lol)


Jon Markle

(serenitylodge at bellsouth.net) wrote:

When/where I got sober (as they say), all

of these were still being suggested as essential

reading (as well as the standard AA literature) Big

Book and the 12x12, etc, the little Black Book,

Red Book and Green Book, and Living Sober. By

sponsors and my home group.

One of the things I find appalling in too many meetings

today is the lack of suggestions that newcomers read

the literature. We always gave out a copy of "Living

Sober" to all newcomers, whether or not they came

back. And sponsors always made sure their sponsees

had the Big Book and a copy of the 12x12, at the

very least.
Jon Markle


From: Lynn Sawyer

(sawyer7952 at yahoo.com)

Robert Stonebraker

(rstonebraker212 at insightbb.com) wrote:

Dr. Earl Marsh, in his Big Book story "Physician

Heal Thyself," mentions Emmet Fox's then, and

still, popular book "SERMON ON THE MOUNT."

See page 348 of the third edition of the Big Book.

Dear Bob,

Thanks for the tip! I FOUND IT!! My 3rd Edition

is the one I always bring to BB studies--some

of the pages are coming out, and it's all

highlighted up, but I love it just the same.

Also have a 4th Edition, hard cover, that,

admittedly, hasn't seen much (read:enough)

wear, yet.

Arthur and others,
Thanks so much for all the detail about Emmet

Fox and his writings and teachings. I've not

heard of the Green Book, but the others, I have.

I think I'm gonna look for the Little Red Book

and Emmet Fox's book, at my local used book

store, soon.

I used to read from the Upper Room. Think I

got it from my Dad, who was a Methodist.

I think it still exists today.
Happy sobriety,

Lynn from Sacramento, CA

From the moderator:
"Twenty-Four Hours a Day" was written by AA member

Richmond Walker, who got sober in Boston in 1943,

and later moved to Daytona Beach, Florida. His

book was sponsored by the Daytona Beach AA group.

See http://hindsfoot.org/RWfla1.html and

http://hindsfoot.org/rwpix1.html. It and the Big

Book were the two most important books in early

AA for many years. It is still read from in numerous

AA meetings.
"The Little Red Book" and "Stools and Bottles"

(which had a green cover) were written by AA member

Ed Webster and sponsored by the Nicollet Group in

Minneapolis, Minnesota.

See http://hindsfoot.org/ed01.html and


When Ed Webster wrote "The Little Red Book," he

continually consulted with Dr. Bob, who put many

notes on the manuscript suggesting additions and

changes. This is our best guide as to the way

Dr. Bob understood the twelve steps. Dr. Bob sent

copies of this all over the world, from Canada to

Florida, and also made sure that the New York

AA office had copies available for sale until

the time he died in 1950.
The understood principle in early AA was that

any work which had been published under the

sponsorship of one AA group, could be read from

and sold to their members by any other AA group

which wished to do so, without need of any further


Issues like this in AA have always been decided

by precedent (just as in English Common Law and

in modern American law) and not by a small group of

people deciding to pass a group of rules. So if

you look at AA in the 1930's, 40's, 50's, and

60's, and put together a list of books that were

read by AA groups, then on the grounds of precedent

alone, these books are can be read by modern AA

groups and sold by modern intergroups without

even any need of discussion. They are automatically

considered perfectly O.K.
The AA that saves us is the AA of the 1930's,

40's, 50's, and 60's, not some brainstorm on the

part of a small group of modern delegates who come

up with some theory and decide to pass rules. We

are saved by doing what the good old timers did,

not by following a set of mechanical and legalistic

We don't look at lists of rulings passed by

conferences and assemblies to find out what good

AA is, we read AA history to discover what really

good AA is.

"My story is my message" means that the story of

early AA is its crucial message, people in the early

days witnessing to what gave them sobriety and

real serenity of life. When we listen to them,

and try to do what they said they did (including

read the books which they said they read), we will

find that kind of sobriety and serenity ourselves.
Glenn C., South Bend, Indiana


(glennccc at sbcglobal.net)
++++Message 3350. . . . . . . . . . . . 93% recovery rate in Cleveland

From: Bent Christensen . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/16/2006 10:00:00 AM

Hi there
Does anyone know which records Clarence is referring to when he make

the statement about the recovery rate in Dr. Bob and the Good

Oldtimers, at page 261?


++++Message 3351. . . . . . . . . . . . One-Day History ‘ Archives Gathering

June 24 2006 Lebanon PA

From: jlobdell54 . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/16/2006 2:41:00 PM
The Gathering will be held at St Cecilia's Social Hall 750 State Drive

Lebanon PA registration at 8-9 am invited speakers oldtimers Clyde B

(6/20/1946) and Chet H (4/4/1949), possibly one or two others over 50

years, plus Glenn C (Moderator of AAHL and author of several books on

AA History), Mitch K (author of HOW IT WORKED and organizer of the

Clarence S Archive at Brown), with a panel on the GSO Proposed 1955-

2000 History, and a panel on Writing Local History: the Founders of AA

in Eastern PA. Exhibits from several archives. Those interested may

contactjaredlobdell@comcast.net for directions.
++++Message 3352. . . . . . . . . . . . Non-Conference approved literature

From: Robert Stonebraker . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/18/2006 8:42:00 PM

Our Big Book Step Study Group in Richmond, IN, spends the first two Tuesdays

studying AA history - we show a short movie, "DAWN OF HOPE" and

sometimes A

HOUSE FULL OF MIRACLES" from Dr. Bob's Home. We make great effort to

make these 90 minute sessions interesting. I have learned lot's of

interesting little stories about Ebby Thacher, Rowland Hazard, Carl Jung,

Rev Shoemaker, Clarence Snyder and all the rest of those early historical

participants from non-conference approved materials. Here are listed a few

of our current book collection:
* EBBY, the man who sponsored Bill W., by Mel B.

* CHILDREN OF THE HEALER, by Bob Smith and Sue Windows

* DIARY OF TWO MOTORCYCLE HOBOS, by Lois Wilson, edited by Ellie Van V.


* HOW IT WORKED, the story of Clarence Snyder, By Mitchell K.

* SISTER IGNATIA, Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous, by Mary C. Darrah

* NOT GOD, a history of Alcoholics Anonymous, by Ernest Kurtz

* BILLW, by Robert Thomsen

Here are a few other non-AA history books we use for reference because they

were often read by early AA members:


* AS A MAN THINKETH, by James Allen

But naturally our main source of historical information come from the

Conference approved books from GSO .

Bob S.
-----Original Message-----

From: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

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

Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 4:28 AM

To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Re: Emmet Fox

I surely agree. I was fortunate to be Maine's Archivist for eight

years and by what seemed necessity, I began to do the unthinkable -

read non-conference approved literature. It enhanced my sobriety and

allowed me to do my service job in a much more informative and

interesting way. I picked up the habit and have been at it ever

since. I just finished a book called Drinking: A Love Story by

Caroline Knapp - one of the best personal stories I have read in a

long time. As far as AA history goes; Not God, Sister Ignatia:The

Angel Of AA, Grateful to Have Been There and so many others have

made my journey much more enlightened and joyful. Many of the books

I have read were recommended by Frank M. the late alcoholic

archivist of GSO. He was a truly sweet gentleman and I miss him to

this day.

--- In AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com, "Mel Barger"



> Hi Matt,

> I asked Bill Wilson about Emmet Fox and he said

> they even attended his lectures in New York in the

> 1930s. He also said they read The Sermon on the

> Mount.


> I found my own copy of it in Pontiac, Michigan, in

> February, 1951, and have read it ever since.


> Mike E., the second member of AA in Detroit, even

> told of reading it while he was still getting well

> from his last drunk; he had to rest it on pillow

> to hold it steady!


> I regret that the unfortunate prejudice against

> literature that isn't conference-approved has

> eliminated this any several other good books from

> most meetings. I recommend it whenever I can and

> sometimes mention it in talks.


> Mel Barger


> ___________________________


> Note from the moderator:


> See Mel's little article on Emmet Fox at

> http://hindsfoot.org/Fox1.html

Yahoo! Groups Links

++++Message 3353. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: quote from Bill re: the stories

From: Mitchell K. . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/19/2006 7:53:00 AM

On January 23, 1955 Bill wrote Clarence about the

stories being changed in the 2nd edition. Here are

some excerpts:
"Now, another matter. We are making a re-do of the

story section of the A.A. book. As you know, the old

stories were very low bottom. We then lacked the

experience we now have, and we lacked the great

variety of cases which A.A. today affords. So among

practically all consulted, it seems desirable to

broaden and deepen the story section of the book to

bring it in line with present-day membership and

experience. No change in the text, of course.
"The plan for the new story section runs like this:

instead of twenty-eight stories, there will be

thirty-seven. Headed by Doc Smith, they will be

divided into three groups of twelve stories each - the

pioneers, the high bottom and the low bottom.
"The larger part of the old stories will be dropped

from the book, in fact, all the New York ones."

(a couple of paragraphs down)
"Personally, I hated to take out so many of the old

stories. But my reasons were only sentimental, they

didn't make sense. The object of the story section is

to appeal to as many kinds of drunks as possible and

I'm sure that we shall now have a much bigger spread.

I hope and believe you will like the result when you

see it."
I think that might clear up why stories were dropped

and/or added. Another line I found interesting was:

"As you know, maybe one-half of today's incoming

membership is composed of milder potential

alcoholics..." Even in 1955 Bill recognized that many

wandering through the doors of AA weren't really

alcoholics YET. It is the same today and those who

come to explore or test the waters maybe shouldn't be

counted in all these skewed statistics. Too bad Bill

didn't address those few who did choose to resume

their drinking careers but I guess he felt that

Clarence already knew who they were.

--- ArtSheehan wrote:
> Ooops! I attached the wrong reply to Billy Bob's

> posting. Here's the

> correction. I exchanged the info below with Billy

> Bob in a separate

> email and would like to offer it for consideration:


> Hi Billy Bob


> I have Hartigan's book. The portion you emphasize

> illustrates the

> matter of context I tried to address. Hartigan

> actually supports the

> claim that 50% initially made it yet seems to try to

> portray a doom

> and gloom scenario for early 1939. Hartigan should

> also have cited

> Bill W's comments on the matter in 1955 in the 2nd

> edition Big Book.


> 29 stories were included in the 1st printing of the

> 1st edition Big

> Book. 22 of them were dropped in the 2nd edition.

> There is a myth in

> AA that the 22 stories were removed because the

> members had returned

> to drinking. It's not true. In the introduction to

> the personal

> stories in the 2nd edition Big Book Bill W wrote:


> "When first published in 1939, this book carried 29

> stories about

> alcoholics. To secure maximum identification with

> the greatest number

> of readers, the new 2nd Edition (1955) carries a

> considerably enlarged

> story section, as above described. Concerning the

> original 29 case

> histories, it is a deep satisfaction to record, as

> of 1955, that 22

> have apparently made full recovery from their

> alcoholism. Of these, 15

> have remained completely sober for an average of 17

> years each,

> according to our best knowledge and belief."


> In the introduction to the "Pioneers of AA Section"

> in the 2nd edition

> Bill W went on to write:


> "Dr Bob and the 12 men and women who here tell their

> stories were

> among the early members of AA's first groups. Though

> 3 have passed

> away of natural causes, all have maintained complete

> sobriety for

> periods ranging from 15 to 19 years as of this date

> 1955. Today,

> hundreds of additional AA members can be found who

> have had no relapse

> for at least 15 years. All of these then are the

> pioneers of AA. They

> bear witness that release from alcoholism can really

> be permanent."


> From the figures in Bill W's introduction,

> approximately 75% of the

> early members who had their stories in the 1st

> edition Big Book were

> sober as of AA's 20th anniversary (1955). Even if

> half didn't make it,

> as asserted by Hartigan, the percentage that did is

> still consistent

> with early claims of a 50% success rate.


> The 1st edition story authors is the only fully

> qualified population

> that demonstrates the claims that 50% made it and

> another 25% sobered

> up again after returning to drinking.


> Cheers

> Arthur


> -----Original Message-----

> From: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

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

> Of

> backtobasicsbillybob

> Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2006 12:51 PM

> To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

> Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] The Exact Quote from

> Francis Hartigan's

> Book In Regard To Early AA's Success


> "We have to wonder why both the Wilson's and the

> Smiths did not simply


> give up. Today the nations best treatment centers

> report success rates


> ranging from 25 percent to 50 percent. During Bill's

> stay in Akron, he


> and Bob calculated their success rate to be about 5

> percent, and among


> the few who seemed to catch on, not all of them were

> able to maintain

> consistent sobriety. The first edition of AA's Big

> Book, published in

> 1939, contains the personal recovery stories of many

> of AA's earliest

> members. Some years later, Bill made notations in

> the first copy of

> the book to come off the press, indicating which of

> the individuals

> portrayed therein had stayed sober. A good 50

> percent had not."


> Francis Hartigan, Bill W., Pages 91-92









> Yahoo! Groups Links










++++Message 3354. . . . . . . . . . . . Books Early AA''s Read

From: rrecovery2002 . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/18/2006 6:25:00 PM

You all might be surprised how easy it is to borrow copies of the

Oxford Group books and other books early AAs read. My library

routinely interloans copies of all sorts of material for me---from

university libraries etc. Just ask your reference desk. Some libraries

may charge you the cost of postage.
Just on a lark one day, I asked if they could get me a copy of

V.C.Kitchen's I Was a Pagan and within a week I was reading a first

edition copy. Off the top of my head, I have read early editions of

Charles Clapp's books, Peabody's Common Sense of Drinking, Cecil Rose's

When a Man Listens and others
++++Message 3355. . . . . . . . . . . . Conference approved literature...

From: Steve Miller . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/16/2006 12:47:00 PM

Re: Conference approved literature...
Is there any reference within conference approved

literature or AA World Services literature about

the common group conscience guideline of restricting

literature in meetings to only "conference approved

This request is of course to assist in settling

the often contentious question between newcomers

who have not previously come up against the issue

and the rest of us.

The reflections of this group will be appreciated.

Steve M.

Central Oregon
From the moderator (Glenn C., South Bend, Indiana)
A statement taken from service material released

by the GSO in New York. From 1951 on, the Trustees

Literature Committee, the Conference Literature

Committee, and the participants in the General

Service Conferences have overseen the content of

AA literature which was published by the AA

General Service Office.
Please note the second paragraph in this

statement: telling people that they CANNOT read

"non-conference-approved" literature violates

basic AA policies.


"The term 'Conference-approved' describes written

or audiovisual material approved by the Conference

for publication by GSO. This process assures that

everything in such literature is in accord with AA

principles. Conference-approved material always deals

with the recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous

or with information about the AA Fellowship."

"The term has no relation to material not published

by GSO. It does not imply Conference disapproval

of other material about AA. A great deal of

literature helpful to alcoholics is published by

others, and AA does not try to tell any individual

member what he or she may or may not read."

"Conference approval assures us that a piece of

literature represents solid AA experience. Any

Conference-approved booklet or pamphlet goes

through a lengthy and painstaking process, during

which a variety of AAs from all over the United

States and Canada read and express opinions at

every stage of production."




On November 11, 1944, Bobby Burger, the secretary

at the Alcoholic Foundation in New York (what is

today called the General Service Office) wrote

a letter to Barry Collins, who had helped Ed

Webster in assembling and publishing the Little

Red Book:


"Dear Barry,

. . . The Washington D.C. pamphlet [a.k.a.

the Detroit Pamphlet or Table Mate] and the new

Cleveland "Sponsorship" pamphlet and a host of

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