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

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lot of good history with it. They do three segments during the hour, and

this one is titled "Alcoholics Anonymous Letter." I hope our

History Lovers

will watch it and send me their comments.

Mel Barger melb@accesstoledo.com

~~~~~~~~ Mel Barger melb@accesst ~~~~~~~~ Mel Barger melb@accesstoledo.com

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

From: "Mitchell K."


Sent: Wednesday, July 26, 2006 12:18 AM

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Herbert Wallace

>I recently heard that there was a PBS television show called History

> Detectives airing a show about a letter from Bill Wilson to a Herbert

> Wallace of Maryland thanking him for his staunch support of AA. It was

> written in 1942 and is on Alcoholic Foundation letterhead. I haven't

> seen the show but they are repeated now and again.


> Anyone have any information on Mr Wallace?










> Yahoo! Groups Links










> __________________________________________________________

> Message transport security by GatewayDefender.com

> 12:09:27 AM ET - 7/27/2006

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3616. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: How do we meditate according to

the 11th Step?

From: Tom White . . . . . . . . . . . . 7/29/2006 8:32:00 PM
A sort of mystery hangs over the word meditation and there must be

10,000 definitions floating around. About all I have learned in my 40-

odd years in the program is "to turn my thoughts to God, as I

understand him" and not to worry. There is a vast literature on this

in old Roman Catholicism and even some modern writings. A tremendous

amount in Eastern Orthodox writings (The Philokalia -- sp?). I guess not

so much on the Prot. side of the ledger. The Hindus "wrote the


on it, and modern Hindus (Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna, etc., are

often very helpful to a Westerner. Something I'd like to recommend to

anyone is Brother Lawrence's Practice of the Presence of God. But the

early AAs, under O.G. influence, did (usually) a brief Bible reading

and then went into "Quiet Time," time variable, but 10 or 20


is what seems to have been common, and had notebook and pen or pencil

in hand to write down thoughts or "guidance." Over time a sort of

learning occurs on the very question you ask, how to do meditation.

To each his own. Just do it. Don't worry. If you are attempting it at

any level you are blocks ahead of not doing it at all. Very best, Tom W.
++++Message 3617. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: The Traditions/cross talk

From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 7/30/2006 12:10:00 PM

Hi John and John - this is a very long reply to both your messages
To John L
My personal indoctrination and introduction to the term


(in both California and Texas) had to do with the rude and

inconsiderate practice of members at a meeting either talking in the

background at the same time another member was called on to speak, or

members getting into a debate back and forth at a meeting and not

letting other members participate in the discussions.
How "most of the Traditions developed as the result of cross-talk"


how "cross-talk has a rich history in the Fellowship" and how


based practitioners" enter the picture to have any relevance at all

with the Traditions escapes me. I don't know where you are finding

information or mention, or even implication, of the notion of

something called "cross-talk" in the 12and12 or any other AA (or


publication on having any linkage at all with the Traditions. If I'm

mistaken in my assessment of this, I'd very much appreciate your

citing some written source(s) so that I can better educate myself as

to where this rich history is documented. Otherwise, I would appeal

for restraint in presenting something as historical fact when it is

premised on editorial imagination and lacks substantiation.
To John S
How the story of Bill's job offer to join Towns Hospital wound up in

the 12and12 Tradition 2 essay (pages 136-138)is explained in a fuller

context in "AA Comes of Age" (pages 100-102). Bill sums up his


the group conscience to not take the job Charles Towns offered him as
"Three blows, well and truly struck, had fallen on the anvil of group

experience. They rang in my consciousness. The Common welfare must

come first. AA cannot have a class of professional therapists and God,

speaking in the group conscience, is to be our final authority.

Clearly implied in these three embryo principles of tradition was a

fourth: Our leaders are but trusted servants they do not govern."

Bill W declining that lucrative job offer, based on group conscience,

was no trivial matter - it was during the worst of the great economic

depression and jobs of any sort were hard to come by and both Bill W

and Dr Bob were hard pressed financially. After having lived a

hand-to-mouth existence for many years, Bill wanted the job very much.

I don't believe it could be factually determined as to who the member

was who "timidly" spoke to Bill. The impetus for Traditions 8 and


came from other experiences.

The Traditions have a very rich history and required a great deal of

preparation, explanation and conditioning of the membership from

1946-1950. The AA Grapevine was the primary vehicle for accomplishing

those ends.

The information that follows is a (rather long) timeline of events,

experiences and actions that influenced the evolution of the

Traditions to become AA's Legacy of Unity. There have been a number of

posting on the Traditions in AAHistoryLovers in the past. Much of what

follows can be found by doing a search on the AAHL web site. I'd also

encourage reading the books referenced, they are a gold mine of AA

A History of the Traditions
Each of AA's three Legacies of Recovery, Unity and Service are

grounded upon a foundation of spiritual principles. Each Step,

Tradition and Concept is, of itself, a "principle" (i.e. a rule of

personal conduct).

Bill W published essays (in the Grapevine, 12and12, "AA Comes of


and "Twelve Concepts for World Service") defining the context,


and basis of each of the 36 principles. Bill's original Grapevine

essays on the Traditions can be found in the book "The Language of the

Heart." These Grapevine Essays later became the basis for publication

of the traditions portion of the 12and12 and the "Unity" portion

of the

book "AA Comes of Age."

This history below provides a timeline of the origin and development

of the Twelve Traditions.

Source References:
12and12 - Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

AACOA - AA Comes of Age

BW-RT - Bill W by Robert Thomsen

DBGO - Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers

EBBY - EBBY the Man Who Sponsored Bill W

GSO - GSO Archives documents

LOH - The Language of the Heart

LR - Lois Remembers

MMM - Mrs Marty Mann

NG - Not God

NW - New Wine

PIO - Pass It On

SD - Slaying the Dragon

SM - AA Service Manual and Twelve Concepts for World Service

Notations show source references and page numbers of interest.
In "AA Comes of Age" the earliest personal experience that


Bill W, and influenced the Traditions, occurred when Bill was 2 years


In December 1936, Charles B Towns offered Bill W a lucrative job at

his hospital as a lay alcoholism therapist. After years of a hand to

mouth existence Bill wanted the job very much. The question was

presented to the NY group meeting in Bill's home. They rejected it and

Bill complied with their decision. This was the emergence of the

Tradition 2 spiritual principle of "God speaking in the group

conscience is to be our final authority." (AACOA 100-102, LR 197,

BW-RT 232-234, NG 63-64, PIO 175-177)

The next early experience that influenced the Traditions is recorded

in the 12and12 essay on Tradition 3. It also is the source of one of the

most enduring myths in AA. I don't know what else to call the myths

other than the Akron drug addict who didn't exist and the NY drug

addict who disappeared
In the "12and12" Tradition 3 essay (pgs 141-142) it states that

on the

AA calendar it was "year two" of the Fellowship - that would be


A prospective member asked to be admitted who frankly described

himself to the "oldest" member as "the victim of another


even worse stigmatized than alcoholism." In an April 1968 open meeting

at the General Service Conference, Bill W revealed that the

prospective member's so-called "addiction" was "sex

deviate" and that

guidance came from Dr Bob (the oldest member in Akron, OH) asking,

"What would the Master do?" Many people think Bill W said that but



The member with the so-called "addiction" (which had absolutely

nothing to do with drugs) was admitted and plunged into 12th Step

work. This incident is also discussed in "Dr Bob and the Good

Old-timers" (pgs 240-241) and the pamphlet "The Co-founders of

Alcoholics Anonymous" (pg 30).
Parts of the story (particularly the part about the "addiction"


plunging into "12th Step work") are often erroneously intermingled

with another incident that occurred 8 years later in 1945 at the 41st

St clubhouse in NYC. This incident is described in the book "Pass It

On" (pgs 317-318). Bill W was called from the clubhouse in NYC by

Barry L (he was the member who later wrote the book "Living


Bill persuaded the group to take in 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


Bill posed the question, "did you say he was a drunk?" When


"yes" Bill replied "well I think that's all we can ask."
Anecdotal accounts often erroneously, and sometimes very, very

solemnly, say that this individual went on to "become one of the best

12th Steppers in NY." The problem is that it's just not true - it's a

myth. In actual fact, the book Pass It On (pg 318) states that

"although he soon disappeared" (repeat "soon

disappeared") "his

presence created a precedent for the 3rd Tradition."
Late spring, leaders of the Oxford Group at the Calvary Mission

ordered alcoholics staying there not to attend meetings at Clinton St.

Bill W and Lois were criticized by OG members for having "drunks


meetings at their home. The Wilson's were described as "not


(an OG term for those believed to be lagging in their devotion to OG

principles). (EBBY 75, LR 103, BW-RT 231, NG 45, NW 89-91) This was

the beginning of AA separating itself from outside affiliation and set

the groundwork for Tradition 6. The Akron group would remain

affiliated with the OG for 2 more years.
In October, Bill W and Dr Bob met in Akron and compared notes. 40

cases were sober (more than 20 for over a year). All once diagnosed as

hopeless. In a meeting at T Henry Williams' home, Bill's ideas, for a

book, hospitals and how to expand the movement with paid missionaries,

narrowly passed by 2 votes among 18 members. The NY group was more

enthusiastic. (AACOA vii, 76-77, 144-146, BW-RT 239-243, DBGO 123-124,

NG 56-57, PIO 180, LOH 142) The ideas for a chain of hospitals and

paid missionaries would later fade away as the experiences that

influenced the Traditions emerged.
During the rest of November, Bill W and Hank P tried to raise money

for the book without success. (LR 197, PIO 181)

In February, Willard Richardson asked Frank Amos to visit Akron, OH

and make a report on the fledgling Fellowship. Amos made a very

favorable report to Richardson who presented it to John D Rockefeller

Jr. urging a donation of $5,000 ($65,000 today) for two years. (GSO,

BW-FH 105-106 says $10,000, $5,000 a year for 2 years, in LOH 61 Bill

W says $30,000). (SM S3, BW-RT 246, LR 197, DBGO 128-135, BW-FH

105-106, PIO 185-187, LOH 143, AGAA 217, 258) Rockefeller refused to

make the donation but provided $5,000 ($65,000 today) to be held in a

fund in the Riverside Church treasury. Much of the fund was used to

pay off Dr Bob's mortgage and provide Bill and Bob with $30 a week

($390 today) as long as the fund lasted. (BW-RT 247, AACOA 149-151,

DBGO 135, PIO 187-188)

On August 5, the Alcoholic Foundation was established as a charitable

trust with a board of 5 Trustees (in LOH 61 Bill W said it started

with 7 Trustees). Its first meeting took place on August 11 (GSO).

Non-alcoholic board members were Willard (Dick) Richardson (who

proposed the Foundation) Frank Amos and John E F Wood. (LOH 61)

Alcoholic board members were Dr Bob and NY member William (Bill) R

(whose Big Book Story is A Business Man's Recovery). Bill R was the

first Board Chairman but returned to drinking and resigned in February

1939. The board composition began a long (and later troublesome)

tradition of making non-alcoholics a majority. An advisory committee

to the board was also established. It consisted of A LeRoy Chipman,

Bill W, Albert L Scott and Hank P. (GSO, BW-RT 248, AACOA 151-152, LR

197, NG 66, 307, 330, PIO 188)
April, principles defined in the Foreword to the First Edition Big

Book provided the seeds for many of the Traditions that Bill W later

published in the April 1946 Grapevine. These same principles were also

incorporated into the "AA Preamble" which was first published in


June 1947 Grapevine. Relevant (truncated) extracts from the Foreword

to the First Edition that relate to the Traditions are:
"It is important that we remain anonymous because we are too few, at

present to handle the overwhelming number of personal appeals which

may result from this publication. Being mostly business or

professional folk, we could not well carry on our occupations in such

an event. We would like it understood that our alcoholic work is an


"When writing or speaking publicly about alcoholism, we urge each of

our Fellowship to omit his personal name, designating himself instead

as "a member of Alcoholics Anonymous."
"Very earnestly we ask the press also, to observe this request, for

otherwise we shall be greatly handicapped."

"We are not an organization in the conventional sense of the word.

There are no fees or dues whatsoever. The only requirement for

membership is an honest desire to stop drinking. We are not allied

with any particular faith, sect or denomination, nor do we oppose

anyone. We simply wish to be helpful to those who are afflicted. We

shall be interested to hear from those who are getting results from

this book, particularly from those who have commenced work with other

alcoholics. We should like to be helpful to such cases. Inquiry by

scientific, medical, and religious societies will be welcomed."
Early, the "Rule #62" story was sent to Bill W in a letter from a

chastened and humbled "promoter member." (AACOA 103-104, 12and12

147-149, NG 107) The story is a key part of 12and12 essay for Tradition

February 8, John D Rockefeller Jr. held a dinner for AA at the Union

League Club. 75 out of 400 invited guests attended. Nelson Rockefeller

hosted the dinner in the absence of his ill father. The dinner

produced much favorable publicity for AA. It also raised $2,200

($29,000 today) from the attendees ($1,000 from Rockefeller).

Rockefeller and the dinner guests continued to provide about $3,000 a

year ($34,000 today) up to 1945 when they were asked to stop

contributing. The Alcoholic Foundation received the donations and

income from sales of the Big Book. (LR 197, BW-RT 264-267, AACOA viii,

182-187, NG 92-94, BW-FH 109-112, PIO 232-235). For its first 10 years

outside contributions were essential to AA.

April 16, Cleveland Indians baseball star "Rollicking" Rollie H


his anonymity broken in the Cleveland Plains Dealer and nationally.

Bill W did likewise in later personal appearances in 1942 and 1943.

(AACOA 135, BW-RT 268-270, DBGO 249-253, NG 85-87, 96-96, AACOA 24-25,

BW-FH 134-135, PIO 236-238, GTBT 156)

May 22, Works Publishing Co. was incorporated. Bill W and Hank P gave

up their stock with the stipulation that Dr Bob and Anne would receive

10% royalties on the Big Book for life. Hank was persuaded to

relinquish his shares in exchange for a $200 payment ($2,600 today)

for office furniture he claimed belonged to him. (AACOA 189-190, LR

199, BW-FH 119, SM 11, PIO 235-236, GTBT 92)

March 1, Jack Alexander's Saturday Evening Post article was published.

The publicity caused 1941 membership to jump from around 2,000 to

8,000. Bill and two other members' pictures appeared full-face in the

article. (AACOA viii, 35-36, 190-191, BW-RT 281, LOH 149-150, BW-FH

146, PIO 245-247) The article, led to over 6,000 appeals for help to

be mailed to Box 658 for the NY Office to handle. (SM S7, PIO 249) The

NY office asked groups to donate $1 ($12 today) per member, per year,

for support of the office. This began the practice of financing the NY

office operations from group donations. (AACOA 112, 192, LOH 149, SM

Fitz M's sister, Agnes (administrator of the Corcoran Art School,

Washington DC) loaned Works Publishing Inc. $1,000 ($12,500 today) to

pay Cornwall Press to release Big Books being held for payment. (BW-FH

92, AACOA 18)
1942 (and earlier)
Correspondence from groups gave early signals of a need to develop

guidelines to help with group problems that occurred over and over.

Basic ideas for the formulation of the Twelve Traditions emerged from

this correspondence and the principles defined in the Foreword to the

first Edition of the Big Book. (AACOA 187, 192-193, 198, 204, PIO

305-306, LOH 154).

Board Trustee A LeRoy Chipman asked John D Rockefeller Jr. and his

1940 dinner guests for $8,500 ($95,000 today) to buy back the

remaining outstanding shares of Works Publishing Inc. stock.

Rockefeller lent $4,000, his son Nelson $500 and the other dinner

guests $4,000. Rockefeller's custom was to forgive $1 of debt for each

$1 repaid. The Rockefeller and dinner guest loans were repaid by 1945

out of Big Book income. (AACOA 189, BW-FH 110-111, SM S7, LOH 148,

AACOA says $8,000)

October, Clarence S, founder of AA in Cleveland (whose Big Book story

is "The Home Brewmeister") stirred up a controversy in Cleveland


discovering that Dr Bob and Bill W were receiving royalties from Big

Book sales. (DBGO 267-269, AACOA 193-194) Bill and Dr Bob re-examined

the problem of their financial status and concluded that royalties

from the Big Book seemed to be the only answer to the problem. Bill

sought counsel from Father Ed Dowling (Bill's spiritual sponsor) who

suggested that Bill and Dr Bob could not accept money for 12th Step

work, but should accept royalties as compensation for special

services. (AACOA 194-195, PIO 322-324). This later formed the basis

for Tradition 8.

April 1, Marty Mann moved to New Haven, CT to found the National

Committee for Education on Alcoholism (NCEA). Its office initially

resided at Yale U. Marty stayed with E M Jellinek's family and

attended the 1944 Yale Summer School. The office later moved to NYC in

October. Information on the NCEA was later published in the Grapevine

along with an explanation on why Marty was breaking her anonymity.

(MMM 164-165). The NCEA later became known as the National Committee

on Alcoholism (NCA) and then later renamed the National Committee on

Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). (SD 186)
April, Earl T, founder of AA in Chicago (whose Big Book Story is "He

Sold Himself Short") suggested to Bill W that he codify the Traditions

and write essays on them in the Grapevine. (AACOA 22, 203, SM S8, PIO

306, LOH 20-24). Earl T played a prominent role in the development of

both the long and short form of the Traditions.
August, the Grapevine carried Bill W's first Traditions article

(titled "Modesty One Plank for Good Public Relations") setting the

groundwork for his 5-year campaign for the Traditions. The July

Grapevine edition had an article by member CHK of Lansing, MI about

the Washingtonians. Bill used this article to begin his essay


The Alcoholic Foundation wrote to John D Rockefeller, Jr and the 1940

dinner guests that AA no longer needed their financial help. Big Book

royalties could look after Dr Bob and Bill W and Group contributions

could pay the general office expenses. This ended all "outside

contributions" to AA. (AACOA 203-204). It formed the basis of

Tradition 7. All loans received from Rockefeller and the dinner guests

from 1941 to 1945 were repaid in 1945 out of Big Book income.
April, the Grapevine carried Bill W's article "Twelve Suggested Points

for AA Tradition." They would later be called the long form of the

Twelve Traditions. (AACOA viii, 96, 203, LOH 20, 154)
A dispute rose over a funding solicitation letter from the National

Council for Education on Alcoholism (NCEA) by Marty Mann. Dr Bob and

Bill W's names appeared on the letterhead. An Alcoholic Foundation

Board statement on fund raising was printed in the October Grapevine

to disavow AA affiliation. (GTBT 29, NG 119, MMM 185)
August, in a Grapevine Traditions essay titled "Last Seven Years Have

Made AA Self-Supporting" Bill W wrote "Two years ago the trustees


aside, out of AA book funds, a sum which enabled my wife and me to pay

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