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

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several years and the chance to meet him in person

(as well as the others) was a personally fulfilling

experience since we both shared a friendship with

Nancy Olson [who founded the AAHistoryLovers].
There was also a good panel presentation given mainly

by "Shaky Mike" Gwirtz from the Philadelphia area and

a fellow named "BJ' concerning Fitz Mayo and Jim Burwell

who were responsible for getting AA going in eastern

PA and MD.
Bill Lash taped all of the conference except for a

sharing from an old-timer, Chet H., who didn't want

to be taped.
Good lunch provided and enough coffee and donuts

for an army!

Personally, I was almost overwhelmed with the

entire event and it's hard to "whelm" me!

Al Welch
++++Message 3709. . . . . . . . . . . . 2005 Brown University Visit

From: greatcir@comcast.net> . . . . . . . . . . . . 9/17/2006 8:06:00 PM

Brown University visit October, 2005.



chorigarg=Xalcohol [12]

might be a starting point for some of the materials as it looks like the

links I

used in early 2005 have changed..
I spent the better part of the week of Oct. 3, 2005 at Brown University in


John Hay Library reading and looking at AA materials. I went quickly through

about 10 large cardboard boxes. Three were related to Dr. Bob and the rest


Clarence Snyder. There were a couple of other boxes - one had the Akron


pot in it and the other one some of Dr. Bob's medical items, his wallet with


social security card in it, a baseball signed by Hemsley, and a 1950 folder

showing how to form a group. I did not have time to look at the Marty Mann


or listen to any of the tapes in the Clarence boxes. Some of the boxes had

plastic bags full of correspondence and miscelaneous material not yet

catalogued. One man at the library thought Sue sold many of these boxes to


U. for a sum in the $100,000 range?
Access to the library was no problem. I think once I listed myself as a AA

member (I have no other archive credentials) they did not know what to do as


other researchers there were mostly academics writing papers or books. I


only take a pencil and pad in and I had to sign a number of forms to get a


of one letter (July 7, 1944 about royalties with Clarence's hand written


in the margins) from GSO to Clarence.

Parking is very tough with meters taking a quarter every 15 minutes if one


find a parking space. It takes them 24 hours to get an archive box, but as I


contacted them before I went, they had three boxes ready for me on Monday


I arrived. After I filled out some paperwork and left a photo ID card, as I


to each day, I then had access to one file at a time out of one box at a


They have TV monitors in all the rooms and I could see some very old


books on non-AA matters.
http://dl.lib.brown.edu/temperance/ is a site that deals with the temperance

pamphlets and they are moving to have more web access to such materials in


The library was undergoing personnel changes. I did not meet her, but my


contact was Tovah Reis. Library personnel indicated no real interest in AA


told me that if someone was interested say in posters or phamplets on

alcoholism, then it was their intention to have all availabe materials on


subject from a wide variety of sources with AA only being one of those


I asked if they might consider revising their web site description of the


coffee pot as the "Holy Grail of AA" amd was amswered with a no.
Below are some random observations.
I enjoyed the rifts and details over book royalties - Sue asking for Dr.


royalties; Clarence blasting away over Bill's payments; the request for

royalties on Living Sober by Barry Leach on March 7, 1982 for $191,416.54 ;


receiving a royalty check for $585.70 on 9/30/43 ; Bill not having a royalty

agreement until 1963; etc.
As I suspected there was little on Dr. Bob which was really the personal


of my trip. He did have a celebration put on by others on his 8th year in AA


1943 which was a grand party for 500 with a 10 piece orchestra, dancing, and

I got a real feel for Anne in the materials. She would say "would you

like to go

all the way with God?" Then she would ask them to kneel and surrender


husband to God. She organized a women's group in 1936. She said to surrender

your thoughts, possessions, emotions, relationships, and tongue.

Clarence blasted NY for permitting a 2nd AA group to be formed in Little


saying it could kill AA. Some non-alcoholics formed a group. Hank blistered

Clarence for not selling enough porcelain materials (they were in a ceramic


business?) because he was "messed up" with AA. There was a Camp in

Georgian Bay

in the Great Lakes for alcoholics to vacation.

A funny telegram on 4/22/40 to GSO said "Please send Rollie Hemsley


immediately 279 East 149 Street" and it had no city listed.
A letter saying "Our group has some money and is trying to decide what

to do

with it." dated 7/20/44. They asked for a discount on books.
I'll end with a last unknown source quote "Excessive users of alcohol


come from families of poor hereditary stock."
Pete K.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3710. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Is AAWS tightening up

restrictions on reprinting?

From: John Lee . . . . . . . . . . . . 9/17/2006 1:03:00 PM
The Primary Purpose Website of Spartanburg, South

Carolina has

deleted several readings "by request of AA World

Services." Sounds like AAWS is policing the Internet,

similar to last year's attack on E-Bay users who were

selling AA related literature.

john lee


--- "Mitchell K."

> I got an e-mail from someone asking if I've heard

> that AAWS is pulling

> permission to reprint anything they "own." Grapevine

> articles, writing

> by Bill etc. He said that AAWS alone from now on

> will be the sole

> source of anything related to AA.


> Anyone hear of this?








Do You Yahoo!?

Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around


++++Message 3711. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Clarence did not write program

for 1st Internat''l Conf.

From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 9/17/2006 10:53:00 PM
This is a rather long message that I hope you find informative. It

contradicts a number of your assertions.

My e-mail statement was "This was all part of Clarence Snyder's claim

that the Cleveland Group was the first to use the term 'Alcoholics

Anonymous' to describe itself." I made no mention of Clarence writing

the program which described Cleveland as "the birthplace of our

movement." I simply posited and implied that he had influenced it as

part of his claim to primacy of the term "Alcoholics Anonymous." I

certainly could be wrong if the program description referred to the

state of Ohio in which case it would be quite correct.

Your assertion that "Ergo...Clarence was the founder of AA (not

Alcoholics Anonymous but the term AA)" strikes me as a form of

semantic gymnastics that does little more than elevate the obscure to

the level of the irrelevant. You also selectively ignore your own book

"How It Worked" which credits the primacy of both the terms

"Alcoholics Anonymous" and "A.A." to Clarence S.

Your claim of Clarence being the "founder" of the term

"AA." is

sustained by anecdote (known only to you and attributed to Nell Wing)

as "evidence." You then bemoan that there is no "evidence or

documentation" to sustain whether Clarence claimed to be the first to

use the term "Alcoholics Anonymous" to describe the group he


You are quite wrong on the latter assertion and quite weak on the

In the written record, Clarence is given due credit as being the

founder of AA in Cleveland and a number of other noteworthy

accomplishments. However, portraying him as the "founder of AA"

(whether "AA" is an acronym, initials, abbreviation, Fellowship,


or a meeting or whatever) is obfuscation no matter how you may wish to

micro-parse or selectively describe the term. It also strikes me as a

bit silly. Are the history books supposed to note separate, as you

call it, "founders" of the terms "Alcoholics Anonymous

group" vs "AA

group" or "Alcoholics Anonymous meeting" vs "AA

meeting" or

"Alcoholics Anonymous literature" vs "AA literature" or


Anonymous member" vs "AA member" ad absurdum.
I have no axe to grind against Clarence nor do I place him on an

anointed pedestal. Clarence had well documented strengths and

shortcomings. I acknowledge both. If that constitutes "resentments,

being closed minded and misquoting" then so be it. Perhaps your

hyper-sensitivity and bias to anything you deem even remotely critical

of Clarence might be due to him being your past sponsor and your

inflated veneration of him as demonstrated in your book. Extant

documents unambiguously describes Clarence S as confrontational and

antagonistic. The legacy of those unremarkable traits of Clarence's

seem to have regrettably been passed on to you in the way you

all-too-often express yourself in this forum. In addition to his

documented antagonistic nature Clarence also touted himself to be the

"founder" or "father" of AA. Documented proof is cited

later below

In your email message, you assert that:(some portions excised):
"Clarence also never claimed that the Goldrick Group was the first to

use the TERM Alcoholics Anonymous to describe itself. There is NO

evidence or documentation ... showing where gatherings of members of

the Fellowship called these meetings Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Clarence called the meeting itself an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting

after the book of the same name - he wasn't referring to the

Fellowship or the book or the foundation but specifically the MEETING.

NOWHERE in the archives ... is there a reference to holding an

Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where a bunch of members met to share

their experience, strength and hope.

You are essentially using the terms "group" and

"meeting" synonymously

and then trying to draw some major distinction between the two. It

doesn't make very much sense other than to manufacture some title for

Clarence and strikes me as intellectually dishonest. Let's begin with

your book (I'm using the PDF file version) where on pg 140 you wrote

(seperate paragraphs are joined by ellipses):
"On Wednesday, May 10, 1939, the Clevelander's went to the Oxford

Group meeting at T. Henry and Clarace Williams' home. At the end of

the meeting, Clarence announced that this would be 'the last time the

Cleveland contingent would be down to the Oxford Group as a whole. .

He announced the Cleveland Group was going to meet the following

night, May 11th. He said, 'We're gonna start our own group in

Cleveland.' He told the Akron fellowship, 'This is not gonna be an

Oxford Group. It's gonna be known as Alcoholics Anonymous. We're

taking the name from the book; and only alcoholics and their families

are welcome. Nobody else.' He then told all present where [the new

group - the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting - was going to meet.]

Clarence announced 'We're gonna meet at 2345 Stillman Road, Cleveland

Heights at Al and Grace G.'s home.' ."
Then on page 141 you wrote.
"On May 11, 1939, one month after the book had been published, a

meeting was held. It was a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was a

meeting held by, and for alcoholics and their families only.

Historian, Mary C. Darrah, wrote: . 'In the years 1935-1939, the

Oxford meetings provided a group experience for the early alcoholics.

A.A. did not meet as a separate group officially named Alcoholics

Anonymous until May 1939 at the home of Abby G. in Cleveland.' . Nell

Wing 26 stated in an interview with the author: 'Clarence was rightly

the first to use the initials, A.A.' She was, however, referring to

Clarence's use of the initials 'A.A.' and not to his use of the name

Alcoholics Anonymous. . A fellowship of anonymous drunks had in fact

existed prior to May 11, 1939. But it was the Cleveland meeting which

first used the name Alcoholics Anonymous, that it took from the book.

Cleveland's May, 1939 meeting is the first documented meeting which

used the name Alcoholics Anonymous, separate and apart from the Oxford

In your own writing you assert that both the Cleveland "group" and

"meeting" (terms which you appear to use interchangeably) were the

first to use the term "Alcoholics Anonymous." Yet your e-mail


only mentions the claim that Clarence was the first to use the

term/initials "A.A."
In this latter regard, it strikes me as unconvincing that Nell Wing

(in the reputed exclusive revelation made only to you) is being

portrayed as so authoritative on the matter of Clarence being the

first to use the "initials A.A." Nell Wing did not start


(as a typist) in the NY office until March 1947 nearly 8 years after

the Cleveland group started. The term/initials "A.A." was


at that time. The term/initials "A.A." was also used repeatedly in


March 1941 Jack Alexander Saturday Evening Post article to describe

both the members of the Fellowship and the Fellowship as a whole.

It's also interesting that you cite Mary C Darrah. She wrote in

"Sister Ignatia" (pg 35):

"In May 1939, the book Alcoholics anonymous was finally published. At

the same time, debate in Akron over allegiance to the Oxford Group

escalated into open hostility. With the newly published book for a

base, the angry Clevelanders left T Henry's home and organized their

own group in Cleveland, far removed from the Buchmanites . Led by

Clarence S, they called themselves 'Alcoholics Anonymous' taking their

name from the title of the newly published book. They held their first

meeting of the newly named Alcoholics Anonymous group on May 18, 1939,

at the Cleveland Heights home of Abby G. When attendance was recorded,

sixteen members were officially present. Thus the first group to

officially call itself Alcoholics Anonymous convened in Cleveland,

Darrah also wrote (pg 164):

"Ignatia already knew that in 1939 Clevelanders had openly refused to

attend Akron meetings, in part because of religious confusion over the

Oxford Group. Clarence S, one of the Cleveland leaders who led the

exodus from Akron and convened the first Cleveland meeting, boldly

called himself 'the Father of Alcoholics Anonymous.' Shortly after

beginning the first Cleveland group, Clarence persuaded Elrick B

Davis, a Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter, to write a series of six

editorials ."

In "Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers" (pg 164) it states:
"Clarence said, 'I made the announcement at the Oxford Group that this

was the last time the Cleveland bunch was down as a contingent - that

we were starting a group in Cleveland that would be only be open to

alcoholics and their families. Also that we were taking the name from

the book 'Alcoholics Anonymous' ."
In the soft cover version of "Not God" (pg 78) it states:
"Meanwhile, the multilith draft of the text of Alcoholic's [sic]

Anonymous had been circulating among the Akronites, and by mid-April

of 1939 the first printed copies became available. Clarence at once

borrowed from the title of the draft the name by which he began to

refer to his group. This was not "the alcoholic squadron of the Oxford

Group" but "Alcoholics Anonymous," apparently the first clear

use of

the term as a specific and exclusive named The mere change of name did

little to allay Catholic suspicion, but the availability of a written

and published program afforded another option. At the Williams's home

on Wednesday, 10 May 1939, Clarence - with the approval of his

traveling companions - announced that this would be their last visit

to the Akron meeting. On the next evening, interested alcoholics were

invited to a new meeting to be held each week in Cleveland at the home

of Abby 6., the most recently sober of the visitors. This would be a

meeting, Clarence declared, of "Alcoholics Anonymous."

In the Bibliography of "Not God" pg 418 it states:
"For a time especially in the 1950s, some who were upset with

developments within A.A. proclaimed Clarence S. to be the founder of

Alcoholics Anonymous ."
In "Pass It On" pg 202 it states:
"Bill always said more than 100 titles were considered for the book.

The title that appeared on the Multilithed copies was 'Alcoholics

Anonymous." There is some dispute about who first thought up this

title; most thought is was Joe W, a New Yorker writer who remained

sober only 'on and off." That was Bill's recollection, and he believed

that the name first appeared in their discussions in October 1938. (*)

The first documented use of the name in the A.A. archives is in a

letter from Bill to Willard Richardson dated July 15, 1938. It is an

invitation to Messrs. Richardson, Chipman and Scott of the Rockefeller

Foundation, Bill W to come to any of the Clinton Street meetings.

'Certainly in the cases of you gentlemen' Bill wrote 'we shall gladly

waive the heavy drinking that has qualified us for Alcoholics

Anonymous. We think you are one of us, and there are no honorary

members." There, the name was used in such a way as to indicate that

Richardson was already familiar with it.
(*) this is contradicted in a 1938 letter from Bill W to Dr Bob cited

later below.

According to a letter dated July 18, 1938, from Dr Richards of Johns

Hopkins, Bill, at that time, was using 'Alcoholics Anonymous' both as

the working title of the book and as the name of the Fellowship."
In "Pass It On" pg 203 it states:
"The title of the book quickly became the name of the Fellowship,

although debate continues about where and how the name was first used

by a group. Oldtimer Clarence S. stated that the Cleveland group he

founded in May 1939 was actually the first grozp to use the name

"Alcoholics Anonymous." Whatever the individual groups called

themselves (usually Just "meetings"), the name certainly was used

earlier than that to describe the Fellowship as a whole."
[It goes on to mention the Foreword to the 1st edition of the Big Book

where the term is used twice to describe the name of the Fellowship as

a whole].
In "Pass It On" pg 224 it states:
"Publicity at the local level also proved effective. In the autumn of

1938, Clarence S. (who had started a group in Cleveland in May of that

year) persuaded a writer named Elrick B. Davis to do a series of

newspaper articles about A.A. Published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer,

they were run in a prominent space and were supported with pro-A.A.

editorials. As Bill described the series: 'In effect the Plain Dealer

was saying, 'Alcoholics Anonymous is good, and it works. Come and get

it.' Hundreds did; by the following year, the city had 20 to 30 groups

and several hundred members. Said Bill, 'Their results were . so good,

and A.A.'s membership elsewhere ... so small, that many a Clevelander

really thought A.A. had started there in the first place' ..."
In "Pass It On" pg 257 it states:
"This was not the first controversy with which Clarence had been

involved; one A.A. historian has described Clarence as an 'abrasive'

In "Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers" pgs 270-271 it states:
"By 1942, Bill was not in such favor with Clarence and his faction in

Cleveland as in earlier days. In the years to come, there were further

clashes, over finances, policy, the start of the A.A. General Service

Conference, and other matters. The criticism was directed more at Bill

than at Bob. . 'People in New York decided they were it, and we were

jealous,' said Oscar W. "Bob wasn't that way. He had a marvelous

nature. I don't know why we had that built-in animosity. Clarence

didn't like Bill and would cuss him out, so you can see my animosity

came secondhand,' Oscar said. 'If anything bad came out of New York, I

blamed Dill. I had to blame someone' ."

In Bob P's aborted (by the Conference) manuscript of a history of AA

from 1955 to 1985 it states:

"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, (sic) "so we began to refer to


as '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 rich'

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

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