The History of Alcoholics Anonymous
Historical writings, documents, letters, events, people, places and references through-out the history of A.A.
has neither been approved or endorsed by and is not affiliated
with Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. or any
service entity of A.A.W.S., Inc. The Circle/Triangle
logo is no longer in use by A.A.W.S., Inc.
Research & Study
Names, dates and other "facts," backed up by solid documentation show that some of the historical data contained within the pages of AA Conference-Approved literature is not accurate. Other data even sheds new light upon AA's History which was hitherto unknown.
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Study AA History?
In a quote attributed to Carl Sandburg, he summed it up when he wrote; "Whenever a civilization or society declines (or perishes) there is always one condition present - they forgot where they came from."
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AA History Lovers -Posts from 2002 to 2012
AA History Lovers is the best place to go on the World Wide Web to learn about Alcoholics Anonymous history. There is much to explore there and you can find answers to your many questions as well as learn much about Alcoholics Anonymous history and related information. Glenn C. has copied all the messages from 2002 to 2012. Right now on silkworth.net they are in the format of Microsoft Word and TEXT. So far there are 1 thru 8,956 messages (Posts) and more to come, I'm sure. Glenn C. is the Moderator of AA History Lovers.
William D. Silkworth, M.D.
An in depth look at the writings, articles, letters and documents of Dr. William D. Silkworth, M.D. also known as Silky.
in the first Big Book
The Original is now in the GSO Archives in New York. The first AA Big Book ever sold…April 1939, bought by Virginia MacLeod at a meeting in Bill W’s apartment, Clinton Street, New York. See the last four pages for an explanation of who signed and notes by Virginia….
Narrative Timeline Of AA History
Arthur S., Northeast Texas Area Archives has built upon Archie M's original Timeline file and is still growing - 1774 to 2003, then to v2004 and then to 2014. 1st version was converted to html with Arthur's permission. There is to much information to list here. These documents are a valuble resource for those doing research.
¬Single html file (758 kb)
¬Word doc version (1.18 mb)
¬PDF Version (327 kb)(vApril 04')
¬PDF Version (962 kb)(vMarch 14')
in AA's History
An extensive Flowchart from 1864 to present. -by Archie M.
of Historic AA Events
Timelines of Historic AA Events from 1877 to 2000.
Saw Religion Remake A Drunkard -by D.J.
"Through Liquor, this physician had lost his practice, his reputation and his self-respect. Then one night in a gathering in a private home, he found the way of escape." -The Doctor Bob interview with D.J. Defoe which appeared in the September 1939 issue of "Your Faith" Magazine, page 84.
Spiritual Principles of The 12 Tradtions
The Twelve Traditions are often referred to as, "Why it works." They ensure the continuance of A.A. as a whole, by providing guidelines for groups to evaluate their activities and actions. In a practical vein they are, individually and collectively, humility builders for the group; they ask that the group consider its conduct from a broader perspective and, when necessary, give up something for the overall good of A.A.
Pamphlets History List
Here's a list of 'AA pamphlets'. Most all are Conference-approved or GSO service materials. Remember, Conference-approved translates into 'no earlier than 1951 when the Conference was formed'. AA did have and use pamphlets before that time which were published by individuals, groups, the Grapevine, our various central offices, as well as by GSO in New York. Some of these are listed at the end in the Pre Conference and Out of Print section.
Pamphlets History as reflected in Conference Actions
Extracted from: "A Summary: Advisory Actions of the General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous 1951-2000" (M-39)
first four known AA Bulletins
(November 14, 1940) announced the groups that existed at the time - the first twenty two AA groups - and the five others that were emerging. (January 15, 1941) gave the membership an early alert as to the historic Jack Alexander Saturday Evening Post article. (June 20, 1941) announced the discovery of what was later to be called the Serenity Prayer: "One of our New York members clipped the following from the personal column of a New York paper, and since it seems to 'hit the spot', here it is:" (12/31/1941) was more of a Christmas edition speaking in general and mentioning an estimated membership of 5500.
Read over a thousand Grapevine articles in pdf format. Categories: AA History, Big Book, Bill W., Dr. Bob, General Service Conference, and Complete GV Magazines (1944 to 1948).
of A.A. World History, 1985 -by Bob P.
This document is the first draft of the in-depth history of Alcoholics Anonymous as prepared by Bob P. The manuscript was rejected by the Trustees' Literature Committee and was not published. Bob P.'s book, "Manuscript of A.A. World History", rich in AA history, is made available from silkworth.net for historical and research purposes only.
& Newspaper Articles
Read & research over 150 Magazine and Newspaper Articles in regards to Alcoholics Anonymous.
* These articles have been placed here for historical & research purposes.
* Copyrights owned by respectful owners.
in AA's History
The most comprehensive list ever published about people that are part of the history of Alcoholics Anonymous. Ever wonder who Sister Ignatia, William James, Dr. E. M Jellinek, Dr. Carl Jung, Hank P., Marty M. or Clarence S. are, and other names you may have heard from other members of A.A. or in a recent A.A. meeting you've attended? The research you can do here is almost never ending, with many book references & page #'s.
and Things in AA History
Another comprehensive list published about places and things in AA's history Thanks go out to Archie M. who put this Places and Things in AA's History together.
Thanks to Jim B. of Canada who put together this presentation of text and articles on the Washingtonian Temperance Society. Jim originally had these articles on the web site of historyofaa.com which is no longer online and placed here for historical & research purposes.
Thanks to Jim B. of Canada who put together this presentation of articles. Jim originally had these articles on the web site of historyofaa.com which is no longer online and placed here for historical & research purposes.
Book Story Author's
1st, 2nd & 3rd editions. Do you know who wrote those personal stories in the back of the Big Book, such as, "Home Brewmeister", "The Keys Of The Kingdom", "Women Suffer Too" and "The Man Who Mastered Fear"? Here, you can learn much more about the author's themselves. The person behind the Big Book's personal stories, who they are, where they are from and a brief biography.
Who in AA History
Similar pages of information as "People in AA's History" above.
Oxford Group Connection
Do you know any of these names? Frank Buchman - Sam Shoemaker - Rowland H. - Jim N. - Eleanor F. - Ebby T. - Shepard C. - Henrietta Seiberling - Rev. Walter Tunks - Norman S. - Russell F. - T. Henry & Clarace Williams.
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These are the changes that have been made in the program portion of the Big Book (the first 164 pages and the roman numeraled pages) since it was first published on April 10, 1939.
of the Big Book 1ST Edition
1ST PRINTINGS - (note: 1,5p 7-5-2 means 1st and 5th printing, page 7, paragraph 5, line 2)
of First Edition (14th printing) with Second Edition
reference to word changes, additions, omissions, appearance, capitalization, punctuation & spelling
of the Pre-Publication Manuscript of the Book Alcoholics
Anonymous and its 3rd Edition
Following is a comparison between the portions of the pre-publication manuscript of the book Alcoholics Anonymous and the way it is printed in the third edition.
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In accordance with Concept XII: Warranty V Essay comment from The AA Service Manual (© 2002 AAWS Inc.):
"In the long run, though, we shall have to rely mainly upon the pressures of A.A. opinion and public opinion. And to this end we shall need to maintain a continuous education of public communications channels of all kinds concerning the nature and purpose of our Traditions. Whenever and however we can, we shall need to inform the general public also; especially upon misuses of the name Alcoholics Anonymous. This combination of counter forces can be very discouraging to violators or would-be violators. Under these conditions they soon find their deviations to be unprofitable and unwise. Our experience has shown that continuous and general education respecting our Traditions will be a reliable preventive and protection in the years to come."
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