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A Narrative Timeline Of AA History

Public Version vApril 04'

1905 to 1912

A Narrative Timeline Of AA History – 1774 to 2003


Sep, Bill W’s father, Gilman (after earlier having a bitter argument with Emily) took Bill on a late-night buggy ride and asked him to take good care of his mother and sister and be good to them. The next morning Bill’s sister Dorothy told him their father had gone away. Prior to this there were extended absences of Bill’s mother, Emily, described sometimes as “nervous breakdowns.” (BW-RT 5-12, NG 10, BW-FH 12, 18-19, PIO 24) Bill’s father left the family and departed for western Canada. Bill did not see him again for 9 years (summer of 1914). Emily sent word to her father, Fayette, to drive up to Rutland and get Bill and Dorothy. Emily remained behind in Rutland for a time to make arrangements. (BW-RT 11, 17-18, BW-40 12-13, BW-FH 12)

Fall, Dr Bob entered the U of MI as a 26 year old pre-med student. He drank with a much greater earnestness than he had previously shown. (AABB 173, CH 2, DBGO 25, NG 30)


Bill W, his sister Dorothy and mother Emily, moved back to East Dorset to live with Bill’s maternal grandparents, Fayette and Ella Griffith. (AACOA 53, BW-RT 11, 17, PIO 22, BW-RT 19, NG 10, RAA 130, BW-40 13, BW-FH 12)

The Rev Drs Elwood Worcester and Samuel McComb, along with physician Dr Isador Coriat, opened a clinic in the Emmanuel Church in Boston, MA. It introduced the use of spirituality, and recovered alcoholics as lay therapists, in the treatment of alcoholism. Among the noted lay therapists were Courtenay Baylor, Richard Peabody, Francis Chambers and Samuel Crocker. (SD 100-101)

Oct, while on a picnic, Bill W, and his sister Dorothy, were informed by their mother that their father had gone for good. The news was devastating to Bill. Emily left the next day for Boston, MA to attend an osteopathic medical school. (PIO 24-27, BW-RT 19-20, BW-40 13, BW-FH 19)


Bill W’s parents divorced. Bill considered this a “great disgrace and great stigma.” (NG 309) There appears to be evidence that his father’s drinking was a prominent cause of the divorce. (WPR 57, PIO 15)

Spring, Dr Bob left the U of MI due to his drinking to take a one-month “geographic cure” on a large farm owned by a friend. (AABB 173, DBGO 26)

Late summer, Bill W's grandfather, Fayette, challenged him saying, "nobody but an Australian bushman knows how to make and throw the boomerang.” (AACOA 53, PIO 29-30, LR 19-20, BW-RT 28-29, BW-40 21-23, NG 11)

Fall, Dr Bob, after being allowed to take his exams, was forced to leave the U of MI due to his drinking. He transferred as a junior to Rush Medical College near Chicago. While at Rush his drinking was so bad his fraternity brothers called for his father. (AABB 173-174, CH 2, DBGO 26, NG 30, 316, PIO 25)


Feb, Bill W made the boomerang his grandfather Fayette challenged him to make and perceived himself as a “Number One Man.” (BW-RT 33-35) His grandfather then gave him his Uncle Clarence’s violin and challenged him to learn how to play it. (AACOA 53, BW-RT 36-37, LR 20, BW-40 25-28)

Spring/summer, Bill W met his closest friend Mark Whalon (ten years his senior). (BW-RT 40, RAA 141, BW-FH 12, PIO 22)

Jul, Frank N D Buchman arrived in England to attend the Keswick Convention of evangelicals. After hearing a sermon by a woman evangelist, Jessie Penn-Lewis, he experienced a profound spiritual surrender and later helped another attendee to go through the same experience. His experiences became the key to the rest of his life’s work. Returning to the US, he started his “laboratory years” working out the principles he would later apply on a global scale. (NG 9, NW 32-45, PIO 130)


The Akron Rubber Mold and Machine Co. was founded. It reorganized later, in 1928, as the National Rubber Machinery Co. In 1935, it became the center of a proxy fight that brought Bill W to Akron, OH. (BW-RT 211-212, CH 4, NG 26, PIO 134, RAA 142)

Late spring, Bill W’s grandparents decided to send him (at age 14) to the prestigious Burr and Burton Seminary in Manchester, VT for his secondary education. Bill started classes that fall. He boarded at the school for 5 days a week and returned home by train to East Dorset on weekends. (PIO 33, NG 12, BW-FH 19, BW-RT 48)


Dr Bob (age 31) received his medical degree, with high marks, from Rush U. Prior to graduating, the Dean of the medical school required Bob to return for two more quarters and remain absolutely dry. (GB 35) After graduation, Bob received a highly coveted 2-year internship at City Hospital in Akron, OH. (CH 2, DBGO 27, NG 30)

Dr Bob started internship at City Hospital. For two years, he had no problem with drinking. (DBGO 27)


Ebby T and Bill W first met. They were classmates at Burr and Burton Seminary for one year (PIO 34, GB 26)

Nov 12, Ruth Eva Miller (later Hock) was born in Newark, NJ. (WPR 77)


Dr Bob (age 33) started medical practice at the Second National Bank Bldg in Akron, OH. He remained there until he retired from practice in 1948. It did not take him long to return to old drinking habits. (DBGO 28)

Lois Burnham graduated from Packer Collegiate Institute, an exclusive girl’s school in Brooklyn, NY. (DBGO 28, 348, LR 12, PIO 40, BW-FH 13)

Sep, at the beginning of the school year at Burr and Burton, Bill W was president of the senior class, star football player, star pitcher and captain of the baseball team and first violin in the school orchestra. (BW-FH 19)

Nov 18, Bill W's schoolmate and "first love" Bertha Bamford, died from hemorrhaging after surgery at the Flower Hospital in NYC. She was the daughter of the rector of the Manchester, VT Zion Episcopal Church. Bill learned about it at school on the 19th. It began a 3-year episode of depression, which severely affected his performance at school and home. (AACOA 54, PIO 35-36, BW-RT 51-58, NG 12, BW-FH 19-20)

A Narrative Timeline Of AA History – 1774 to 2003

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