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A Narrative Timeline Of AA History

Public Version vApril 04'

1971 to 1974

A Narrative Timeline Of AA History – 1774 to 2003


Jan 24, William Griffith Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, 36 years sober, died (of emphysema, sometimes described as heart failure) at Miami Beach, FL. It was his and Lois’ 53rd wedding anniversary. (AACOA xi, BW-FH 5) In 1990, Life magazine named Bill among the 100 most important figures of the 20th century. (BW-FH 4)

Apr 19-24, Hotel New Yorker in NYC. Theme: Communication: Key to AA Growth. The 21st GSC recommended that:

  • The short form of the Twelve Concepts be approved. (Fl Act)

  • The subject of clubs be a major item on the 1972 GSC Agenda. (Fl Act)

  • The Grapevine Corp. Board be given GSC approval to raise the price of the Grapevine from $.35 to $.50 for a single copy, and from $3.50 to $5 ($22 today) for a yearly subscription, if the trend of rising costs indicates that there is a need. (Gv)

  • The delegates give wholehearted support to the efforts of the GSO to establish an Institutions Correspondence Service on an individual basis, similar to the Loner Sponsor Service. (Institutions)

Apr, Milton Maxwell, PhD joined the GSB as a Trustee. (GSO)


Nell Wing was appointed the first AA Archivist. (GTBT 132, WPR 102)

Apr 17-22, Hotel Roosevelt in NYC. Theme: Our Primary Purpose. The 22nd GSC recommended that:

  • The Twenty-Four Hour Book not be confirmed as GSC-approved literature. (Lit.)

  • GSO should not accept contributions from clubs. (Fl Act)

  • In accordance with AA’s Tradition of self-support, the GSC voted unanimously that AA not accept Stepping Stones property (the home of Bill and Lois W) for any purpose. (Fl Act) (NG 263)

  • The GSC agreed that tape making at all types of AA meetings, with the possible exception of closed meetings, is helpful to some AA’s and that the decision of making tapes be left to group autonomy. (Fl Act)

  • GSO prepare a clear-cut statement of what AA is and what it is not and unanimously agreed that “alcohol and pill” groups not be listed in AA directories and meeting lists. (Fl Act)

Oct 5, the second World Service Meeting was held in NY.


Apr, distribution of the Big Book reached the one-million mark. The millionth copy was presented to President Richard Nixon in the Whitehouse. (NG 267, BW-FH 113)

Apr 24-29, Hotel Roosevelt in NYC. Theme: Responsibility - Our Expression of Gratitude. The 23rd GSC recommended that:

  • AAWS, Inc. be asked to study the possibility of having a reproduction made of the original Big Book. (Lit.)

Came to Believe was published. (AACOA xi)

AA Archives opened at the GSO. (SM S73) (GTBT and NG say 1975) The Trustees of the GSB formed an Archives Committee. (NG 294, SM S73, WPR 102 says 1975) The first meeting was on Oct 24. Its members were Chairperson George C, Rev Lee Belford and Dr Milton Maxwell. (GTBT 134-135)


Apr 22-27, Hotel Roosevelt in NYC. Theme: Understanding and Cooperation - Inside and Outside AA. The 24th GSC recommended that:

  • The World Directory be divided into three sections, each section subdivided by region (Eastern US, Western US, and Canada). (Fl Act)

  • A short form of the Twelve Concepts for World Service for inclusion in the AA Service Manual. (SM Twelve Concepts)

  • Private picture taking should not occur at AA events. (Fl Act)

  • The concept presented by Dr Norris on conferences in which staff and trustees would visit in the regions and work with local service people should be further explored and developed. (Fl Act)

  • Ex-officio committee members be discontinued. Past delegates can keep themselves informed through their delegates and the Conference Report. (Conference Policy)

  • The committee accept the recommendations of the Agenda/Admissions Committee that the “admissions” function of that committee be transferred to the Committee on Conference Policy. (In the future, the committee will be called the Committee on Conference Policy and Admissions. The Scope and History will be amended). (Conference Policy) [Similarly the Agenda/Admissions Committee was renamed the Committee on the Conference Agenda].

  • In accordance with the GSB’s recommendation, the film Bill’s Own Story be released to Al-Anon groups under the same conditions as to AA Groups. (PI)

In order to maintain subscriber’s anonymity, the legal name of The AA Grapevine was changed to Box 1980 to comply with postal regulation that required the corporate name of an organization be placed on official envelopes and on the magazine itself. (1989 GSC-FR 24)

A Narrative Timeline Of AA History – 1774 to 2003

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