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A Narrative Timeline Of AA History

Public Version vApril 04'

1985 to 1988

A Narrative Timeline Of AA History – 1774 to 2003


AAWS discovered that the copyrights to the first and second Ed. of the Big Book had expired. The copyright on the first Ed. lapsed in 1967. The copyright on new material in the second Ed. lapsed in 1983. Both AAWS and the Wilson estate shared responsibility for copyright renewal. (NG 299, www)

Apr 14-20, Hotel Roosevelt in NYC. Theme: Golden Moments of Reflection. The 35th GSC recommended that:

  • Since each issue of the Grapevine cannot go through the GSC-approved process, the GSC recognizes The AA Grapevine as the international journal of AA (includes wording amendments made in 1986). (Gv)

  • The draft Treatment Facilities Workbook be approved, with minor changes, for production and distribution. (TF)

Jul, AA’s 50th anniversary and 8th Int’l Convention at Montreal, Canada. Theme: 50 Years With Gratitude. Est. attendance 44,000. Ruth Hock Crecelius (GTBT 141) was given the 5-millionth copy of the Big Book. As part of the festivities surrounding AA’s 50th anniversary Stepping Stones, the Wilson’s home since 1941, was declared a NY State Historic Site. (BW-FH 3)

Distribution of the Big Book reached the 5 million mark. (NG 268)


Apr 20-26, Hotel Roosevelt in NYC. Theme: AA’s Future - Our Responsibility. The 36th GSC recommended that:

  • A definitive book on AA history from 1955-1985 be prepared and brought to the 1987 GSC for consideration. (Lit.)

  • The 1987 GSC Policy/Admissions Committee consider the formation of a GSC Archives Committee. (Fl Act)

  • The GSC reaffirm the spirit of the 1977 GSC action regarding group literature displays, and recommended the suggestion that AA groups be encouraged to display or sell only literature published and distributed by the GSO, the AA Grapevine and other AA entities. (Lit.)

May 4, Ruth Hock Crecelius died. (WPR 88)

Sep 12-16, the first permanent Int’l Al-Anon General Services Meeting. (AFG pamphlet AR-2)

Nov, the first paperback edition of the Big Book was published. (NG 301)


Apr 26 - May 2, Hotel Roosevelt in NYC. Theme: The Seventh Tradition - A Turning Point. The 37th GSC recommended that:

  • While the committee recognizes the need for and encourages the development of area Archives and Archives Committees, with the resulting benefit to General Service and the Fellowship as a whole, a GSC Archives Committee should not be formed at this time because the needs of local Archives committees are being well served by the trustees’ Archives Committee and the GSO Archivist. (Pol/Adm)

  • Statements regarding AA’s primary purpose be available. (Lit.) (Note: these are the “blue card” definitions of open/closed meetings)

  • Undertaking the development of a daily reflections book. (Lit.)

  • No changes or additions be made to the preamble. (Gv)

  • A report on the progress of The History of AA: 1955-1985 book be made to the 1988 GSC. (Fl Act)

Distribution of the Big Book reached the 6 million mark. (NG 268)


Apr 17-23, Hotel Roosevelt in NYC. Theme: Our Singleness of Purpose - Key to Unity. The 38th GSC recommended that:

  • Work continue on the AA history book, and that this be subject to further editing through the coordinating efforts of each regional trustee with each delegate for further updating, corrections, and additional information. (Lit.)

  • The letter “S” be used as a prefix to the first set of page numbers in the AA Service Manual and Twelve Concepts for World Service, so as to differentiate between the two sets of page numbers. (Lit.)

  • The 1971 GSC Action be reaffirmed: “AA members generally think it unwise to break the anonymity of a member even after his death, but in each situation the final decision must rest with the family.” Further, the AA Archives continue to protect the anonymity of deceased AA members as well as other members. (PI)

Oct 5, Lois Burnham Wilson (age 97) co-founder of Al-Anon Family Groups, died. (AACOA xi) Her contributions to the AA and AFG Fellowships entitle her to be considered co-founder of both. Michael Alexander, past Chairman of the GSB is cited “many AAs today feel their lives are owed to Lois as well as Bill, Dr Bob and Anne S.” (WPR 53)

Oct 28, Milton Maxwell died. (1989 GSC-FR 40)

Oct, Language of the Heart published by AA Grapevine Inc. (GTBT 57, LOH)

A Narrative Timeline Of AA History – 1774 to 2003

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