You are on page 4 of the 1st AA Grapevine ever printed
Copyright © The A.A. Grapevine, Inc., June 1944
|CENTRAL OFFICE NOTES
May 1st was moving day for the Central office into larger quarters on Lexington Avenue near Grand Central Terminal, a much more accessible spot to out-of-town visitors. (New address—P.O. Box 459, Grand Central Annex, New York 17, N. Y.) We are already national in scope and certain to become world-wide. Hence this seems a most appropriate time to explain what the Central Office has been do- ing and how well the Trustees and its staff have managed. Being somewhat responsible for the creation of the Central Office, I feel I have never made enough effort to let every- one know just how much it does. Actually the Central Office belongs to all Groups everywhere; it is your good-will and financial support which makes it possible; it is one of your main contacts with the general public and it is one of your principal means of carrying the 12th step of the A.A. program to untold thousands of alcoholic sick people who don’t yet know they can get well. In matters pertaining to the office, the Trustees are your Service Committee; its Secretary is your National Secretary. In the month of March alone, for example, the work turned out by the secretary and her three assistants (including some overtime) was as follows: 1—They wrote 2,695 personal letters. Approximately 2,000 of these were answers to first inquiries of alcoholics and their families averaging 100 words each.
About 400 letters were written to the groups, mostly group problems. The balance was miscellaneous. 2—Six hundred telephone and telegraph messages. 3—About 100 out-of- town A.A. members visited the office. 4— Something like 400 bookkeeping entries. 5— Over 5000 A.A. pamphlets and 672 A.A. books, about a ton of material, were wrapped and shipped. 6—A detailed monthly report was made to the Trustees. 7—In addition, the Secretary participated in several conferences on future publicity and spent a week on the road visiting six of the A.A. Groups with which she corresponds. A small but very willing staff of four turned out this large volume of work. Our Central Office has nearly always been understaffed. Our condition right now is such that a good piece of publicity would throw us weeks behind on those vital first inquiries. We should have more help—perhaps two more typists before long. About the offer of A.A. pins to the membership—those pins supposedly designed and approved by me! The offer was made by Royal Incentives, a perfectly reputable firm, which was sold a “bill of goods” by an alcoholic who has had a rather hectic A.A. career. Of course, I knew nothing whatever of this deal. Royal Incentives, recognizing the mistake, is sending all groups a letter of explanation and apology.
A. A. GOES ISLAND — HOPPING BY MAIL
Oct. 8, 1943
Naval Cantonment, Honolulu, Hawaii Alcoholics Anonymous
Dear Sirs: I have been an alcoholic for 10 years. Three months ago, on July 8th, I went to the hospital for alcoholism. It was the third time in that same hospital . . . While there a nurse told me of your organization. I went to the Public Library and found your address . . . I have since talked it over with a number of alcoholic patients in this same hospital, and also with the doctors and nurses there, and I have decided that we have the material to form a branch of your organization in Hono- lulu . . . I am assured of the co-operation of the Mental Health Bureau of the Territory of Hawaii, and I’m sure we can make a success of it. I am enclosing postage. Will you please send me all the information you can on the organization.
On October 19th the Central Office received and answered the above letter. The answer covered one sheet of typewriting paper, single-space, on both sides, in order that it might be light-weight enough to go Air Mail with a pamphlet enclosed. That one sheet of paper constituted as clear, as concise, and as comprehensible a picture of A.A.: what it is, how it works, and what kind of people make it the amazing thing it is, as the Editors have ever seen. Now we know how the Central Office creates groups!
Nov. 16, 1943 Shop — —,
DO YOU KNOW . . . . . . ?
What the Purpose of the Foundation Is:
Answer:—The Alcoholic Foundation is comprised of seven trustees, four of whom (a majority) are non-alcoholics but keenly interested in the problem of alcoholism, and three of whom are members of A.A. These trustees maintain the Central Office, our National Headquarters, where inquiries concerning A.A. from all parts of the world are answered and from which office our literature is mailed. Besides maintaining this Central Office, the trustees of the Foundation have charge of all national publicity, and consult with the A.A. group on matters of national policy. None of the trustees receives any compensation for his or her services. The Non-alcoholic trustees are :
Mr. Leonard V. Harrison, Chairman. (Mr. Harrison is identified with Community Service—the combined charities of New York City.) Mr. Willard S. Richardson, Treasurer. (Before his retirement, religious secretary to Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.) Mrs. Livingston Farrand (Distinguished wife of Livingston Farrand, former President of Cornell University.) Dr. Leonard V. Strong, Jr. (A physician most helpful to A.A. from its beginning.) Two of the present A.A. members of the board are from the New York Metropolitan area, the third from Akron, Ohio.
Gentlemen: Received your Air Mail letter enclosing one pamphlet 4 weeks ago, and your package of literature today . . . We have not yet had a meeting. I have been visiting the prospects armed with only one pamphlet and a handful of bus tokens. There are some problems peculiar to this place . . . in dealing with permanent residents and transient workers. Although I believe that alcoholics are usually more broadminded than others, we are taking precautions to see that the effort we are making is not isolated to either group. There are 6 who have promised to make the effort. Three of them are permanent residents and
Copyright © The A.A. Grapevine, Inc., June 1944
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