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Minnesota AA History

Alf's Story

Alf is an old timer in AA, and his story traces his struggle with alcoholism and the beginnings of AA in Minnesota. A great story, and the historical background of AA's growth in Minnesota from one person to what it is today is fascinating!

National AA History - Articles

The Foundation, Progress and Principles of the Washington Temperance Society

Written in 1842, this page details the beginning of the Washingtonians, an organization that AA derives it roots from. Provides a vast amount of information and resources on the subject of Alcoholics Anonymous ...experience the history ...lest we forget!

An 1878 View of the Washingtonians

The following, rather long, extract describes the Washingtonians and one of their star speakers as they were seen from the perspective of the latter part of the 19th century--years after their decline to little more than a fond memory in the minds of temperance advocates. The extract is from The Temperance Reform and its Great Reformers by Rev. W.H. Daniels, A.M., published 1878.

The Gabriel Heatter Broadcast--April 1939

The first national exposure for Alcoholics Anonymous came with the April 25, 1939 "We The People" broadcast. Gabriel Heatter's radio program was a tremendously popular program that was tuned in by millions of people. Morgan R., the AA member who spoke on the program, was expected to launch sales of the newly published book, Alcoholics Anonymous. How Morgan was prepared for his three-minute talk, and the resulting book sales are described in the A.A.W.S. publication Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age on pages 174-175.

Mayflower Hotel Gift Shop

T-Shirts, posters, coffee mugs, journals and more with a reproduction of a 1930's postcard of the Mayflower Hotel in Akron, Ohio, where Bill made that first phone call and AA was born.

Mayflower Hotel Journal

Mayflower Hotel Journal
Mayflower Hotel Light T-Shirt

Mayflower Hotel T-Shirt
Mayflower Hotel Mini Poster Print

Mayflower Hotel Mini Poster

The Cleveland Plain Dealer Articles - 1939

These articles appeared in the main Cleveland newspaper, the Plain Dealer, just five months after the first A.A. group was formed in Cleveland. The articles resulted in hundreds of calls for help from suffering alcoholics who reached out for the hope that the fledgling Alcoholics Anonymous offered.  The thirteen reliable members of the Cleveland group handled as many as 500 calls in the first month following the appearance of Davis' articles. The following year Cleveland could boast 20 to 30 groups with hundreds of members

An Early Guide to the Twelve Steps

Before we had the "12 by 12" this little booklet was used as a study guide by many groups. A later, expanded version was published until quite recently.

Chronic Alcoholism

An excerpt from the book Don't Be Afraid! written by Edward Spencer Cowles, M.D. and published in 1941. From today's perspective some of this material may seem shocking, and yet, pathetically humorous. This physician treated "chronic alcoholics" with this method over a span of nearly 30 years.

Basic Concepts Of Alcoholics Anonymous

Written by Bill W., this article appeared in the New York State Journal Of Medicine in August, 1944.

Alcoholics Anonymous in a Postwar Emergency

Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Vol. 6, No. 2, Sept. 1945

The Society of Alcoholics Anonymous

Letter written by Bill W. read at the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, Montreal, Quebec, May 23-27, 1949

The April, 1950 Jack Alexander Article

The Saturday Evening Post published a second, glowing article about Alcoholics Anonymous. Coming just fifteen years after the founding of A.A., this article is a fascinating snapshot of the early days of the Fellowship.

We Come of Age

Article by Bill W. written in Cleveland, Ohio in July, 1950

Dr. Bob's Last Message

Delivered at the first international conference of Alcoholics Anonymous at Cleveland, Ohio in 1950

Your 3rd Legacy 

A talk given by Dr. Bob and Bill in October of 1950 proposing the formation of  "The General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous" Ė a small body of State and Provincial A.A. Delegates meeting yearly, who could assume direct responsibility for the guidance of the A.A. General Service Headquarters at New York City.

Dr. Silkworth's Death Announcement

From the April 1951 Grapevine

History of A.A. Services

Summary of Bill W.ís talk at the opening session of the General Service Conference in 1951, where Bill discussed the history of AA  services.

Memorial Service for Dr. Bob

A meeting was held at the 24th Street Club House in memory of Dr. Bob in November of 1952. A recording of Dr. Bobís last talk was played and a portrait of Dr. Bob was unveiled. Bill W. then addressed the meeting, and this document records his words.

How the Big Book Was Put Together

A talk given by Bill W. in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1954

Bill W. Talk to the Manhattan Group

Talk given by Bill W. to the Manhattan Group in New York City in 1955 where Bill declares that AA has come of Age.

Bill W.: A.A. in its 3rd Decade

A talk by Bill W. presented to the New York City Medical Society on Alcoholism   on April 28, 1958.

Proposal by Bill W. for Twelve Concepts for World Service

This proposal, delivered by Bill W. at the closing of the 10th General Service Conference in 1960 is of great historical significance as it was the first time that Bill had spoken to the Fellowship on the subject of the Twelve Concepts.

Bill W. at the National Clergy Conference on Alcoholism

A excellent talk given by Bill W. in 1960 detailing the history of Alcoholics Anonymous and Bill's friendship with Father Ed, a recovering alcoholic.

Bill W.'s letter to Dr. Carl Gustav Jung

Swiss psychologist & psychiatrist -Jan 23, 1961 A reference is made on page 26 & 27 of the Big Book.

The 1964 Saturday Evening Post Article Criticizing A.A.

The January 1963 issue of Harpers carried an article which harshly criticized A.A. This was only the first of several articles which appeared in national magazines in 1963 and 1964--including this one in the "Post". As a result, A.A. took its own inventory at the 1963 General Service Conference

Closing Comments GSC 1964

Comments by Bill W. from the closing of the 1964 General Service Conference in New York.

"What Happened to Those Who Left?"

A.A. members can soberly ask themselves what became of the 600,000 alcoholics who approached the Fellowship during the past 30 years but "who did not stay," Bill W., surviving co-founder, suggested in a moving address to the 1965 Conference at its closing session.

Transcript of talk given by Bill W.

Guest House, Lake Orion, Mich., 1968


National AA History - Links

AAkron, Ohio

Large site containing much historical information on Akron, the birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Alcoholics Anonymous, AA, A.A., recovery, meditation, Big Book, Houck, James Houck, slides, videos, prayer, 
alcohol, alcoholism, addictions, drug addiction, Oxford Group, 12 Steps, Twelve Steps, chemical dependency, quiet time, 5 C's, five C's, 
substance abuse, AA books, spirituality, spiritual books, friends of Bill W, Dr Bob, God,, treatment, guidance, 4 absolutes, four absolutes, 
Tucson, Tuscon, Arizona, AZ, drinking, self help

Back to Basics

The primary objective of Back to Basics is to provide the recovery community with meeting formats that are historically accurate and replicate those conducted in the 1940'and 1950's when A.A. experienced a 50-75% recovery rate from alcoholism.  For the most part, these formats have been lost to the fellowship. After many years of research and numerous old-timer interviews, it has become clear that there was more to the "Original" A.A. program than just Beginners' Meetings.(And let us once again state that Open Discussion Meetings were NOT part of the "Original" program.)

Barefootsworld - AA History Pages

holgate[1].gif (7673 bytes)Burke's Holgate Street AA History 

This page features information about alcoholism and the history of Alcoholics Anonymous as well as some other information of interest to me. This is not intended to be an extensive historical site. Rather, this site will present some of the lesser known or less readily available historical information about alcoholism and A.A.

Alcoholics Anonymous & Alcoholics Anonymous History: Dick B.'s Materials on its Spiritual Roots and Successes

Dick B's Materials On Early AA History

Dick B.'s titles and articles cover each of the following six major spiritual roots of early Alcoholics Anonymous in detail: The Bible, Quiet Time, The teachings of the Rev. Sam Shoemaker, The Oxford Group's life-changing program, Anne Smith's spiritual journal, and The Christian literature of the day. His books and articles show specifically how the original principles which made early Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) so successful in the 1930's and early 1940's can be used with the Big Book and modern Twelve Step programs to produce a similar success rate today.

Visit silkworth.net - your global resource for Alcoholics Anonymous 

Provides a vast amount of resources on the subject of Alcoholism and Recovery, especially A.A. history, Big Book online, downloads and much more - half GB of info.


Stepping Stones

In 1979, some nine years before she died, Lois created the Stepping Stones Foundation. The Foundation was to maintain and preserve Stepping Stones in perpetuity. In addition to caring for Stepping Stones, Lois wanted the Foundation to do, in her words, "good deeds" in the field of alcoholism. To that end, Stepping Stones has a dual mission: To contribute to the knowledge and understanding of the disease of alcoholism and its effect on the family and society and to preserve Stepping Stones and its historic archives for AA and Al-Anon members and those interested in alcoholism education and research.

wilsonhouse.gif (4285 bytes)

The Wilson House

In East Dorset, Vermont.  Run by a non-profit organization, the Wilson House now is used as a bed and breakfast, museum, and for AA and Al-Anon meetings.

A word about the advertising:

In an effort to be self-supporting, the Minnesota Recovery Page includes a limited amount of advertising.  The MRP makes a small amount of money when you click on the links below and/or purchase an item after clicking through a link. 

The Sermon on the Mount - The Key to Success in Life
The Sermon on the Mount - The Key to Success in Life

Not God
Not God - A History of Alcoholics Anonymous

Ebby - The Man Who Sponsored Bill W
Ebby - The Man Who Sponsored Bill W

Patrick Butler a Biography Hardcover
Patrick Butler a Biography Hardcover

As Bill Sees It (Hardcover)
As Bill Sees It (Hardcover)

Bill W. & Dr. Bob  5 Year Medallion
Bill W. & Dr. Bob
5 Year Medallion

Click to see many
more medallions

Bill W. (Softcover)
Bill W. (Softcover)

Alcoholics Anonymous - Big Book (Hardcover)
Alcoholics Anonymous -
Big Book (Hardcover)

Huge Selection of AA Medallions

Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers
Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers

Wooden Sailboat
Add an eye catching mini sailboat at home or work for a gentle reminder. Its sails feature the Bertha Calloway quote: "We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails."

The Language of the Heart
The Language of the Heart

Rule #62 T-Shirt

Experience, Strength and Hope
Experience, Strength and Hope

Footprints Pocket Medallion
Footprints Pocket Medallion

Click to see many
more medallions

Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age (Hardcover)
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age (Hardcover)

Huge Selection of AA Medallions

Grateful To Have Been There
Grateful To Have Been There My 42 Years With Bill And Lois, And The Evolution Of Alcoholics Anonymous

Serenity Prayer Mug
Serenity Prayer Mug

Daily Reflections
Daily Reflections
A Book of Reflections by A.A. Members for A.A. Members

Recovery Necklace, Sterling Silver
Recovery Necklace,
Sterling Silver

As Bill Sees It (Hardcover)
As Bill Sees It (Hardcover)

Amethyst Recovery Symbol Earrings (Sterling Silver)
Amethyst Recovery Symbol Earrings (Sterling Silver)

Not God Short Sleeve Red Tee X-Large
NNot God Short Sleeve Red Tee X-Large


The Minnesota Recovery Page is a directory of resources for recovery from chemical addiction in Minnesota. The Minnesota Recovery Page is NOT an organization, nor is the Minnesota Recovery Page endorsed by or affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, or any other group. In an effort to be self-supporting, the Minnesota Recovery Page includes a limited amount of advertising.  The MRP makes a small amount of money when you click on the links below and/or purchase an item after clicking through a link. 

© 1996 - 2011 Minnesota Recovery Page  -  All Rights Reserved


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