Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Today’s excerpt from the soon-to-be released Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous:


My wife and I have known, visited, and traveled with Dick B. for quite a number of years. And he has been as a guest in our Ohio home many times when he has come to Akron, Ohio, to visit, research, and speak on early A.A.’s spiritual roots and successes. We both know Dick as an AA who has not only devoted many years and many books to making the history of early A.A. more widely known, but also that Dick has had a particular interest in the wonderful contributions that Dr. Bob and his wife Anne Smith made to that recovery scene at the beginnings of A.A.

As archivist at Dr. Bob’s Home in Akron, Ohio, and as one who takes the archives all over the country so that others will be blessed with an opportunity to see and learn, I have welcomed Dick’s many books on Dr. Bob, Anne, Henrietta Seiberling, and the Akron roots.

But this new book uncovers, to an extraordinary degree, a virtually unknown and yet vitally important part of Dr. Bob’s past—his days as a youngster in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Dr. Bob had made a number of telling statements about his beginnings both in Vermont and in Akron.

He said that he had had “excellent training” in the Good Book “as a youngster.” He twice remarked that he had refreshed his memory of the Good Book in order to set forth the elements of recovery and cure. And he said many times, “We believed that the answer to our problems was in the Good Book,” and he added that old timers believed that the Book of James, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13 were absolutely essential to their program.

Dick has relentlessly pursued Dr. Bob’s library and reading, Anne Smith’s spiritual journal, Henrietta Seiberling’s papers, T. Henry and Clarace Williams’ remarks, and the original Akron seven-point program as Frank Amos reported it to John D. Rockefeller, Jr. He has put a useful picture before us all. More importantly, he showed what pioneer AAs actually did as they emerged from a seemingly-hopeless, medically-incurable state to establish their relationships with God. They achieved a documented, 75%-to-93% success rate—a real model that needs to be known today.

The loose end, the one that aids materially in understanding how and why the early AAs put together such a remarkable program, was what Dr. Bob had learned as a youngster. What Dr. Bob had meant when he said he had received “excellent training” in the Good Book. And Dick and his son Ken have not only traveled to St. Johnsbury, Vermont; assembled books and records; interviewed; and corresponded; they have produced a detailed picture of the biblical influences on Dr. Bob from his parents, his North Congregational Church, his Sunday School, his Christian Endeavor Society activities, and his matriculation at St. Johnsbury Academy. Bob was surrounded by wholesome, godly, Christian training; and he brought the results to Akron to help thousands of AAs get well as he and Bill W. fashioned their early spiritual program of recovery.

I recommend this book highly to AAs and to all those who want to know why Dr. Bob so certainly and emphatically believed he was qualified to say, “Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!” Dick shows you the sources at St. Johnsbury that produced such conviction.

Ray G., Archivist, Dr. Bob’s Home in Akron, Ohio

Be a Part of Something Great –

To the Glory of God

I would like to ask your help in fulfilling a great need and dream concerning Dr. Bob and his “excellent training” in the Bible “as a youngster” in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Particularly as 2007 closes and we look forward to a stellar 2008.

My son Ken and I were finally able to visit St. Johnsbury recently, after having wanted to do so for a long time, for investigation and research there, beginning at 297 Summer Street where Dr. Bob was born. Our trip led to the idea and conclusion that we needed to secure benefactors to enable us to buy, acquire, and assemble a first-class library of manuscripts, books, records, pictures, and other items that would accurately portray the immense amount of religious training that we could see was made available to Dr. Bob by his parents, his church, his Sunday School, the Christian Endeavor Society, revivals, Gospel meetings, conversions, and YMCA outreach. These, as well as the whole Congregational atmosphere in Vermont; in St. Johnsbury; and, in particular, at the famous St. Johnsbury Academy where Bob’s parents were involved and where Dr. Bob received further extensive training through Daily Chapel, required church and Bible study attendance, Congregationalist sermons and talks, and texts.

This plan to put Dr. Bob’s youth back in the recovery picture has enormous proportions and immense value to those who really want to know where the early Akron A.A. program came from, how its ideas were shaped by the “Good Book,” and what Dr. Bob learned in St. Johnsbury and translated to the Akron pioneer program he and Bill W. founded, and he led.

We have been assembling this history for a decade. And, since our trip to St. Johnsbury, we have worked unceasingly for over a month preparing a core library--a multi-volume set of resource binders with thousands of pages of exhibits, citations, and resources. We have also begun work on a new, companion book about Dr. Bob’s youth to accompany the core library.

We request that you (or a group of like-minded people you know) help us fulfill this dream by:

  • Purchasing for $50,000.00 my “core library” of resources on early A.A.—especially including thousands of pages of materials relating to Dr. Bob’s youth in St. Johnsbury.

  • Purchasing my remaining inventory of about 20,000 A.A. history books at a minimum average price of $10.00 per book—which is about a 50% discount on the book prices. Benefactors may arrange to have boxes of these historical books sent to Dr. Bob’s Home, church, and/or archives in Akron, Ohio; or to the Griffith Library at the Wilson House in East Dorset, Vermont; or to Stepping Stones; or to GSO; or to the Seiberling Home in Akron, Ohio; or to other mutually-agreed-to places which will help carry the message to those who still suffer. These would be sent as boxes of books, one or more at a time, for $400.00 per box.

In order to encourage participation in this information outreach idea by those of you who have shown a consistent interest in making known the facts concerning the documented, 75%-to-93% success rate of the pioneer AAs among seemingly hopeless, medically-incurable, real alcoholics who thoroughly followed the original path, I have decided to present to you free of charge in serial form (i.e., one by one) the Introduction and chapter highlights of the more than 20 volumes of historical information I have assembled that will form a part of the core library to be donated at no charge to the non-profit facility most willing to steward and promote the history outreach.

Please consider:

  • Donating $50,000.00 (by yourself or with others as a group) to make possible the immediate placement of the entire Dick B. “core library.” As an alternative, please also consider donating $5,000.00 (or more in multiples of $5,000.00) to make possible an immediate, partial shipment of one or more of the ten (10) segments of the “core library”; and

  • Donating $400.00 (or more in multiples of $400.00) to make possible the sending of one (or more) box(es) of my history books to the historical spots that AAs and other 12 Step people really cherish, hunger to see, and frequently visit—such as Dr. Bob’s Home in Akron, the Seiberling Gate Lodge in Akron; the archives in Akron; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Akron; the Griffith Library at, and the Wilson House itself in, East Dorset, Vermont; Stepping Stones; and/or other, mutually-agreed-upon places.

Please enjoy the enclosed or attached Introduction, excerpts, or chapters from the forthcoming companion volume about Dr. Bob as they come to you. Please send your check to: Dick B., PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837; and, if you wish your contribution to be deductible for tax purposes, make your check payable to: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Akron.

For more information, please see: Or email Dick B. at:

** Revised on November 14, 2007 **

Gloria Deo

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