Wednesday, June 07, 2017

The Dick B. Memorial Vermont A.A. History Research Tour, July 17-21, 2017.

The Dick B. Memorial Vermont A.A. History Research Tour, July 17-21, 2017.

I’m planning to be in Vermont from about Thursday, July 13, through about Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Want to join me from July 17-21 for a guided research tour of the area of Vermont in which A.A. cofounder Bill W. was born and raised—i.e., East Dorset, Rutland, and Manchester?

My dad (pen name: “Dick B.”) had 45 titles on A.A. and its history published by the time he passed away on September 12, 2015. And he left me five more books that just needed final editing by me. Those 50 titles were the fruits of more than 29 years of continuous sobriety in A.A. and of more than 25 years of research—beginning in early 1990—on the biblical origins of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Albert (“Ozzie”) Lepper—who in 1987 purchased the deteriorating hotel in which A.A. cofounder William Griffith Wilson (“Bill W.”) was born on November 26, 1895; reopened it as a functioning hotel in 1988 under the name of “The Wilson House”; and completed a major physical rehabilitation of the hotel in 1994 which he had begun in 1987—invited my dad to present weekend seminars on A.A. history at The Wilson House for eight years in a row during the 1990s. And what you won’t hear anywhere else is that Ozzie told me dad that he was refurbishing The Griffith (House) Library so that it could house my dad’s library. (The first installment of my dad’s donation was 23,900 items, and those items and many others are now housed at The Griffith Library.)

In 2006--after reviewing Bill W.’s “autobiography” titled “My First 40 Years”; after studying the available biographies of Bill [e.g., Thomsen (1975), Hartigan (2000), Raphael (2000), Mel B. (2000), White (2003), Cheever (2004), Lobdell (2004)]; and after much additional research—my dad wrote The Conversion of Bill W.: More on the Creator’s Role in Early A.A. (I helped to format and edit that title.)

In 2008 and again in 2012, my dad and I went through East Dorset as part of our efforts to research the Christian upbringings of Bill W. and Dr. Bob in Vermont. We also visited Burr and Burton Academy (formerly Burr and Burton Seminary) in Manchester, Vermont, and spent time there interviewing the archivist who wrote the text for the official book about the school. In addition, we visited Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, and briefly spoke with the assistant archivist at the school archives. We also did a picture-taking tour of Rutland; and we continued to reach out to churches in Rutland concern the Wilson’s church activity there.

And in 2012, my dad and I had published Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont: The Roots of Early A.A.'s Original Program by Dick B. and Ken B.

And we again swung through East Dorset during our fourth Vermont A.A. history research tour in 2013. [Our first tour was in October 2007, but that was focused exclusively in St. Johnsbury, where A.A. cofounder Robert Holbrook Smith (“Dr. Bob”) was born and raised.]

Then in 2014, my dad and I videotaped a class titled “Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the Cure of Alcoholism: The Rest of the Story” which went into more information we had learned about Bill W. (and Dr. Bob).

And since that time, I have continued to research and write—as did my dad until he passed away on September 12, 2015—in large part about Bill W.’s Christian upbringing in Vermont.

In 1979, Ernest Kurtz had written: “Of Bill’s earlier exposure to religion, little is known—probably because there is little to know.” [See: Kurtz, Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, exp. ed. (Center City, Minn.: Hazelden, 1979, 1991), 16.] But had Kurtz gone to East Dorset, Rutland, Manchester, or Northfield, Vermont?

Well, my dad (especially) and I have gone to Vermont numerous times. And there are still numerous gaps in the historical record—particularly about Bill W.’s Christian upbringing—that cry out to be filled.

For example:

1. From what month and year until what month and year did Gilman and Emily Wilson live in The Wilson House in East Dorset;

2. From what month and year until exactly what day, month, and year did Gilman, Emily, and Bill live at a “nearby house” after moving out of The Wilson House and before moving to Rutland? And what was the address/location of that “nearby house?”

3. Exactly when did Gilman, Emily, Bill, and Dorothy move to Rutland?

4. Did the Wilson family attend church in Rutland? If so, which one(s); and from when until when?

5. Exactly when did Gilman Wilson leave Vermont for Canada?

6. Exactly when did the remaining members of the Wilson family (i.e., Emily, Bill, and Dorothy) return to East Dorset.

7. What more is there to learn about Bill’s four years at Burr and Burton Seminary from September 1909 through June 1913—particularly about his religious training there and about his related Christian activities there?

Want to join me in my continuing quest to extend my dad’s work on the biblical origins of Alcoholics Anonymous—particularly, in this case, relating to Bill W.’s upbringing in Vermont?

Come with your questions and research suggestions, or just come and listen. If you’d like, I’d be glad to give you suggestions as to research you can do yourself before, during, and/or after the July research tour. And I may do a series of articles and/or an eBook based on the trip.

The donation for participating in the research tour is $500.00. Please let me know if you’d like to register by email at or by phone at (808) 276-4945, and I’ll send you a Registration Form and/or otherwise help you register. (And please contact me if you would like to see about having the donation made tax deductible.) And if you cannot make it on those dates, feel free to come before the tour dates and/or after them—while I’m in the area—and I’ll see what I can do to make it worth your time. Finally, if you just can’t make it while I’m in Vermont, please consider making a donation of $500.00 to support my carrying on of my dad’s work begun in 1990.

Please note that all travel, lodging, food, and transportation arrangements will be “on your own.” I’m offering some of my time and my help (if you want it) relating to doing research in the area (if you want to).

The Dick B. Memorial Vermont A.A. History Research Tour, July 17-21, 2017.

Hope to hear from you and see you in Vermont!

Dick B.’s son Ken
Email for the Tour:
Phone: 1-808-276-4945

1 comment:

MrSableson said...

Здравствуйте . Спасибо вам за то что вы делитесь такими замечательными фактами об истории АА и первых первопроходцев. Очень интересно и очень познавательно . Огромное вам Thank You!!!!
Paul S. Sober alcoholic city Minsk Belarus.