By Mitchell K. © 1991, 1997
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Index of Chapter 6

6.1 - The Saturday Evening Post Article
6.4 - 1st A.A. Newsletter - Cleveland Central Bulletin
6.2 - Cleveland A.A. Grows by Leaps and Bounds
6.5 - Army Life in Fort Knox
6.3 - Cleveland Central Committee Formed
Chapter 7: Decentralization - Promises and Reality

Chapter 6.4


1st A.A. Newsletter, Cleveland Central Bulletin, Clarence's "brain-child

Clarence was about to enter the army arid felt that A.A. members in the service of their country were going to be without the benefit of A.A meetings and friends at home, part of the fellowship which had been so successful in keeping them all sober.

He suggested that a newspaper of sorts would be beneficial to himself as well as the other members in the armed forces. Harry D., who owned the D. Company, a printing company on 1104 Prospect Avenue, offered to be the printer for the newspaper.

Many believed that Harry D. was the founder and first editor of the Cleveland A.A. newspaper. But, in a letter to Clarence, dated November 14, 1942, Harry modestly wrote; "See what God wrought! This letter accompanies the second issue of Central Bulletin, which was your brain-child, I believe."

Harry's letter continued:

Naturally I'm tickled pink with it, for it will do a tremendous amount of good in strengthening the localities as well as the men originally intended for - the boys in service.

We have a dandy editorial setup, with S. of course the finest contributor... Mark H. and I are the lesser of the two co-editors and it sure is fun, in spite of the many extra hours it demands.

Volume 1 - No. 1 was released in October 1942. It was printed on both sides of one 8,5*11 inch sheet of paper, promising that "If it is warranted, another page will be used." The size was recommended by the editors, so that, "all issues can be assembled in standard loose-leaf binders."

The standard read in bold letters:



The first page contained an editorial defining the purposes of the newspaper, a small piece on a dinner honoring Bill Wilson, a plea to secretaries to compile lists of all members who were in the service, and a call for a new name for the newspaper. It stated that "This name, 'The Central Bulletin,' does not convey its purpose."

But only one other name was submitted, and the editors decided that the name, Central Bulletin, would remain. The format for the second issue remained basically the same, except that it contained four pages, with the back page an ad reminding people to buy bonds, "For Defense."

The editorial for the second issue dealt with the dinner honoring Bill Wilson. Harry D. wrote Clarence that the editorial, written by S., "was a masterpiece. Incidentally, Wilson's talk was one too." The letter continued to discuss a point which was meant to embarrass Bill Wilson. It seems that a certain, or certain Cleveland member(s) set out to "quiz" Bill on the "financial skull duggery he was purported to have engaged in."

Many in A.A. have blamed Clarence and pointed to him as the one questioning of Bill's financial gains from the A.A. fellowship. But Clarence told the author this was far from the truth. Though Clarence didn't believe in making any money from this "avocation," he never wanted publicly to embarrass Bill.

At the time this situation concerning Bill surfaced, Clarence was in another state and in the Army. He had to hear about these concerns in the newsletter. The Bulletin also contained an article regarding gossip in the second issue of the newsletter. According to Harry's letter to Clarence, this gossip article "will sink home to the perpetrator." It seems that Harry and several other Cleveland members had an idea who this person was, but Clarence couldn't recall why they wouldn't mention his name.

The second issue also announced a 24 hour phone service and listing in the telephone directory. It contained a meeting list and "News from the Camps" letters from those in the service. In that issue, there was a short letter from Clarence stating, "If any of my friends wish to write me, address me as follows -."

The third edition came out in December of 1949. It had a new Masthead. At its center, there was a sun design, with an A.A. in the center, surrounded by the Four Absolutes. On either side of this sun was the title CENTRAL BULLETIN. Also this issue began a series of editorials on each of the Twelve Steps.

The May 1944 issue announced that the:

Central Committee welcomed into A.A. this month, the Arcade Group, formed of alcoholics who had been handling their problems through the Oxford Group Movement (which includes non-alcoholics as well as alcoholics). The group announced its acceptance of the A.A. program based on the Twelve Steps and will limit its membership to confessed alcoholics.

The CENTRAL BULLETIN continued to bring news to A.A. members in Cleveland and to those who had moved on to other areas of the United States New. The October 1944 issue announced the first Young People's Meeting, stating:

Age is no barrier if you wish to participate in the meetings of one of the newest groups, organized in October. The group calls itself the Young People's Group, and it was formed by several of the younger A.A 's... 20's - 30's... But they stress the fact that they do not exclude 'oldsters' from their meetings.

The group met on Wednesdays at 8:30 P.M. in the West Side Evangelical Hall on West 38th Street and Bridge.

The bulletin also announced the deaths of members. One of these articles, in the March 1947 issue read, "One of the founders of A.A. in Cleveland, Charley J___ passed away on the 3rd of March and was buried on the 6th... He was one of the founders of the Corinthians and was the originator of the name of the group." The Corinthians was not a regular A.A. meeting, it was more of a social subsidiary, founded so that members could have a place to socialize and fellowship together.

The CENTRAL BULLETIN is still published today.

The Cleveland Central Bulletin contained probably the best articles and A.A. writings in the 1940's. To delve into these writings at depth would probably increase this volume twofold. A book on the Cleveland Central Bulletin and its importance in A.A. history is in the works.

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