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GROWTH IN 1940
the Washington Group was getting established in
1939, the national A.A. fellowship was also reaching
a stage of escalating growth. According to statistics
prepared by Dr. Harry Tiebolt, approximately 400
people sobered up in A.A. during 1939 bringing the
total membership to around 600. At the end of 1939
the Washington Group had 6 or possibly 7 members.
In 1940 another 2000 sobered up nationally including
about 70 members from the Washington Group. Another
8000 came into the program in 1941 increasing A.A.
membership to over 10,000 nationwide, and by September
of 1941 the Washington Group had grown to more than
central record has been kept of the founding dates
of the various A.A. groups. A good approximation
of the national A.A. scene in 1940 has been provided,
however, in correspondence between Margaret B.,
secretary for the Foundation in 1948, and Henry
S., of the Chevy Chase Group.
S., who had a longtime interest in the history of
A.A., intended to write a history of the Washington
Group. In August of 1940 and again in 1948 Henry
wrote to the Alcoholic Foundation to ask, "Just
where does the Washington Group stand in the order
of A.A. group beginnings?"
1940 letter to the Foundation requested a complete
list of A.A. membership and mailing addresses. The
Foundation staff, who were at that time learning
to work with the concept of anonymity, refused this
request, but sent instead a list of cities in which
"A.A. activity goes on." The list sent to Henry
included the following 14 cities and the name of
an A.A. contact in each city. The Washington Group
is not included because the list was written for
Washingtonian Henry S., who didn't need to be informed
of its existence.
York, New York
was not a comprehensive list of A.A. groups in early
1940. Instead, it was a list of cities in which
there was an A.A. contact. The list included cities
with established groups; cities in which a few meetings
occurred, but the group failed to survive; and cities
in which a lone alcoholic maintained contact with
the New York Group.
Henry wrote her again eight years later, Margaret
could provide a clearer impression of the state
of A.A. across the country in the summer of 1940.
She said that only about six of the fourteen cities
listed in the 1940 letter actually had A.A. groups
and the remaining eight probably were A.A. loners
or contacts. She describes the groups in these eight
cities as follows:
Richmond Group which was represented by McGhee
B., did not really get off the ground until a
few years later. Dayton did not appear until much
later and it is questionable whether the A.A.
contact listed in 1940 remained in the program.
Larry J. was in Houston, but there wasn't much
of a group there in 1940. The same goes for Los
Angeles and San Francisco, which had a couple
of members each and plenty of headaches before
any established group could be recognized. Coldwater
and Evansville were simply listed for contacts
and the Little Rock entry is questionable.
also provided a description of the groups that did
exist at that time, as she reminisced about her
first six months in the program:
first saw the light of day in A.A. early in 1940,
and that summer Ruth [H.], another member, and
I decided we would visit the established A.A.
groups. So we set out to visit the first one which
was holding regular meetings and had more than
a handful of members. This was Cleveland. We next
went to Chicago, where about 100 members gathered
in a downtown building each Tuesday night. Then
we cut back to Detroit, where I guess there were
about 25 or 50 members. Jackson, Michigan also
boasted of 20 members, and we stopped there. In
order to make a big showing, they had their wives,
husbands, sweethearts, friends, and anyone who
had been dry five minutes come to the meeting.
This was in the good old days when we had to show
the world a large membership, and anyone who could
sit still for 2 hours was counted in. At that
time, I believe Fitz had gone to Washington, and
there were a few scattered members there, but
not what we then called a large group. The same
might be said for Philadelphia and a couple of
awfully hard to specify dates of founding and
ages of groups, for so many personal factors enter.
I imagine that Washington dates their founding
from the time Fitz went there. I know Philadelphia
bases theirs from the date Jimmy [B.] stepped
on their ground.
fellowship was growing at amazing speed in 1940.
By the fall of the year the number of groups had
grown to twenty-two according to a Bulletin prepared
by Ruth Hock at the Alcoholic Foundation on November
14, 1940. The bulletin listed sixteen towns where
lone A.A.s had recovered through the book alone
or from a brief contact with established groups,
five cities where groups were "in a get together
stage," and the following list of communities where
A.A. work was well established and weekly meetings
were being held:
York City, N.Y.
the two lists appear to conflict--Ruth's letter
says there were no more than six groups in the summer,
and the bulletin lists twenty-two in November --
it is possible that the numbers were both correct,
reflecting the tremendous growth of the fellowship
during 1940, just after the Big Book was published.
over the country alcoholics and their loved ones
had tried everything available, and many were willing
to go to any length to find a cure or relief from
their addiction. When Alcoholics Anonymous was published,
word spread through newspapers, magazines, and by
word of mouth. The Alcoholic Foundation was awash
with calls and letters from all over the country
asking for copies of the book. Because the way to
stay sober described in the book was to work with
other alcoholics, twelve-step work proliferated.
only has to witness the amazing growth of the Washington
Group during the first months after it was formed
in order for the nationwide numbers to become more
the New Year of 1940 opened, the small Washington
Group met on Tuesday nights, probably at the home
of Hardin C., because they had not yet found a location
to hold open public meetings. They answered referrals
from the Alcoholic Foundation, twelve stepped local
drunks, and helped each other stay sober. But to
Fitz and Ned, it was clear that in order for the
group to flourish and to carry the message to all
the drunks that needed it, they had a long way to
Alcoholics Anonymous had finally attracted national
attention, the small group of A.A.s in Washington
was still new and unknown. Few people knew enough
about alcoholism or the A.A. program to search out
order to accomplish their goals, the group had to
make themselves better known in the community. They
had to convince doctors, police, and other professionals
that their program was both responsible and a service
to the whole community as well as to sick individuals.
They had to demonstrate that they were not boisterous
drunks, self-righteously preaching during short
periods of sobriety. Above all, they had to convince
the local alcoholics and their loved ones that they
offered a real and lasting solution, not just another
step work and staying sober were the principle tasks
of the members during the first months of 1940,
but word spread rapidly that an Alcoholics Anonymous
group was in Washington. During that year the group
made many new friends in medical, religious, and
civic organizations and brought in new members through
an active twelve step program. But not all of the
early contacts were friendly.
after the New Year, Ned was approached by a member
of the Women's Christian Temperance Union who asked
him to speak to her group. His letter of January
8, 1940, indicates that Ned expected a controversial
evening at the Temperance Union, "Also have talked
to the W.C.T.U. lady and am licking my chops in
anticipation of a riotous evening later this week."
Temperance Union people wanted to outlaw alcoholic
beverages entirely, and the "belligerent drunken
slob" was their best advertisement. They believed
that the work of Alcoholics Anonymous was intended
to help the alcoholic, to relieve him of the compulsion
to drink and help him become a useful member of
society, and that it would make the temperance movement's
proselytizing chore more difficult.
temperance writer described members of Alcoholics
Anonymous as "missionaries of the liquor business"
because they demonstrated that all alcoholics were
not skid row bums, but that they could become productive,
respectable members of the community. Dr. Haggard,
of the Yale Centerfor Alcohol Studies, commented
that, ". . . this attitude makes sense, but it does
not make humanitarianism."
did not seem threatened by the temperance people,
and his later letters do not refer to the outcome
of the meeting. According to Fitz's second wife,
Arabella, however, some W.C.T.U. members tried a
different strategy later that summer. The 1940 series
of newspaper stories by Washington Star journalist
Bob Erwin were a great success, informing the suffering
alcoholics and their families, and public officials
of the existence of the group. The stories also
informed the members of the temperance societies
of the presence of the group, and, according to
Arabella, required Fitz to explain the A.A. position.
(the articles) brought in a great many people.
It also brought in the W.C.T.U! Three very nice
women came in, matronly looking women, and they
were very much impressed with A.A. and one of
them got up and spoke and told how happy they
were that they had found an organization to work
with. They knew that we were all going to get
along beautifully together and we would really
put Prohibition back on the map again! It was
at the time when this W.C.T.U. lady stopped speaking
that Fitz ankled up to the platform and in his
drawling voice, announced very abruptly as well
as positively, that Alcoholics Anonymous had nothing
to do with people who could drink and needed no
help. They were not out to save the world from
liquor, they were out to help those who had trouble
with liquor and a lot of other things he said
in a very nice way but very positively and these
three dear ladies never showed up again!
1940 the temperance societies had already lost the
battle to control alcohol consumption in America;
prohibition had failed. Two powerful new movements
that were changeing the public's conception of alcoholism
had begun in the mid-1930s: Alcoholics Anonymous
provided a practical program of abstinence and daily
living for alcoholics and the Yale Center for Alcohol
Studies provided the first systematic scientific
study of alcohol problems. The heyday of the temperance
societies was over.
of the Washington Group's contacts in the community
were positive. The hard work in the winter and spring
paid off by the end of the summer with a strong,
well organized fellowship that was well known and
respected in the community.
first task, as Fitz pointed out, was to establish
a permanent headquarters so that people attempting
to find the group could easily locate or contact
the group. Renting a post office box and establishing
a permanent mailing address filled this need. Henry
S., who had joined the group in its first months,
worked at his father's printing business, and by
mid-February had designed and printed a simple but
elegant letterhead for the Washington Group stationary.
Part of a letter written on Washington
Group stationary is shown here:
next important task was to obtain a public meeting
place to replace meeting in members' homes. George
S., the Brigadeer General who was in charge of federal
projects in the District, obtained the Veterans
of Foreign Wars Hall at 1700 L. Street Northwest.
The first meeting in the VFW Hall was held on Thursday,
March 21st, at 8:00, and thereafter the regular
meetings were scheduled on Tuesday night. George
S., it should be noted, had been sober about four
months at this time, having been twelve stepped
by Fitz in the fall.
Washington group met at the V.F.W. Hall for several
months, probably from March 21st through sometime
in June, and then met briefly at the Burlington
Hotel on Vermont Avenue. Next they moved to the
Hamilton Hotel on the corner of 14th and K Streets,
NW, where they met until September when they opened
their first clubhouse at 1310 Massachusetts Avenue.
was the nature of the fellowship that as it grew
in numbers and recognition it also increased in
effectiveness. More members meant more twelve step
calls producing still more new members. Regular
meetings in public locations made the meetings predictable
and easy to find. The opening of the clubhouse in
September provided a regular meeting place, a dedicated
telephone number, and a place for new members to
dry out and hang out until they got steady.
time itself was their ally. With every day that
passed each sober member had grown through another
day of sobriety, had learned a little more, and
had more experience, strength, and hope to pass
on to the new members. It is interesting to note
that on January 1, 1940, the cumulative sobriety
of the group was about four and a half years (Fitz
had four years, Ned had six months), but by the
end of the year the accumulated sobriety had grown
to several decades with many members approaching
of the first new members of 1940, and the first
woman member of the Group, was Dorothy H. Dorothy
was fortunate to have an intelligent and sensitive
friend in her Aunt Frances, a non-alcoholic who
worked for the Womens' Bureau. Frances knew about
Dorothy's drinking problem, when she heard about
the presence of Alcoholics Anonymous in the District.
She convinced her niece that the fellowship might
be able to help her with her drinking problem.
members of the Washington Group readily accepted
Dorothy, and elected her group secretary to ease
her discomfort as the only woman in the group and
to help make her feel useful. The tradition of giving
new-comers a "trusted servant" position to help
them become part of the group had already been established
at this early date.
the same months that Dorothy's Aunt Frances was
searching for a way to help her niece, another woman
was searching for a way to help her suffering husband
and having a difficult time finding the fellowship.
the fall of 1939 when Liz E. heard about Alcoholics
Anonymous, there was no A.A. group in Washington;
the nearest established group was in New York. As
the new year began the newly formed group was meeting
in Hardin C's house. Their existence was known only
to a few friends and the Alcoholic Foundation in
New York. It was difficult for a sober, intelligent,
and resourceful person to find the group, and for
the drunk himself it would have been almost impossible.
The story of Liz and Bob E. illustrates how hard
it was to locate the new group.
the fall of 1939, while her husband, Bob, was out
of work and suffering repeated alcoholic binges,
Liz heard about a group of people who could help
people with drinking problems like Bob. But she
did not know the name of the group nor how to contact
it. None of her friends had even heard of the group.
exhausting all the sources she knew, Liz wrote to
Homer Haskin, an Evening Star columnist, asking
for information about a group called Anonymous Inc.
Neither Mr. Haskin nor anyone else at the Star had
heard of the group, but on January 6, 1940, Mr.
Haskin wrote to the Federal Council of Churches
of Christ of America, asking if they knew anything
about Anonymous Inc. The letter from the Council
of Churches dated January 13, 1940, provided the
January 13, 1940
My Dear Mr. Haskin:
reply to your inquiry of January 6 I am
sorry to have to say that I do not know
anything about the organization called "Anonymous,
Inc." I wonder, however, whether your inquirer
may not have confused this with the movement
known as "Alcoholics Anonymous." This is
a group of former alcoholics who meet in
New York to strengthen one another's resolution
and to help alcoholics to reform. This is
a very informal organization, so informal
that perhaps it can hardly be called an
organization. Those interested meet, I believe,
in Steinway Hall, New York. They have recently
published a volume entitled "Alcoholics
Anonymous" which comes from the press of
the Works Publishing Company, Church Street
Annex, P.O. Box 657, New York City.
Haskin forwarded the reply to Liz, who then wrote
to the address given for the Works Publishing Company.
On February 28, 1940, she received the following
reply from Ruth Hock, secretary of the Alcoholic
Dear Mrs. E---,
you for your recent letter. We know you
realize how similar are some of the stories
in the book Alcoholics Anonymous and what
you tell us of your husband. It is difficult
for any of our members to be helpful to
other alcoholics unless they themselves
sincerely desire to stop. You stated in
your letter that usually toward the latter
part of his sprees he begs you to get someone
to help him and we are wondering if that
would not be a good time to tell him of
Alcoholics Anonymous, what they have accomplished
and what they are trying to do. You, of
course, would more easily recognize the
opportune time to present him with this
idea than we at this distance, however,
it would undoubtedly help.
have a small membership in Washington, D.C.
and we would like you to get in touch with
Mr. Edward F---, c/o University Club, Washington,
D.C. We assure you that you will find Mr.
F--- interesting and understanding for he
has gone through the difficulties of alcoholism
himself and will appreciate an opportunity
to discuss the matter with you. Perhaps
such a personal talk will prove more helpful.
let us hear from you again at any time if
we can be of further assistance.
receiving the letter, Liz contacted Ned, who described
the program to her and invited her to the next meeting
at the V.F.W. Hall, where they could discuss her
problem. Liz took her girlfriend along and together
they attended meetings until Bob's binge had run
its course. Then she brought Ned home to make the
twelve step call. The twelve step call was successful,
and Bob had become an active member of the group
by the end of the summer. Liz continued to attend
meetings as she had before Bob joined the group,
and she remained a member of the group until her
death in 1988.
Bob and Dorothy were fortunate because there was
someone in each of their lives who loved them enough
to search for help and who was diligent enough and
competent enough, or lucky enough, to find the A.A.
group in Washington. But, making A.A. accessible
to everyone who needed it was a problem for the
members of the Washington Group just as it was for
the larger fellowship nationwide.
A.A.s used whatever means were available to bring
A.A. to the attention of the public. Experienced
A.A.s traveled from group to group, criss-crossing
the country, to share their experience, strength,
and hope, sometimes gaining valuable publicity for
local groups or the overall fellowship. One of the
best known members of A.A. during that period was
Marty Mann, who was also probably the most influential
woman in the alcohol treatment community.
Mann is cited by a number of sources as an organizer
of A.A. in Washington. She may have spoken at a
meeting in the fall of 1939, but there is no real
evidence to prove that she did. There are, however,
indications that she was in Washington in the spring
of 1940. Bill W's letter to Ned F. dated April 4
said, ". . . he [Fitz M.], along with Marty Mann,
can't say enough complimentary things about the
way everything is working out down there." Fitz's
letter to Bill said, "Bring Marty along. Another
trip this way will do her good. Tell her I had a
nice chat with Betty, who seems all pepped up from
that first spring and summer, Fitz and some of the
others worked on developing contacts and furthering
the cause of the suffering alcoholic in as many
ways as possible. While a surprising number of the
ideas and personal contacts were highly productive,
not all of them worked out. The alcoholic farm idea,
for example, received support from many quarters,
but was not publicly implemented.
May 22 letter told how he and Jimmy were working
on the alcoholic farm idea. He says, ".. . someone
should get busy on this alcoholic farm business
and keep interest stirred up - Jimmy B. has Preston
lined up (he is the head of the State Hospitals
in Md) for a conference at 3 P.M. on Monday next.
Jim wants me to come to Baltimore to sit in."
alcoholic farm concept remained with Fitz through
the summer and in an August letter to Bill he wrote,
"Ray Huff, the superintendent of the Penal institutions
of the District, is a man who is very interested
in the A.A.s and is out to cooperate with us 100%.
We have quite a fine alumni association from Occaquan,
the work house, already, and some action going on
inside." He goes on to explain that in addition
to Mr. Huff, he has been working with two of the
Commissioners of the District of Columbia government
to get the alcoholic farm plan rolling. He asked
Bill for advice on how to proceed with this work,
and Bill replied with a well thought out four page
analysis of the alcoholic farm issue.
the summer of 1940 came to a close the group had
already grown considerably. The original "boys of
,39", Fitz M., Ned F., Bill E., George S., Steve
M., and Hardin C. were central. Dorothy H. became
the first woman member of the group.
the members who joined the group during its first
months was, Henry S., who worked at his father's
printing business. By mid-February he had designed
and printed business stationary for the Washington
A., a well known Virginia businessman, joined the
Group very early and made frequent trips to New
York to learn from the established group there.
He later financed the church in Rosslyn, Virginia,
known as St. Exon's.
H., a Rhodes Scholar who was employed at the 1940
equivalent of today's Goodwill Industries, came
into the fellowship during these early months. Bill
V., a recovering New Jersey alky, began spending
time in the Washington area. He later made his home
in this area after coming to work for a government
agency, and served as an officer of the club. Bob
and his wife, Liz E., who helped him stay sober
through the next 48 years, became active members.
very active members during that first year included
Eddie K., Kev S., and Len H., and a Dutch plumber
named Paul K., but little is known about them because
their names do not appear in the documentation of
BOB ERWIN ARTICLES
the biggest boost the Washington Group got during
that first year was a series of articles in the
Evening Star written by Bob Erwin, a non-alcoholic
journalist. The series alerted the suffering drunks
of the District to the presence of the A.A. group
in town. The seven articles in the series described
the fellowship in a straightforward and honest way
and helped the community to accept the new fellowship.
the time these articles were written, Alcoholics
Anonymous had received little attention in the press.
Seven months earlier, in September of 1939, an important
article was published in Liberty magazine, but at
that time A.A. had no central office or staff to
answer calls or inquiries. Many people who read
the Liberty article sought further information about
the fellowship, but they were forced to write directly
to the author, who forwarded their letters to Dr.
Bob at Towns Hospital. A few months later, an article
in a Houston newspaper provided good exposure for
the fellowship. In his letter of April 4, one month
before the Erwin article appeared, Bill W. told
of the impact of the Houston articles.
don't know whether you have ever heard of our
Houston delegation so I'll tell you the story
briefly. One of the Cleveland, Ohio men with everal
ribs and one lung missing and a very bad case
of alcoholism besides, went to Houston, Texas
for his health. Within two weeks he had a job
on the Houston newspaper and several days later
appeared in it's columns with six daily articles
on A.A. Many people here think its the best publicity
we've had yet. Anyway, it was so well thought
of we added a few things like the Silkwood article,
etc. and had it printed in the form of a small
Bob Erwin articles were important to the general
A.A. fellowship, but they were particularly significant
to the Washington contingent. The first article,
"Victims of Alcohol Hold Weekly Meetings to Aid
One Another in Overcoming Weakness of Drink," which
appeared in the May 5 Sunday Star, stretched across
seven columns of print and contained a picture of
an A.A. member making a twelve step call at the
bedside of a drunk. The article began this way:
Anonymous, the nationwide brotherhood of alcoholics
who have banded together to help one another lick
their common illness - alcoholism, has established
itself in Washington.
movement, and such it has become, reaches the
Nation's capital after five years of successful
trial in other cities, trial that helps prove
the contention that an alcoholic understands the
problems of an alcoholic better than anybody else.
article described the program and gave the address
of the Alcoholic Foundation in New York. It noted
that the founder of the organization said that the
recovery rate was 50% to 60% and that there were
then 600 recovering alcoholics in the fellowship.
original article also reported that a "colored group"
had started meeting in Arlington on Thursdays. The
group was founded by an area businessman who recognized
that some of his employees were in need of the program.
The founder referred to in this passage is Bill
A., who owned a lumber business in Arlington, Virginia.
paragraph at the very end of the article, caused
some concern for both Fitz and Bill W. because as
Bill wrote, ". . . the job-getting paragraph may
bring you a lot of headaches." The offending paragraph
read as follows:
new comes out each meeting. At the end, however,
the spirit of brotherly love stands out even more
strongly when some A.A. brother stands up on a
chair and announces that Mr. So and So, a brother
on the way back, needs a job. The others rise
to the occasion. If they have no job open, in
the case of members who are employers, if the
do not know of a job somewhere, they collectively
go to work to find one for the man.
spite of this troublesome paragraph, the article
was a great boost for the Washington Group. During
the week after its publication, the New York office
received twenty letters from the D.C. area, many
of them citing the article. Erwin got approval from
his boss to begin a five or six part series about
the Washington A.A. group. The rest of the articles
in the series, Fitz wrote, "...will clear up the
idea that this outfit is in the job-getting business."
in reality, the job-getting paragraph was not entirely
in error. Some people found work through A.A. contacts,
and two Washington area organizations, the Washington
Federation of Churches and the Life Adjustment Center
on Columbia Road, worked together specifically to
secure work for some of the alkies.
original Erwin article along with the six part series
were reprinted twice for distribution by the Washington
Group and the Alcoholic Foundation. Several changes
were made in the original article. The title was
changed to "Experience Elsewhere Indicates Success
of 'Alcoholics Anonymous'," and the paragraphs on
"colored group founded" and "jobs" were omitted.
Comparison of the two reprints shows how the group
grew during the year between them: the 1940 edition
lists membership of the Washington Group at 50,
and the 1941 reprint shows it to be 200.
these summer months, A.A. in Washington was booming.
Publicity, twelve step calls, and contacts with
influential members of the community were making
the group a highly visible presence in the federal
city. The day after the first Erwin article was
published, Fitz wrote, "I missed the Tuesday meeting
but understand there was a full house and it was
the best yet... We have lots of boys in action throwing
their alky brothers into Gallinger and what-not.
I've been answering the telephone all day. . ."
WASHINGTON GROUP MEETINGS
the summer of 1940 wore on, the Washington Group
continued to hold only one meeting aweek. The meetings
were mostly speakers meetings in which two to four
members told their stories and discussed the principles
of the program. There were neither step meetings
nor discussion meetings. Although the twelve steps
appeared in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, the book
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, which was the
first A.A. literature to discuss the twelve steps
in depth, had not yet been written. There were no
old-timers; Fitz had the longest sobriety in the
Washington Group, with five years, and the second
longest was Ned who had been sober about one year.
The concept of sponsors had not yet been developed,
and new members learned the program by listening
and identifying with the experiences of others,
and by doing what they were doing to stay sober.
A.A. speakers meeting, however, was firmly established
by 1940, and it has retained the form developed
in the early years to the present day. The articles
written by Bob Erwin during the summer of 1940 describe
A.A. meetings that could have occurred in the 1990s
as easily as the 1940s. The articles preserved the
essence of several meetings over the summer and
confirm the unchanging quality of the speaker meeting.
an article entitled "Honesty With One's Self A Prime
Requirement," Erwin recorded the message of a young
attorney in a federal bureau whom he called Mr.
X. This anonymous person was Ned F., one of the
two A.A.s who had over one year of sobriety and
the only one of the two who worked for a federal
emphasized the principles of honesty and humility
as he told his story and discussed the eighth and
ninth steps. It is clear from this transcript that
the format of speakers meetings has remained relatively
unchanged over the years.
false pride," he affirmed, "if you don't admit
that Old John Barleycorn has you licked. Not until
I admitted that did I stop drinking. A friend
gave me a copy of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous,
at the time I had been drinking for a month, but
I was not very happy. I had just spent two months
in a 'gooney roost'. That's one of our names for
an institution for alcoholics. Then I started
that smacked of religion sounded like rules to
me, " Mr. X. continued, "and if you don't follow
them you're out of the club. The first meetings
I attended some one walked up and said 'Hello
rummy.' That appealed to my sense of humor. As
f religion, I found I could suit myself about
that. Now I am convinced that religion is the
cornerstone of the whole thing.
have got to want not to drink," he said. "With
me, it was a gradual process. Some of us, of course,
have got all fired up with this thing right away
and have stayed quit. As for religion, I have
a simple faith, and as you know, we have no connections
with any particular group.
this point, Mr. X. took up two points in the 12
steps that a confirmed drunkard follows to become
a working member of Alcoholics Anonymous. They
are, "To make a list of all persons we had harmed
and become willing to make amends to them all"
and "To make direct amends to such people wherever
possible, except when to do so would injure them
you go to a chap who you have wronged when he
thinks you are a heel," Mr. X. pointed out, "and
if he still thinks so when you leave, you've lost
nothing. You can't quit alcohol or anything else
if something is biting you. I admitted my wrongs
and it was like a spring house cleaning. In other
words, I got the beer bottles out of the way and
put away the dice. When you do that, though, you
can't sit back and do nothing or the house will
get dirty again. This thing is a continuous proposition."
had the wrong idea of what religion was," he concluded,
"There is some Power in this world to help you
if you want to lead the right kind of life."
another article later that summer, Erwin described
a meeting in which Jimmy B. told about recent A.A.
developments in Philadelphia. The theme of Jimmy's
talk was the cooperation between the A.A. group
in Philadelphia and the members of the medical profession
in that city to help alcoholics.
keystone to the Philadelphia system is the Philadelphia
General Hospital where many confirmed drunkards
eventually wind up. The hospital's doctors became
interested in Alcoholics Anonymous about a year
ago and the group has been holding its weekly
sessions at the hospital in recent months...Mr.
B. related, 'We are allowed access to the hospital
any time, day or night, we are welcomed there,
and we frequently take in alcoholic victims or
take them home when they are discharged. Two of
the doctors have relatives in our group, and in
this way they came to know us well."
talk that night may have influenced thinking in
the Washington area, for the Washington A.A. group
developed a close working relationship with the
staff of Gallingers Hospital during the coming year
that was similar to the Philadelphia relationship
described by Jimmy. In the months after this talk,
Gallingers began to issue special cards to assist
A.A. members who brought drunks to their doors.
Image of a [Gallinger Card]
unique relationships between local A.A. groups and
the hospitals that served the area were especially
important because most of the hospitals in the country
were still turning alcoholics away from their doors.
These hospitals not only accepted alcoholics, but
they also went to extraordinary lengths to assist
the A.A.s who were helping the alkies.
the Erwin articles, the local A.A. group remained
a newsworthy item. Nothing special occurred to warrant
the story below; it was primarily a public service
of the newspaper, keeping the new group before the
public. Although the date was cut off this article,
it was undoubtedly from the summer of 1940, when
the group's Tuesday night meetings were held in
a hotel instead of a clubhouse. The article also
gives insight into one of the group's efforts to
attract attention to its presence.
Washington Chapter in recent weeks has varied
its routine toward the social side, at the same
time keeping up its Tuesday night sessions. A
second luncheon be held tomorrow noon at a restaurant
downtown, while on Sunday afternoon, a member
will again play host to the A.A.s with an open
house at his home in Chevy Chase.
article contained a bit of A.A. social history under
the subtitle, "Refreshments Served." The speaker
was probably Jimmy B. again, giving a lesson on
how to nurture a group of people who might not have
been inclined to stick around after meetings.
feature in Philadelphia", he explained, "is our
refreshments. We serve doughnuts and coffee every
evening. It costs little and keeps the group sitting
around and talking after the meeting is over."
WASHINGTON GROUP COMES OF AGE
the spring and summer the group continued to grow.
An active twelve step program brought in new members,
problems were solved, and lives were salvaged. Little
documentation exists describing the personal stories
of the individuals in the group. Fortunately, there
is significant documentation describing the growth
of the group and the founding of the first clubhouse.
the summer drew to a close, the initial crisis of
organization had passed; the group had grown to
sufficient size, and its members were gaining solid
sobriety. Since the end of May, the group's Tuesday
night meetings at the Hamilton Hotel had averaged
over forty people, three quarters of which were
alcoholics. By September the membership of the group
had grown to over seventy. In nine short months
the Washington Group was founded, formed, grew,
and had come of age. And, almost as if they knew
that someday a history would be written, the early
members left a wonderful record of their feelings
on the occasion of coming of age.
late August, Bob V. informed the Alcoholic Foundation
that Ned had declared, "the Washington Group is
done organized," and he described the organization
in these words:
. . 3 committees as follows: Contact Committee
(new cases) - Henry S., chairman; Instructions
Committee - Ned F., chairman; and Visiting Committee
(old members, slippers, ect.) - Don S., chairman.
Organizer was Bill A. & committees are large
with rotating chairmen and membership. Everyone
seems very serious d about the whole thing &
a real effort is being made so that everyone finds
something to do."
same drama that had played out at the national level
was being repeated in Washington. Just as the A.A.
founders struggled to establish the fellowship and
obtain recognition, the individual groups in each
new city struggled for local recognition and respect.
In order to function effectively, the groups needed
a permanent location with a telephone and an address
where the A.A.s could receive mail and respond to
calls for help. As autumn approached, the Washington
Group searched for a suitable location for a permanent
clubhouse -- a general headquarters in which to
continue their work.
no amount of historical research could describe
the founding of the new clubhouse as well as the
letter written by Martin F.
you no doubt know, we are getting a club house
- move into it tomorrow night, in fact, and will
hold our first meeting there immediately after
place is a former studio on the ground floor of
an apartment house at 1310 Massachusetts Ave.,
NW. It consists of three rooms - one large room
to which another somewhat smaller room is connected
by large folding doors. Off the smaller room is
a little bedroom which will do for the caretaker,
when we find him. There are two baths, which solves
that problem, and a sort of enlarged slot
that will be ample for storage of folding chairs,
has been estimated that 125 people can be accommodated
without too much crowding. All considered, it
would appear that the place will do admirably.
are starting cold, of course, no furniture except
for 100 folding chairs, fifty of which were promoted
by the indefatigable Henry S., for free.
other necessary items will come through. The entire
membership has responded magnificently, both financially
and otherwise. It took some time for the idea
to germinate, but once the snowball started it
picked up speed at a great rate.
F--- was literally drafted to run the place, at
least until it is on a going basis. We all felt
that job demanded a person with more than a year
of sobriety in back of him plus a knowledge of
how the N.Y. house has been handled. These two
qualifications are possessed by Ned with an adequate
amount of toughness tempered by tolerance, he
damn well got the job. Of course, we all pitched
in and helped him and will continue to do so,
with the result that a minimum of his time is
required for the actual performance of the necessary
from Best Regards. Martin F.
so the Group was formed - one week shy of a year
after the Alcoholic Foundation had welcomed Fitz
to Washington and sent him his first referral.
group held three formal meetings at the club house
each week and the doors were kept open every day.
The club became known to the general public through
a series of newspaper articles which listed the
address and the times and places of meetings.
the end of the first year, there was a single well
established A.A. group in Washington. There would
be only one group in the city until 1945, when five
new A.A. groups were formed, one of them designated
a colored group in the world before integration.
At that time, the traditions had not been formally
established, and there were many lessons to learn.
Many lessons were learned during that first year,
but there were more to come.
a letter dated Nov. 23, 1940, Fitz discussed a variety
of topics, including travels, gossip and new developments
in the fellowship. He then gave a description of
the new committee system that must have developed
after the group moved into the club house:
have at last gotten organized after the usual
wave of pros and antis, and with the usual intolerance.
Nothing like itto bring consolidation and harmony.
God created the world out of chaos.
galore and nobody going to have their feelings
hurt for being left out because there are enough
committees to take care of them all. When there
are not, we'll create some more. The Control Committee
of the outfit is likened unto the Supreme Court.
It rotates and rotates, by seniority chooses the
heads of the other committees. The Program Committee
and the leader of the next meeting get together
and go to town putting on a good show. (See enclosed
card for sample -- The judge happens to be our
friend, Casey. He will probably see a lot of very
familiar faces. Slippees, who have seen the card
will no doubt be conspicuous by their absence).
The Membership Committee considers the status
of applicants for membership (we intend to make
it an honor to be an A.A., so tied up with the
liquor interests when things get so then things
get so that the normal (?) drinkers can serve.
The House Committee, makethe Club House and does
the bouncing. Also has charge of The Hospitality
and Membership Committee the waterfront. Now that
all this is organized, everybody seems to be happy
and active. The Committees have yet to be chosen,
but are functioning anyway under the wise administration
of the chairmen who seem to pick on anyone at
have an idea that the time is nearly ripe for
us to draft a book of suggestions for the use
of new groups. I see no reason why they should
not have the opportunity to profit by what has
already been learnt.
this letter he also suggested that some attention
should be paid to the wives of alcoholics and that
a pamphlet "To Wives of Alcoholics" might be helpful.
said that "the Thanksgiving feed and frolic at the
Washington Club house was a grand success," but
he did not fill in the details. It is, however,
clear that the members of the new group had a lot
to be thankful for.
the first year the membership grew from six in the
winter of 1939 to seventy-eight in the fall of 1940.
The group contacted and gained the respect of professionals
in the medical, social, and legal institutions that
dealt with alcohol problems in the area. One of
the major hospitals in the area, Gallingers, even
issued special privilege cards to A.A. members to
facilitate twelve step work around the clock.
Hock, the Alcoholic Foundation secretary, commented
on the growth of the fellowship and attested to
the coming of age of the Washington Group.
won't go into much detail about how things are
going nationally. It is amazing though, and this
thing is certainly a rolling stone that gathers
no moss, for the larger it grows the faster it
rolls, and vice versa. I've been getting together
as complete and accurate a list as possible under
the circumstances, and out of it arises the amazing
figure of 1400 A.A. members coast to coast, with
new developments everyday.
wrote that she was sending along "a mere two inquiries"
and that she had received no real calls for help
from the Washington area.
continued, "It looks to me as though you are either
catching them all locally, or else you cleaned the
city of D.C. all sanitary by this time - all the
alkies in the fold so to speak."
as one walks the same streets of Washington, DC,
especially the blocks northeast of Farragut Square,
it is difficult to imagine the world the founders
of the Washington Group lived in. It was a world
in which the alcoholic was out of control and hopeless,
and in which little help was available anywhere.
But, for the founders of the Washington Group of
Alcoholics Anonylmous, the world was their oyster.
world was filled with the elements of excitement,
hope, and fellowship that have always bound together
members of A.A. They were pioneers struggling to
create a fellowship where none had been and to work
the program where it had not worked before. The
world they lived in and their mission supplied the
components that define true fellowship. Bernard
Smith, a past General Service Board Chairman, quoted
a noted religious leader's description of this fellowship.
conditions are necessary for true fellowship:
The possession of common ideal involving a complete
release from selfishness and division. The discharge
of a common task big enough to capture the imagination
and give expression to loyalty. And the comradeship,
the "togetherness", thus involved as we find out
the joy and power of belonging to an orga society
and engaging in a whole-time service. We can find
it at its fullest extent where the task extends
and integrates every element of our being, where
comradeship is so solid and deep that we respond
one to another without conscious effort, realize
the unspoken need, and react to it spontaneously
and at once.
such conditions, all vitality that we usually
waste upon our jealousies and our vanities - upon
keeping up appearances and putting other people
in their proper place - becomes available for
SCRIPT: FITZ AFTER 1940
of the story of the early years of A.A. in Washington
is told through the eyes of Fitz M., mainly because
he was the central figure in the story and because
he was a prolific letter writer.
entire life changed in the winter of 1939-40 and
he never returned to the life he led before. That
winter he left his family in rural Maryland, moved
to Washington, DC, founded the A.A. group that would
occupy much of his time, and met the woman who became
his second wife.
Fitz met Ruth J., she was the wife of an alcoholic
named Norman. In the fall of 1939 she had read the
Liberty Magazine article about Alcoholics
Anonymous and realized that perhaps the fellowship
could help her husband. In response to a letter
she wrote to the Alcoholic Foundation, Ruth Hock
told her that Fitz M. would be in Washington in
the near future and that he could be contacted at
his sister Agnes' apartment. When Ruth met him,
Fitz had "more or less a temporary home at a boarding
house near Florida and Connecticut Avenues. He was
always welcome, they tucked him in whenever he happened
to be in town."
story of Fitz and Ruth's relationship provides some
enlightening insights into his character and also
into A.A. life during this formative year. Many
years later, Arabella M. (Ruth) told how she was
introduced to the A.A. fellowship and how she came
to attend her first meeting.
my husband, Norman, got interested in A.A. and
called Bill A., the big lumberman, and rather
a political figure in Arlington County. . . .
Bill A. invited him to come and said he was coming
by for him, which he did, but N.T. [Norman] had
never shown up - he had gone off on a binge in
the meantime that afternoon. . . So Bill went
on to the meeting and Steve M.s' wife called and
told me about the medicine to give - to put N.T.
out of the picture temporarily, and she came out
in the car and took me to the meeting. . . .
May Ruth J. threw her drunken husband out of the
house and made a decision to take in several of
the A.A.s who were staying sober and needed a place
to sleep. Four of the members, including Fitz, moved
into Ruth's house, apparently on the condition that
they get jobs and helped to pay the rent. After
a few weeks, though, none of the alkies were working
and Ruth's good will wore thin.
a letter dated May 22, Fitz told Bill that he was
completely broke financially and was thinking of
going to Cumberstone to stay with his old friend
E. Churchill Murray. Three days later, Ned's letter
to New York told Bill that Ruth evicted all four
of her alcoholic tenants.
August Fitz was hired by the W.P.A. to work on the
Historical Records Survey where, as we saw above,
he was earning $82.50 per month.
this time Fitz's wife Elizabeth was thoroughly disgusted
with him. His sister Agnes reported that Elizabeth
confided to a mutual friend that Fitz had caused
her great hardships and that he would not leave
her alone. She said that he continued to make her
life unhappy and that his children were afraid of
to Ruth, during most of 1940, Fitz was in and out
of the Washington area, staying with friends, and
that his vagabond lifestyle was part of his way
of spreading the A.A. message.
he'd be invited some place and then he'd stay
a day or two. If the situation became a little
difficult, any wrangling or fussing among the
people he was with, he'd say, "Well, God doesn't
want me in this irritating situation." So he would
just take off, he'd grab his hat, bag and off
did that practically all up and down the coast,
and he never seemed to get a job, every time he
thought he had one, right in the palm of his hand,
somehow it would slip through his fingers and
I believe that God had a lot to do with that.
Because Fitz - it brought him into all manner
of homes, the poor and the wealthy and where he
was one of the family because he had no funds
of his own.
I remember, all he had was one little worn out
bag that he used to carry an extra shirt in and
a couple of pairs of no funds of his own and in
that way he really spread the A.A. gospel and
plus, the plus was really the spiritual.
had been a strongly spiritual man all of his life,
and he believed that one must live his beliefs rather
than just talk about them. In an oral history interview,
Arabella remembered a little exercise she and Fitz
did to learn what God's will for them was at that
. . I remember how we figured it out - that it
didn't matter where we sat in a train or a bus,
that we weren't to pick out or chose the ones
that we would want to sit by, we were to go on
and leave it up to God to set us down where ever
we were supposed to. And invariably we would sit
down beside - I did that myself, too, a good many
years, someone that was very unattractive physically,
many times educationally, none of our own choosing,
but in the end by sending up a little prayer for
this person, God seemed to open up the conversation
and shortly we would begin to talk and it was
surprising how many, in fact, almost 100% of these
instances, the other people were in great need,
and through us, God was able to give the help
deeply spiritual nature was remembered by those
who knew him, and it permeated his correspondence
with A.A. members and other friends. If two themes
ran throughout his life, they were spirituality
and financial insecurity. Indeed, it seemed that
his spiritual side precluded his involvement in
such worldly activities as working for money and
the accumulation of material possessions -- almost
as if he had taken an unspoken vow of poverty. Throughout
his A.A. career, Fitz was motivated to do good works,
but when it came to "what men call a job," he was
not interested. Fitz was a man with a mission, and
he was a dreamer.
his Big Book story, he was able to examine his financial
situation and his troubled mental state and find
salvation in a higher principle, "Nothing is right."
He wrote, "Finances are in bad shape. I must find
a way to make some money." He was tempted to drink
over his problems and wrote, "I cannot see the cause
of this temptation now. But I am later to learn
that it began with my desire for material success
becoming greater than my interest in my fellow man."
of his letters to Bill W., a letter Bill referred
to as the "long letter," provides an opportunity
to experience Fitz's character and also to see that
A.A. has not changed much over the years. In many
ways, the letter could have been written by a member
of A.A. in the 1990s. The letter also shows Fitz's
interest in A.A. history.
received your letter of Oct. 30th and appreciate
your thoughts. When you were here I was in a state
of mental darkness, which condition had been prevalent
for some time and which would have prevented any
exchange of constructive ideas by the meeting
of our minds. I have just recently begun to snap
out of it, after reaching a point where I accepted
conditions, including failure to understand the
darkness, as a part of my education and development
of both patience and faith. As you know I am on
W.P.A. with the Historical Records Survey. I used
to orate about how I would never work for the
government, and the idea of being W.P.A. was about
as nauseating as they come. On the other hand,
I had a great desire to get some income which
would enable me to eat and be "off the hook" and
pass on to the others who are seeking what I have
been finding myself. Your old saying of "being
willing to walk up Fifth Ave. in a sheet" is easy
to subscribe to usually, but quite different when
it appears in another form. I was quite thankful
for the W.P.A. job with its $82.50 per month when
I started on it. My prayer had been answered for
I could now live fairly comfortably, eat regularly,
sleep in a bed other than somewhere on somebody's
studio couch, and still have time to be in circulation
as we are only allowed to work 60 hours per month.
I have seen much dizzy thinking in the past three
months, and have contemplated a Book of Revelations
on the experiences. I can see now that the experience
for me has been excellent. First, I have had some
of my own thinking verified by observing and analyzing
the procedures and thinking (or lack of it) of
people with wrong, mixed or no motives; secondly,
I have been given an opportunity to exercise my
mind which needed an easy beginning along the
line of continuity of activity to accomplish little
things. I have been practically my own boss so
that I've had to hold myself in line in regularity
which brings one to the point of accepting things
as they are without being disturbed or in a state
of wishful thinking. Everything rolled along swell
for a while and I stayed on the thankful came
ambition to 'make something of myself', 'to be
a success' and with that came dissatisfaction
and a multiplicity of devils that beset me.
began taking myself very seriously - conceived
the idea that I would do some research work in
the libraries and write a book, signed up for
a course (night) at the National Archives which
requires study, contemplated divorce and remarriage,
and became so busy that I was annoyed by A.A.'s
and all its works tho' I still forced myself to
appear interested when I was braced up by the
boys - The net result of this was just what we
know it leads to and I just got more confused
and unhappy. Yet like the 'alkie' who don't know
why he drinks, I was unable to see at the time,
why the "blackout". . . .
Tuesday night I decided that I was a dry cow with
no milk so to hell with the meeting - However,
about 7:45 PM as I lay on my bed oozing self-pity
and blind to its source, I thought of some of
the fellows who would be there and suddenly realized
they were my friends and that I wanted to see
them - As there was only one way to do that, I
put my hat on and shoved off and the closer I
got to the meeting, the brighter my spirits became.
So then Howard C. saw fit to pay me the great
tribute which though undeserved was the means
of getting me out in the open and I had to come
clean with the truth which seems to mean something
to some of them. I don't know what others got,
but that meeting surely fixed me up. Wednesday
I went witsome others to Baltimore and we struck
up with Ed, Posey, Bill W., Dr. Hammer, and another
man from Philly which was a joy to me. Thursday
night I led the meeting for men alcoholics only
- and the clouds are certainly lifting. I expect
to leave here Saturday and drive with Don S. to
his home in Franklin, Pa. and go on with him to
Cleveland for a meeting, returning on Tuesday.
about the report to the Foundation - I can truthfully
say that reviewing the history of the foundation
situation, that I have no ideas concerning it
at all and have ceased to have for some time.
Maybe we are blocked from seeing a new course
holding on to any ideas that the Foundation plays
any real part in the real growth of this fellowship
- The process is the vital thing, not any particular
accomplishments that we feel should be achieved
. . . . Because the A.A. is a process rather than
aachievement, many things that look all cock-eyed
and wrong are simply a part of growth . . . I
think some day we shall wake up and see that a
great deal more has happened than we could possibly
conceive is in making.
woke up at 12:30 and have been going along pretty
steady and it is now 3:00 AM. So I shall flop
back in bed, thankful that tomorrow is Sunday.
Recently, I have begun to see things that lie
ahead. Just remember, Bill, out of chaos comes
order. Whatever is going to be is going to be.
. . .
My best to Lois, Fitz
the fall of 1941 Fitz landed a job that he enjoyed
and was good at, only to find it interrupted by
the entry of the United States into World War II.
He was again working as a school teacher, this time
at the Landon School for Boys in Chevy Chase. This
was clearly work that Fitz put his heart into and
work that he was good at. Arabella recalled the
events that cut short this job.
owner, the one who had this school, told him that
he had never had things run so smoothly before
Fitz came and was anxious for him to stay on permanently
and wanted to give him a lot better job and any
salary that he would stipulate himself. Also a
cottage that they had out there for some of the
war interrupted that - he was about 45 then, and
he knew he would be called, so in the fall of
1942, he decided that rather than start school,
it would be better for him to go ahead and enlist
and get himself into the service and get it over
with, rather than have school interrupted by having
to get another teacher to replace him. Which he
did, and they took him on and sent him to Florida
and various other places and finally, he landed
out in Biloxi.
the Army Air Corps, he lost weight, developed severe
health problems, and was discharged early to work
in war industry. On January 17, 1943, he and Arabella
were married. On April 4, 1943, his old A.A. friend,
Dr. Bob, did exploratory surgery and discovered
the cancer of the rectum that would take his life.
Fitz's final letter to his lifelong friend E. Churchill
Murray gives the best summary of the events in the
last months of his life:
|Hines Veterans Hospital,
April 20th, 9AM
snowing hard and has been doing so all night
- Strange to spend a winter among flowers
and birds and then see so many snow storms
in April. Your letter of April 6th took
quite a trip, first to Biloxi, then forwarded
to Akron, then to Washington, DC and finally
to me. So now I's sending a few lines to
tell you a little about myself tho' I believe
Arabella has had something to say on the
subject of my being here.
developed rear-end trouble while in the
Army about November, it got worse - was
to have been operated on at station hospital
but an epidemic of something prevented.
Was to have gone back to hospital but got
a discharge to go into an essential war
industry after having been refused it. In
the meantime Arabella came on from California
and we got married.
might have stayed in army and demanded medical
attention, but I was not impressed with
the kind I might get a Keesler Field. Application
to Veterans Bureau failed to get me in Vets
Hospital at Biloxi so after Arabella got
over flu we lit out for Akron, Ohio where
a good A.A. friend of mine is a renal doctor.
I applied again for admittance to Vets hospital
near Cleveland, but couldn't get in even
tho the President had signed a bill making
Veterans hospital facilities available for
the disabled of World War II
doctor friend was dubious about my working,
but I got a job with Goodyear Aircraft and
survived 12 hours a day (including to and
from work) for 10 days - then went to a
private hospital where the doctor, Bob Smith,
cut into me and discovered cancer. - That
created a new situation with Arabella really
out on a limb. Fortunately, she had worked
at the Veterans Administration and knew
General Hines, the head of it. She phoned
him and asked him to get me in Walter Reed.
He said yes, then phoned her back that I
should come here as its supposed to be one
of the greatest cancer hospitals in the
country (other troubles also).
I lost 31 pounds while in the Army, they
were trying to fatten me up and get me built
up. I believe they intend to operate on
me next week. I am very thankful to have
gotten in here, believe me, as it answers
several problems especially concerning Arabella.
I am quite comfortable now tho' my disintegrating
chassis was giving me hell. I am enjoying
relaxing and reading and rest and can say
that I am unconcerned and at peace within.
tough experiences are simply part of a great
adventure and part of a great education.
Why separate in our minds the continuity
of the life of the soul just because the
body in which it is housed for awhile becomes
no longer fitting for it? If we could see
everything ahead there would be no adventure.
Maybe they will patch my chassis up, maybe
not. What of it? I am not the master of
my destiny, but there is One who is and
He loves each one of us tho' ofttimes we
would doubt that because we cannot see the
whole, the finished plan of the great Builder.
Would people feel a need for God were there
not trials and tribulations?
things needs must be, for man has been his
own God with his own aims and purposes and
he cannot find the realities of eternal
life until he seeks them - To do that he
must cast out beliefs he has held to and
with the mind of a child accept without
questioning and with trust the circumstances
whatever they appear to be.
shall close - wish I could get hold of that
gill net with you and Bro.
Love to all, As always,
PS. Agnes only one who knows about
than six months later, on October 4, 1943, Fitz
died. He is buried at the Cemetery at Christ Church
near his home at Cumberstone. He rests only a few
feet from where Jimmy B. was later buried.
the endnotes and appendices have not been digitized
yet, but will eventually appear on the internet.