A quote you perhaps know comes out of the 12&12 where it states that AA should remain financially poor: (p165)
"Then our trustees wrote a bright age of A.A. history. They declared for the principle that A.A. must always stay poor. Bare running expenses plus a prudent reserve would henceforth be the Foundation's financial policy." We guess this "bright page of A.A. history" must have yellowed with age to a dull lackluster page. There are no bare running expenses and the prudent reserve runs over $10,000,000.
AAWS Publishing despite its not-for-profit status does rely upon profits to meet the royalty expenses, printing expenses, legal fees and subsidizing AAWS due to lack of member/group donations in an amount needed to run the office.
Outside enterprises are the main source of income to AA book/pamphlet sales. These sales outweigh the sales to members/groups. Hazelden is one of the largest of these outside businesses who purchase AA literature.
Who wrote what in the Big Book?
Team work (Chapters 2 - 9 and 11) - New York City, Akron, Cleveland Joe Worth (Chapter 1 "Bill's Story", probably Chapter 8 "To Wives") - NYC Dr. Silkworth (The Doctor's Opinion) Robert H. Smith (Dr. Bob's Nightmare) - Akron Hank P. (Chapter 10 "To Employers" and "The Unbeliever) - NYC/NJ Fitz M. (Our Southern Friend) - Washington, DC/Maryland Clarence S. (Home Brewmeister) - Cleveland Ernie G. ( The Seven Month Slip) - Akron Charlie S. (Riding The Rods) - Akron Bob O .(The Salesman) - Akron Arch T. (The Fearful One) - Deroit/Grosse Point Dick S. (The Car Smasher) - Akron Joe D. (The European Drinker) - Akron Florence R. (A Feminine Victory) - NYC Bill R. (A Business Man's Recovery) - NYC Harry B. (A Different Slant) - probably NYC Jim S. (Traveler, Editor, Scholar) - Akron Walter B. (The Back - Slider) - Akron Tom and Maybell L. (My Wife and I) - Akron Bill Van H. (A Ward of the Probate Court) - Akron Wally G. (Fired Again) - Akron Paul St. (Truth Freed Me!) - Akron Harold S. (Smile With Me, At Me) - NYC Harry Z. (A Close Shave) - Akron ( later moved to NY) Norman H. (Educated Agnostic) - Akron Ralph F. (Another Prodigal Story) - NYC Myron W. (Hindsight) - NYC Horace M. (On His Way) - NYC Marie B. (An Alcoholic's Wife) - Akron Ray C. ( An Artist's Concept) - NYC/Carmel NY Lloyd T. (The Rolling Stone) - Akron/Cleveland Ethel M. (From Farm To City) - Ohio Bill D. (Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three) - Akron Sylvia K. (The Keys of the Kingdom) - Chicago Earl T. (He Sold Himself Short) - Chicago Esther A. (A Flower of the South) - Texas Abby G. (He Thought He Could Drink Like A Gentleman) - Cleveland Marty M. (Women Suffer Too) - NYC Ruth Hock (Lone Endeavor) [fabricated story, compiled from correspondence with several alcoholics]
Also remember that Jim Scott. (Traveler, Editor, Scholar - 1st Edition) edited all of the Akron stories (except Dr. Bob's) for the book. Several of these original stories pre-editing are stored at the Stepping Stones Archives. We don't know if Jim got paid for his editing expertise and work. There was also another writer who worked on the book shortening it prior to publication -- Professor Tom Uzzel, New York. His payment, if any, is also unknown.
What makes us think that those first members of our Fellowship helped each other unselfishly, expecting no reward in money or prestige?
What says the Big Book?
pg XXV Many years ago one of the leading contributors to this book came under our care in this hospital and while here he acquired some ideas which he put into practical applica- tion at once. Later, he requested the privilege of being allowed to tell his story to other patients here and with some misgiving, we consented. The cases we have followed through have been most interesting; in fact, many of them are amazing. The unselfishness of these men as we have come to know them, the entire absence of profit motive, and their com- munity spirit, is indeed inspiring to one who has labored long and wearily in this alcoholic field. They believe in themselves, and still more in the Power which pulls chronic alcoholics back from the gate of death.
Keep in mind, that one Dollar in 1938 could buy, what today 100 Dollars can. ... A post card needed a 1 Cent stamp only and the average monthly income of an employed worker was around $40.
Now let us look to the records: Bill in his generosity contributed $100 and took $1558 A pretty good deal, so to say.
If you want to read the Business Report of Works Publishing in full length Click here!
So-called "official" AAWS literature repeatedly states our book was a group effort. Bill wasn't the sole author of the Big Book. Unknown by the fellowship he secretly registered as author of the entire volume. When this dishonesty was discovered, he was urged to abandon his stolen "intellectual property". Foreword to the First Edition of the big book.
WE, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book.
Chapter two, pg 19
We have concluded to publish an anonymous volume setting forth the problem as we see it. We shall bring to the task our combined experience and knowledge. This should suggest a useful program for anyone concerned with a drinking problem. Of necessity there will have to be discussion of matters medical, psychiatric, social, and religious. We are aware that these matters are, from their very nature, controversial. Nothing would please us so much as to write a book which would contain no basis for contention or argument. We shall do our utmost to achieve that ideal.
DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, XI. Early meetings and Big Book controversies pg 151
The first two chapters were completed by June 1938, when Bill sent Bob a letter asking, "What would you think about the formation of a charitable organization* called, say, Alcoholics Anonymous?" At one time, this name was suggested just to indicate the authorship of the book: "One Hundred Men," by Alcoholics Anonymous. * footnote: In fact there was such proposal. But it was not Bill's idea. AA archives revealed a document authored by Hank Parkhurst. It was written in March 1938 or earlier. See ../1938/index.htm
Bill himself wrote in The AA Service Manual "AA's Legacy of Service / AA Its Own Publisher":
Fierce argument over these drafts and what ought to go into them was a main feature of the New York and Akron Groups' meetings for months on end. I became much more of an umpire than I ever was an author. Meanwhile, the alcoholics at Akron and New York and a couple in Cleveland began writing their stories - 28 in all.
AA Comes of Age, pg 165, bottom
I began to forget that this was everybody's book and that I had been mostly the umpire of the discussions that had created it.
Copyright registration form "William G. Wilson, trading as Works Publishing Co." . .
Works Publishing Co. was a fake thing. Such company was not existing, not at that time and not later, neither in New York, nor in New Jersey. In fact it never existed. Hank Parkhurst maintained an office at 17 William Street in New Jersey for his company "Honor Dealers" Bill misused this address in Newark. Confusing to the reader: the manuscript of February 1939 was sold out of said address in Newark by secretary Ruth Hock, Parkhurst's employee. But the first printing of the book April 1939 has "Works Publishing Co., New York City" on the title page and gives "Church Street Annex Post Office, Box 657, New York City" as address to order the book on a 7-days-money-back basis.
It was incorporated May23, 1940.
Backside of the form
In the book it said that all royalties go to the Alcoholic Foundation. Everybody should think that nobody makes money out of the book.
Sometimes later Hank P., the director of Honor Dealers, went out of business. A for-profit stock corporation was founded in May 1940, named Works Publishing Inc. was taken over by the Alcoholic Foundation. Dr. Bob, a trustee of The Alcoholic Foundation, received the right to get $500 royalties every three months. June 20, 1940
February 1953 the name changed: Works Publishing Inc. became Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing, Inc., still a for-profit stock company. This was in violation of tradition six: Nevertheless, property reamained under rule of the same family clan. Leonard V. Strong was Bill's brother-in-law, because he was married to Bill's sister Dorothy. Bill also assigned Dorothy and her husband as his heirs to receive cash royalty payments after he himself had passed.
How unselfish and honest AA really was
BB pg13 . . . Never was I to pray for myself, except as my requests bore on my useful- ness to others. Then only might I expect to receive.
Wouldn't the reader think: "An example of unselfishness! "
Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid. It meant destruction of self-centeredness. For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his BILL'S STORY 15 spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trails and low spots ahead.
Strange but true, part of the BIG BOOK was written for a fee, by a paid employee of "Honor Dealers", to be published by a for-profit company (owned in part by that same person), and the name Alcoholics Anonymous belonged to that company. AA, as we know it today, paid three of the authors -real or fancied- while wrote part of the book, and then paid him to buy the book, and continues to pay more than $l million a year to his heirs.
BB pg15 My wife and I abandoned ourselves with enthusi- asm to the idea of helping other alcoholics to a solution of their problems.
The royalties continue to be paid to Lois Wilson's heirs at 15% of the retail price. The Lois Wilson heirs also receive royalties for AS BILL SEES IT, and all other books, pamphlets and articles that Wilson had anything to do with.
BB pg 19 Many could recover if they had the oppor- tunity we have enjoyed. How then shall we present that which had been so freely given us? We have concluded to publish an anonymous vol- ume setting forth the problem as we see it. We shall bring to the task our combined experience and knowl- edge.
While Bill wrote only a small percentage of the entire book, he was paid 100% of these royalties. He left them in his Will to his mistress Helen, and his wife Lois. The payments are now made to Lois's heirs.
It should be noted that the book, TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, was also written while Bill was on the AA payroll. When this AA book first came out it was published by Harper & Brothers Publishing for profit. Royalties were paid for this book too.
Ever seen this one?
Harper also published AA Comes of Age (also as the true first printing and the AA Pub. printing was the first edition second printing).