By Mitchell K. © 1991, 1997
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Index of Chapter 4

Chapter 4:   THE BOOK 4.2 - Publication
4.1 - Its Beginnings and Writing Of 4.3 - The Break From the Oxford Group

Chapter 4


"To show other alcoholics PRECISELY HOW WE HAVE RECOVERED is the main purpose of this book."

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, (New York: Works Publishing Company., 1939) p. vii

Chapter 4.1
Its Beginnings, and the Writing Of

In the early days of A.A., the entire fellowship was bound together by a chain of personal relationships - all created on the basis of a common program, a common spirit and a common tradition.

Milton A. Maxwell, Ph.D., The Washingtonian Movement (From a private paper published by the State College of Washington. Pullman, Washington)

In 1937, William Griffith "Bill" Wilson traveled throughout the Midwest looking for job prospects. He stopped off in Akron, Ohio to visit with Doctor Bob and Anne Smith. Both he and Doc discussed their successes and their many failures. They reminisced about their first meeting and about trying to find some means to help change their lives.

Two years earlier, in a handwritten letter, dated "May '35," Bill had written his wife, Lois, "I am writing this in the office of one of my new friends, Dr. Smith. He had my trouble and is getting to be an ardent Grouper. I have been to his house for meals, and the rest of his family is as nice as he is." This letter which was written on Dr. Bob's office stationary went on to say, " I have witnessed at a number of meetings and have been taken to a number of people. Dr. Smith is helping me to change a Dr. McK., once the most prominent surgeon in town, who developed into a terrific rake and drunk. He was rich, lost everything, wife committed suicide, he was ostracized and on the point of suicide himself. His change, if accomplished, would be a most powerful witness to the whole town as his case is so notorious."

This shows Bill D. (Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three) was obviously not the first drunk that they had tried to "fix." After Bill and Bob "Dr. McK." was the third. This happened even before they tried to fix another guy, Eddy R. as reported in DR. BOB AND THE GOOD OLDTIMERS. Eddy would have been AA #3 in June 1935 but he slipped. He eventually got sober in 1949 at the Youngstown group, Ohio.

The aforementioned letter is presently located at Bill Wilson's home at Stepping Stones in its Foundation Archives and a copy of it at Cleveland Intergroup archives. It is believed to be the earliest correspondence known regarding Bill's association with Dr. Bob. It was written before Bill had moved in with the Smiths and after their first meeting at Henrietta Seiberling's home. Surprisingly the letter —handwritten with pencil— reports an upcoming "audit" in connection with Bill's planned rubber machinery deal.

This contradicts the common story, the deal had already totally failed. And, as the story goes, Bill was tempted by the bar noise in the Mayflower Hotel, made afterwards his miraculous phone call to Rev. Tunks, was put in touch with Henrietta and finally met Dr. Bob. The document does not support this story.

After two years of working with "rummies", Bill and Dr. Bob had helped to "fix" and helped about forty seemingly hopeless alcoholics to achieve sobriety. Almost all these forty members of the yet unnamed society had attained at least two years of solid uninterrupted sobriety. There were others who had difficulty maintaining a consistent sober status. Yet, they too continued to attend the Oxford Group meetings on somewhat of a regular basis.

It appeared to Bill and Dr. Bob that they finally had developed a workable solution to the age old problem of alcoholism. They both felt it would developed into something tremendous if it could be kept in its original form and not diluted or changed by word of mouth as one drunk passed it on to another.

The two founders discussed the possibility of a book which would explain in detail, the life-changing formula that people could follow. The book would contain stories, examples of individuals, hopeless alcoholics, who had attained and continued to maintain their sobriety. This book, when finished would afford many thousands, if not millions of alcoholics and their families whom Bill, Dr. Bob, and the other early members could not personally contact, the opportunity that the founders had had for a changed life. The book would also insure, for generations to come, that this new way of life - as outlined in the book - would not become distorted or changed in any way.

Prior to the publication of the book, and while the first chapter was "being dictated," Henry G. P. ("Hank") wrote the "Sales Promotion Possibilities" and "The Market" for the book. Hank pointed out to Bill the following as to market potential:

"1. Over one million alcoholics (Rockefeller Foundation)

2. At least a million non alcoholics that have definite alcoholic relatives

3. Every employer of 100 or more people

4. Those that take an academic interest

5. Two hundred & ten thousand ministers

6. One hundred sixty-nine thousand physicians

7. The total would be well over three million prospects"

Hank also had proposed an outline for the book, and the outline is located at Stepping Stones Foundation Archives. Even prior to Hank's marketing proposal and book outline, Bill had had similar ideas. With the promotional opportunities which lay before him, Bill's mind had begun to work overtime. Not only would there be need for a book to carry the message, there would also be an even greater need for hospitals and even paid missionaries. Hospitals to house the thousands of new converts and paid missionaries to continue to carry the message and the book around the country. Eventually around the world. Bill's ideas were lofty indeed.

Even though the fledging fellowship had only a small band of forty sober drunks, Bill was thinking in the millions. Not just in millions of new converts, but in millions of dollars as well. However, in order to make millions, there would have to be a good deal of money to promote this new idea.

There would have to be campaign to raise funds. Alcoholism was a plague upon mankind, and the fellowship had found, he felt, the only cure that had worked. And it had worked, at least for them.

Bill had forgotten about the failures of the Washingtonians and of the Temperance Societies. He appeared even to have forgotten the new fellowship's own many failures. Yet Bill thought that, surely, the well-to-do would donate vast sums of money toward this worthy cause. Hadn't some of those same rich people generously supported the founder of the Oxford Group, Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman and donated to other philanthropic causes. Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob felt that they could wipe out alcoholism with their simple plan. But Dr. Bob, though enthusiastic about this idea, did not wish to run off and do something rash.

He calmly suggested to Bill that they get the Akron fellowship together and get its opinions. They could all pray for guidance, and further discuss the idea. Bill was not too keen on Dr. Bob's idea for a meeting, because of the strong possibility that Bill would be voted down. Doc insisted. According to Clarence, Dr. Bob stated that he would not be a part of anything in which the others and God were not involved.

When Doc insisted, he usually got his way. For Bill knew that the majority of successful members were in Ohio and that they were loyal to Doctor Bob. The few members in New York could not possibly carry out this plan without the Akron's help. Bill acquiesced in Doc's wishes and called the members of the New York contingent to tell them of the plan.

The New York members apparently were fired up by Bill's flowery words and promises of fame and fortune. They told him they would vote on his proposal and get back to Bill within the next day or two.

The Ohio members, on the other hand, who were in the majority, not only in sheer numbers, but in length of continuous sobriety, did not get so fired up. They held a meeting. They listened to Bill as he paced the room. Bill waved his hands, and at times pounded his fist on the table. The Akronites watched as Bill lit cigarette after cigarette, often letting the ashes drop on his suit. Bill was an excitable, "nervous man, whose clothing always was full of cigarette ashes. He spoke loud and was always moving around, raising his voice for emphasis and always wanted to be in the front of things" [Quoted from an interview with Sue Smith-Windows, Dr. Bob's daughter].

The Akron meeting listened to all that Bill had to say and then listened to the few words that Doc had to say. Then they decided to have a quiet time and pray for guidance in this matter as they did in all important (and even in unimportant) matters.

The answer that came to them by guidance was almost unanimous, to the man. And they were against the idea of the hospitals and the paid missionaries. They were even against the idea of the massive fund-raising effort. They did however, like the idea of the book, voted to discuss it further, and prayed for more guidance. They too, like Doc, could not be moved from their position.

The debate raged on. Bill continued to promote his ideas to the Ohio members, with times of prayer in between. A final vote was taken upon the urging of Doc.

When the votes were counted up, only the book idea and a proposal for a minimal amount of fund raising, "just to cover expenses" passed. Clarence remembered being told by Doc, "It was real close, I think that it was passed by only one vote." Bill then returned to New York to start the book project, as he and Hank thought they were the only ones with enough expertise to do it. They were also going to try to raise some funds for this venture.

Bill was met at the train station in New York by Hank P., who was waiting - willing and eager to promote this new money-making idea. Henry G. P. ("Hank") was the first drunk with whom Bill had worked that had stayed sober for any length of time. When Hank left A.A. at a later point, he had about four years of sobriety.

Bill had first met Hank at Towns Hospital, which was located at 293 Central Park West in New York City. This was the same hospital at which Bill had several times been a patient. It was there that Bill later claimed to have had his "White Light" spiritual experience.

Hank was a red-headed dynamo salesman and promoter whose head, like Bill's was always filled with grandiose ideas, or so Clarence felt. These ideas had gotten Hank into very high positions in life. However, because of his excessive drinking, Hank had been fired from a Vice President's position at Standard Oil of New Jersey. He then landed in Towns Hospital and was treated for chronic alcoholism. Prior to going into the Towns, Hank had started a new business venture and opened a small office in New Jersey.

And it was in this small office space on the sixth floor at 17 William Street in Newark, New Jersey, that A.A. had its first office. And Ruth Hock, Hank's secretary, eventually became A.A.'s first secretary.

According to Clarence, Ruth was also one of the primary reasons Bill and Hank eventually had a falling out, a few years later. Clarence told the author, "I don't remember exactly who was hitting on Ruth, but one of these birds had to go, it was a real mess."

Both Clarence and his wife Dorothy became very close with Ruth and, in later years, still remained friendly with her. Clarence thought that it was probably Hank who was the one who had made romantic advances towards Ruth and that Bill told him not to. But, as Clarence put it, nobody told Henry G. P. "No" and remained his friend. And certainly not his business partner.

In any event, when Bill returned from Akron in 1937, Hank and Bill compiled a listing of wealthy men who, they thought, would be willing to "pour" money into this noble cause. They had Ruth write numerous letters, and they personally called upon each and every one of the men on their list. They told each man of the "cure" that they had effected, giving themselves and other sober members as living proof of their success. After a great deal of effort, letter writing, cajoling, pleading, and "sure-fire" sales ploys, they had been unable to raise a single dollar. Nor were they able to arouse the slightest interest in the project.

Both men became despondent. It seemed that their grand scheme had fallen apart. Bill was prone to depression and, as early as the beginning of May 1935, he wrote Lois "I am sorry I was blue yesterday" [This letter is located at the Stepping Stones Foundation Archives].

There was absolutely no money to publish the book. Dreams of hospitals and paid missionaries had seemed to vanish, gone up in smoke. However, Bill and Hank would not give up. They were driven men, determined to continue on. Continue against impossible odds to fulfill their dreams. Doc and the Ohio contingent continued with their prayers and continuously added to the numbers of sober alcoholics in their fellowship.

Bill came up with another idea. In the fall of 1937, he visited with his brother-in-law, Dr. Leonard V. Strong (Dr. Strong was married to Bill's sister, Dorothy, was personal physician to the entire Wilson family, and was personal physician to Clarence's sister-in-law, Virginia.) Bill told Dr. Strong about the bad luck that both he and Hank were having in raising the necessary funds to bring their project to fruition. Bill also stated to Dr. Strong that he wished that he (Bill) had entree to John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

John D. Rockefeller's House in Cleveland   John D. Rockefeller's Residence Forest Hill  in Cleveland

Bill was sure that if John D. were to take a personal, as well as financial interest in this great humanitarian work, he would invest heavily in it. Didn't Mr. Rockefeller fight vigorously for the Constitutional Amendment dealing with Prohibition and hadn't he given vast sums of money to that cause, Bill asked Strong.

Dr. Strong listened intently to Bill. He tried to think if he could be of any assistance. After all, he was Bill's brother-in-law, and Bill was indeed staying sober due to this new way of life. A miracle indeed.

Dr. Strong remembered a young woman whom he had dated back in High School. This woman was a the niece of Willard Richardson's and Willard Richardson just happened to be head of all of John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s Church charities. Strong remembered Richardson quite well, and also remembered that Mr. Richardson had solicited contributions from him on several occasions.

Dr. Strong told Bill he would contact Richardson and that he would, in fact, call him on the telephone at his office. During that phone conversation, Dr. Strong explained to Richardson the work that Bill and the others had been doing and about the great success that they had been having in working with alcoholics. Strong also pointed out, at Bill's insistence, the great need for funding and of the lack of success that they were having in securing it.

Willard Richardson became so excited about the idea that he suggested that Bill and Dr. Strong come over the very next day in order further to discuss the group's ideas and possibilities. Dr. Strong begged apology that he could not attend, but wrote a letter of introduction for Bill to Mr. Richardson which was dated October 26, 1937.

Bill attended the meeting with Richardson the next day, and after a lengthy conversation, both decided to set up another meeting. This meeting would be with some of Mr. Rockefeller's close associates. Bill felt that he was on his way to the top.

The proposal for this later meeting was outlined in a letter from Mr. Richardson to Dr. Strong, dated November 10, 1937. This proposal stated that they would meet in "Mr. Rockefeller's private board room." Present, for Rockefeller's staff would be: 1) Richardson, 2) Albert L. Scott, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Riverside Church and President of Lockwood-Greene Engineers, Inc., and 3) Frank Amos, an advertising man and close friend of Mr. Rockefeller. [Years later, in Frank Amos's obituary, he would be lauded as "one of the five men who founded Alcoholics Anonymous." The obituary pointed out that Amos had been a long term trustee of what was to become the Alcoholic Foundation in 1938.] 4) A. LeRoy Chipman, an associate who looked after many of Rockefeller's affairs.

To add legitimacy also invited were Dr. Strong and Dr. William D. Silkworth from Towns Hospital, a renowned expert of that day in the field of alcoholism. Dr. Silkworth would later write "The Doctor's Opinion" in the A.A.'s Big Book. Dr. Bob decided to come, as well as Fitzhugh "Fitz" M., who was the son of a minister and a resident of Cumberstone, Maryland. Fitz's story "Our Southern Friend" appears in all three editions of the Big Book. Also invited were other members of both the New York and Akron fellowship.

This meeting, which was held in December of 1937, proved to be one of the turning points for what was eventually to be known as Alcoholics Anonymous. The alcoholics who were present told their stories about how they were released from alcoholism. When they were through, Albert Scott, who was chairing the meeting, stood up and excitedly exclaimed, "Why, this is First Century Christianity! What can we do to help?"

The dollar signs in Bill's eyes lit up again. Here were Rockefeller's staff asking what "they" could do to help. Bill then began explaining a litany of things the fellowship would need. Money for paid workers and for chains of nationwide and, eventually, worldwide hospitals. The hospitals would be strictly for alcoholics. Then there was the book project and other literature that paid missionaries would be using to help them in carrying the message. Of course, Bill explained, they would start off modestly; but eventually, vast sums of money would be needed if this were to grow into a much needed world wide movement.

Being the promoter and one of the organizers of the project, Bill explained that the profits from the sales of hundreds and thousands of books would get this movement on its feet. However, for right now, they needed a vast sum of seed money to start.

As Dr. Silkworth and some of the alcoholics were caught up in the enthusiasm many expressed pretty much the same opinion. Except, that is, for Doc and most of the Akron contingent present, who kept their reservations to themselves. They were reserving their right to question Bill's motives later.

After the alcoholics had their chance to speak, a most important question was asked of them. A question that would save A.A. for many years to come. A question that would save the alcoholics from themselves.

"Won't money spoil this thing," they were asked? Bill and many of the other New York members sank down in their chairs. Dr. Bob felt God's hand in this reasoning. The question was repeated, "Won't money create a professional class that would spoil their success of working man-to-man? Won't chains of hospitals, property and prestige be a `fatal diversion'?"

It seemed to Bill and the New York alcoholics that all of the complaints and votes expressed in Akron were coming up all over again. Complaints that began both to haunt and send them into a state of discouragement and despair. But it was a saving grace that saner and sober non-alcoholic minds prevailed.

Frank Amos left for Akron that next week. Akron was chosen because it was the most successful in membership numbers and length of continuous sobriety. It was also the most probable sight for the first, if any, of the alcoholic hospitals. This due, in part, to the fact that Dr. Bob, the proposed head doctor, lived in Akron.

Amos went over everything two or three times with a fine tooth comb. He interviewed members of the medical community; families and members of the yet unnamed society; and the clergy, who were involved with them. Amos attended meetings of the Oxford Group and scouted sights for the proposed hospital. He came away from the experience sold on the idea.

Amos returned to New York, as excited as Bill had hoped he would be. In preparing his report, Amos left out no details of what he had seen and found. In his recommendation to Mr. Rockefeller, he proposed that this new society be given the sum of $50,000 which, in today's terms, would have been equal to something between $3,000,000 and $5,000,000. [Weekly income for a simple job was $8 in those years.] This was indeed something worthwhile. Something that Mr. Rockefeller would surely be interested in. It encompassed religion, medicine, reclaimed lives, and families of those who were once thought hopeless. This society had found a solution and had brought it all together in one package.

John D. Rockefeller Jr. read the report and intently listened to the glowing praises of this new work. After careful consideration, and taking into account the reasons for the demise of other such previous ventures, Rockefeller flatly turned down the vast money request that Amos had proposed. Rockefeller stated in all honesty, "I am afraid that money will spoil this thing." He then outlined his reasons, which were almost identical to the concerns expressed by the Akron members. Again, thankfully, saner, more sober minds prevailed. At least for the moment.

It was at this point that Willard Richardson explained to Mr. Rockefeller, the desperate financial predicament that Dr. Bob and Bill were in. He said that, in order for them to continue with this venture, they would need some money, a stipend as it were.

Rockefeller pondered upon this for a moment and then agreed to place in the treasury of the Riverside Church the sum of $5,000. This amount was to be held in a special account so that Doc and Bill could draw upon it as they needed money. Rockefeller warned them, however, that if this new fellowship eventually were to become any sort of success, as he knew that it could be, it must be self-supporting.

Out of that $5,000 that was donated by Mr. Rockefeller, $3,000 immediately went to pay off the mortgage on Doc's home. This, it was reasoned, was so that Dr. Bob's mind would be set at ease since he had thought he wouldn't be able to provide a home to himself and his family. It was felt that release from financial insecurities as to his home would enable Dr. Bob to better care for the alcoholics that were placed in his charge.

The remaining balance of $2,000 was earmarked to be parceled out to both Bob and Bill in the amount of $30 per week. This amount would be used to provide the basic necessities of life for them and for their families so that they could continue working on the restoration of the lives of hopeless alcoholics. ($30 per week translated into late 1990's economics equals out to approximately $2,500 a week, four times what the average worker of that day earned.)

Even though Rockefeller had agreed to give only $5,000, which gave both Doc and Bill an above average income enabling them to devote more time and effort to the new cause, the rest of the men who were at the meeting felt as if more could be done. They proposed that more immediate funding could be made available to this cause by establishing a tax free or charitable trust or foundation. They decided upon this charitable foundation to make funds more attractive to prospective donors and benefactors by enabling them to deduct, as a contribution, any donations or gifts from their personal and/or corporate income taxes. This idea was enthusiastically received by those in attendance at the meeting. Especially by Bill and the New York contingent.

Through the help and assistance of Frank Amos, a young lawyer by the name of John Wood (at the time a junior partner in one of New York's better known law firms), was retained to help bring the foundation idea to fruition.

Wood attended all of business meetings and was instrumental in formulating this new foundation. After much discussion and argument, the fledgling venture was named "The Alcoholic Foundation."

To those gathered at the final vote, the name sounded just as important and prestigious as was the proposed work upon which they were starting. A trust agreement was drawn up, and a Board of Trustees was appointed. Once again, only after hours of discussion and argument.

The Board, it was finally decided, was to be comprised of three non alcoholics - Willard Richardson, Frank Amos and Dr. Leonard Strong. It was also to contain two alcoholic members - Dr. Bob and a New York member, who, at a later date, returned to drinking, and had to be forced to resign. Therefore, this member shall remain nameless.

The momentous founding of the Alcoholic Foundation took place in May 1938. Yet, even though there was now a tax free foundation, and through there were extensive efforts by the Board and a professional fund raiser who had donated his services and expertise free of charge, very little, if any new funding was raised.

Sometime in the early spring, (March of 1938), the early members began writing the first draft of what was later to become known as the basic text of the new fellowship. This was the precursor of the book, ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS.

Recently, a twelve-page, handwritten outline and certain suggestions for the book was found in the archives of the Stepping Stones Foundation in Bedford Hills, New York. Written at the bottom of the cover page, in Bill's writing, were the words, "Hank's Ideas." The author verified that the outline was written by Hank P.

Hank Parkhurst -- He wrote the chapter TO EMPLOYERS in the big book and the personal story THE UNBELIEVER

Hank's document contained an outline of the work, a listing of twenty-five occupations for the writers of personal stories, "Sales Promotion Possibilities, Suggestions for Chapter 1, Observations," and "Questions and Answers."

The "Questions and Answers" were as follows:

1. The question is often asked- where does the money come from this work?

2. How do I know this will work with me? Why is this method better than any other religious method? (It is not- this is only a step toward a religious experience which should be carried forward in Christian fellowship no matter what your church)

3. Will I fail if I cannot keep my conduct up to these highest standards?

4. What happens when an alcoholic has a sexual relapse?

5. There is so much talk about a religious experience- what is it?

On page eight of Hank's document, in the "Observations" section, there is something of an answer to the "religious" question. Hank wrote:

"One of the most talked about things among us is a religious experience. I believe that this is incomprehensible to most people. Simple & meaning words to us- but meaningless to most of the people that we are trying to get this over to.- In my mind religious experience- religion- etc.- should not be brought in. We are actually unreligious- but we are trying to be helpful- we have learned to be quiet- to be more truthful- to be more honest- to try to be more unselfish- to make the other fellows troubles- our troubles- and by following four steps we most of us have a religious experience. The fellowship- the unselfishness- appeals to us.

I wonder if we are off track. A very good merchandising procedure is to find out why people do not buy our products- it is good reasoning to find out WHY- I am fearfully afraid that we are emphasizing religious experience when actually that is something that follows as a result of 1-2-3-4. In my mind the question is not particularly the strength of the experience as much as the improvement over what we were."

Hank, when writing of the "four steps," was probably referring to the Oxford Group's Four Absolutes of Honesty, Unselfishness, Purity and Love. Prior to the Steps being written, the early A.A. members used these principles to keep sober, as well as other Oxford Group tenets.

Hank's ideas as well as those from other members in New York and Akron were guidelines for the writing efforts of AA's founders, who supplied their manuscripts. In any event Hank's outline appears to be the earliest known outline for the Big Book's contents. Hank wrote of the proposed book that it was "...for promotion of cure and understanding of alcoholism."

As a part of the fund raising for the book, Bill wrote his own story, including a report about Ebby's visit at his kitchen table and many other ideas taken directly from Oxford Group literature.

Bill was utilizing the office on 17 William Street in Newark, New Jersey, since Hank's business was almost defunct. Bill traveled daily to the office from his home at 182 Clinton Street, in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, New York. He could write the rough drafts at home, bring them to Newark, and dictated to Ruth Hock what he had written the night before.

Ruth Hock, non-alcoholic secretary of Hank P. She wrote the chapter LONE ENDEAVOR

The drafts for chapters were circulated in rough and unedited form. These were sent to prospective donors. And then Frank Amos came up with another proposal. This, once again, gave Bill new hope.

It so happened that one of Frank Amos's close friends was the Religious Editor at Harper's Publishing. The editor's name was Eugene Exman. Amos thought, Eugene might be interested in publishing a book.

Bill made an appointment and went to see Mr. Exman. Bill arrived at Exman's office with the unedited pages in hand (See Appendix "Bill's Original Story" for a one page example). He spoke to Exman not only of the proposed book, but also of their struggles, failures, and successes. Bill went on to tell of their great plans and of Mr. Rockefeller's interest in the venture. He then handed over the some 1200 lines typewritten by Ruth Hock. Exman was interested, much to Bill's relief. Exman asked Bill if the members could finish the book in a similar style and manner, though refined and edited from its rough form. He also inquired of Bill as to an approximate completion date.

Bill was excited. He answered, "It will probably take nine or ten months." Exman offered the movement a $1,500 advance on royalties which would be deducted from the account when the book was complete and was selling in the book stores.

Elated both with himself and with his apparent success, Bill went back to the Board of Trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation with the offer and told them of their coming good fortune. He emphasized the word "fortune."

It was their consensus that this was indeed the correct route to take. They considered how hard it would be for unknown authors to publish their own book about a "cure" for alcoholism. Especially one written by people who were neither doctors nor psychologists. Harper's was a well known publisher with an excellent reputation and had the means properly to market the book.

But a great deal of resistance developed in the New York A.A. fellowship. They insisted that the book be kept as a Foundation project, and not involve any outsiders or outside enterprise.

The Board was neither moved nor impressed with these arguments. But there were two fractions, each unwilling to move from its position on this issue.

Bill was perturbed. He wanted to do what was right for the fellowship and for himself, but he was at a loss to know which course was right. He wanted to be on the side that was right.

Bill went to his friend and business partner, Hank P., with his dilemma. Bill felt both he and Hank thought alike, and that he would get from Hank the answer he really wanted to hear. Further Bill had asked Hank to submit his personal story for inclusion in the book. This story which would later appear as "The Unbeliever" and was printed in the sixteen printings of the First Edition. Bill felt Hank would return this favor.

Hank came up with the following reasoning: If Harper's, a well known publisher, was willing to pay unknown authors an advance of $1,500 on the basis of a rough draft, he and Bill could, on their own, make millions. Hank was a salesperson of the first order and "sold" Bill on this idea.

Yet it was not so much a sales job as it was a reaffirmation of Bill's own thoughts. Since the Trustees had not as yet been able to raise one cent, and the prospects of their doing so seemed bleak, Hank suggested to Bill that they bypass the Foundation. He proposed to Bill that they put the book on a business basis and not a fellowship basis and that they form a stock company to raise the much needed capital, publish the book themselves, and make payment to Harper's from revenues from the sale of books.

Bill went back to Harper's on his own, without informing the Board of Trustees. He spoke once again with Eugene Exman. He explained what he and Hank had discussed and asked for Exman's personal and business opinion. Bill was prepared for an argument and had formulated in his own mind, sure fire responses that he had rehearsed with Hank in order to bring Exman around to his point of view.

Much to Bill's surprise and consternation, Exman agreed fully with him. Exman explained that, contrary to his company's financial interest, he too felt the book should be published, but fully controlled by the Alcoholic Foundation.

Bill left the office feeling he had to convert the Foundation to his way of thinking. However, when he did meet with the Trustees in executive session, they did not feel as he had thought they would. But it was too late. Despite their objections, Bill's mind was made up. The die was cast.

He had made his decision to bypass Harper's and the Foundation. Bill thought he could draw on the experience of the Oxford Group and on Hank's business expertise. Both Bill and Hank were fueled with high hopes and dreams of success. More importantly, to Hank at least, money. Hank had already started out on his well-planned and formulated sales campaign. He cornered every A.A. member that he could find. He spoke to everyone he knew. He utilized every sales ploy in the book and probably even some that to this day have yet to be written.

Hank was the ultimate high pressure salesperson. So much so that Bill had to go around after him to smooth ruffled feathers, anger, and hurt feelings. This not to mention soothing the suspicions that were beginning to arise concerning the motives of Bill and Hank in all this promotion business.

The early members had firmly believed, recovery work was to be their life's avocation - for free. "No pay for soul-surgery" was an Oxford Group idea. To reclaim lives and "fix rummies" without thought of reward was their tradition. Yet Hank was stressing the millions of dollars to be earned - a dream also shared by Bill.

Yet in only a few short weeks, the members of the New York contingent gave their consent. But it was only lukewarm, and given with reservations. Bill discounted the lukewarm response and reservations preferring to claim their unanimous consent.

Dr. Bob eventually became sold on the idea and became convinced that he too should give his approval. He gave his approval and consent, but he stipulated that this should not be made known to the Akron fellowship. At least, not until the proposal had the full approval and consent of the Board of Trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation. And finally, after much pressure, the Board reluctantly let them go ahead with the proposed plan.

Bill and Hank began formulating a prospectus that would, hopefully, convince the alcoholics who were just beginning to see tangible results from their sobriety. Bill and Hank hoped to get them to part with money. Money which would go toward a company that had yet to publish, and yet to sell a single book.

Prospectus 1938

Bill and Hank investigated cost factors, production, publicity, and distribution. Hank wrote, in his outline for the book, that the title page should read:

Alcoholics Anonymous
Published by
Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc.
A Non Profit Organization* for the promotion of cure and understanding of alcoholism.
* different from the Prospectus for the
"One Hundred Men Corporation",
where profits would go to the shareholders.
He went on to suggest the following publicity:

"Newspapers - When book is nearly ready to leave the presses a short mat article should be sent out to the 12,285 newspapers in the U.S. This article would briefly cover the work as it has gone to date. Case histories would be covered. - It possibly would be a brief case history of the work and announcement of the book. At least four news bulletins should be published at weekly intervals, ahead of the book."

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