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Evening Post Article
article is written by nationally recognized historian and
oft-quoted Alcoholics Anonymous archivist Mitchell K.
1, 1941, the Saturday Evening Post ran an article entitled,
"ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, Freed Slaves of Drink, Now They
article, almost six full pages in length, detailed the workings
of AA. Jack Alexander, who initially started out to expose
AA as a fraud, wrote in glowing praise about what AA was
doing to help reclaim the lives of countless formerly hopeless
March 1941, sales of the Big Book were minimal. AA membership,
though growing was sluggish in scope and numbers. The First
Edition of the book was published in April 1939 and it wasn't
until March 1941 that a second printing became necessary.
to a proposal statement by the Alcoholic Foundation (The
original name of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.)
the article in the Saturday Evening Post "produced
a flood of inquiries." Letters of inquiry to the Foundation
increased to 5,139 and over 15,000 AA pamphlets and 1,749
Big Books were shipped. This proposal stated that, "A.A.
membership has more than doubled, standing now above 4000
members."It goes on to state that "Office activity
continues at a high rate and is thus far in line with our
original estimate of 10,000 inquiries for the fiscal year."
Saturday Evening Post stated that the March 1st issue was
sold out and probably had the largest circulation of any
other issue up to that time. Thousands of people wrote to
the Foundation office and to established AA groups for information
and help. In Cleveland, Ohio, beginners "classes"
were established to handle the large influx of new members.
New ways to deal with sponsorship on a grand scale were
formulated and the new prospects were "indoctrinated"
into the Fellowship. Many new AA groups were formed around
the country and several people who did not have access to
a group "got well" with just the Big Book. Many
of these newly recovered AA members went on to establish
groups in their cities and towns.
was the turning point in the growth and success of Alcoholics
Anonymous. AA had been, according to Bill W., "Put
on the map." Several of the groups around the country
didn't like this new publicity however. They didn't know
how to handle the dozens of requests for help each received.
Many members felt that their anonymity was being threatened
and several wrote to the Foundation expressing their concerns.
was truly on the move and that movement has not stopped
even to this day. Despite the large amount of inquiries
and necessity of another printing of the Big Book, the Foundation
remained heavily in debt. The creditors and subscribers
(those who purchased stock in Works Publishing) had not
been repaid as promised.
to the Alcoholic Foundation, "The book 'Alcoholics
Anonymous' is still heavily in debt -- $7,824.95 was still
due creditors and subscribers as of Sept. 1st, 1941. Since
publication in April 1939, very little book debt has been
retired...Instead of reducing these debts, book income has
been used for the greater part to pay the increasing overhead
of our Central Office so that we could answer the huge number
of inquiries. Plainly speaking, we have been using monies
that should have been paid to creditors for the purpose
of answering pleas for help."
Foundation listed their overhead expenses at that time (beginning
March 1, 1941 through September 1, 1941) as follows:
rent - 30 Vesey St., N.Y.C.
for six month period
necessary office furniture
& (3) stenographers salaries
taxes - Social Security, Etc.
- - -
Foundation further explained that "These expenses have been
met from the following sources:"
donations by the groups
The Alcoholic Foundation
sales of the book
The Alcoholic Foundation
order to help with meeting the growing expenses, the Foundation
suggested that group and member donations be increased
from $1.00 per year, per member to $1.00 per member twice
a year. They also reminded the membership that this request
was, "but a suggestion."
will be revealed...