The Dr. Bob and Anne Smith Archives was transferred from the attic of Dr. Bob’s daughter, Sue Smith Windows, in Akron, Ohio to a permanent repository at the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies in Providence, Rhode Island. It joined several other collections already housed at Brown including the Kirk Collection (15,000 items pertaining to the temperance movement and early A.A.), the Clarence Snyder Collection (books, pamphlets, letters and ephemera retained by “The Home Brewmeister” from 1938 to1983), and the Ernie Kurtz Collection (research material used to write Not God). The archive contains numerous newspaper articles from the 1940’s. This one, titled, “Co-Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous Is Speaker” provides an early portrayal of the events that led to the founding of A.A. and a description of A.A Group activity in the Cleveland, OH area in 1942. The article states that there are 7,000 members of A.A. and 2,000 of them reside in the Cleveland area. Cleveland A.A.’s were certainly doing something right!!!
Cleveland Plain Dealer–1942 (undated)
Co-Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous Is Speaker
An Akron physician, co-founder of an organization which in the seven years of its existence has restored thousands of hopeless alcoholics to normal living, spoke in Berea last Friday night.
The organization is Alcoholics Anonymous and the occasion was a “round-table” discussion sponsored by the Berea Group of the fellowship. Since anonymity is observed names cannot be published. The co-founder was one of three men participating in the special program. Another was a leader of the movement in Cuyahoga County and the third, a man who was one of the first five members of the fellowship.
Open only to members, the program on Friday night was attended by more than 100, including visitors from various of the 22 groups in Cuyahoga County.
The basis for the fellowship was discovered by a New York stock broker more than seven years ago. Confined to a sanitarium as a hopeless drunk, he underwent a spiritual experience which revealed a way to sobriety. Months later, and still sober, he was in Akron on a business deal of great personal importance. The deal fell through and filled with disappointment he realized that unless he did something about it, he would return to the hell of his drinking days.
Consulting a directory of Akron churches he picked one at random and phoning the pastor asked him if any member of his congregation was afflicted with a drinking problem. Through this phone call the broker and the physician met and Alcoholics Anonymous was born.
For several years development was slow, with small groups in Akron and New York. Later an Alcoholics Foundation was founded in New York and a book “Alcoholics Anonymous” was published. Since then Liberty, Saturday Evening Post and various newspapers have carried articles about the fellowship. It is estimated that there are now more then 7,000 members in the United States. Most rapid growth has been in the Cleveland area where membership is now near the 2,000 mark. The Berea Group has been in existence for a year and a half.
Not at all concerned with liquor as a social evil or a moral problem, AA members are not reformers in any sense of the word. In fact, they respect the man who is what they term a “social” drinker. But realizing that alcoholism is an affliction as deadly as cancer these ex-drunks have banded together to help another in molding a new way of life. Effects achieved have astounded medical authorities.
The fellowship has no doctrines of sectarianism, and does not require members to take pledges of any sort. It costs nothing to join and there are no dues. In the groups will be found members of all religious faiths and those who have religious affiliations. Lawyers, doctors, salesmen, carpenters, mechanics meet on the same plane.
Requirements are that a man or woman admits a drinking problem and honestly desires to do something about it. Spiritually, new members must believe only in a power greater than themselves, and their personal conception of this power does not enter into the picture. Members make no effort to “sell” the plan, but will go to any lengths to help an alcoholic once he seeks their aid.
The fellowship, however, does endeavor to make itself accessible to those who desire to learn more of the movement. For this purpose a post office box is maintained in Cleveland and communications can be addressed to Alcoholics Anonymous, P.O. Box 1688, Station C, Cleveland, Ohio.