Things I would like to get:
Any old Oxford Group or Moral Re-Armament books, pamphlets, or literature
that somebody might have laying around, just cluttering up the place.
Again, Xerox copies are good enough if people don't want to part with the originals.
Likewise, old Alcoholics Anonymous books or pamphlets.
I don't need any more 3rd or 4th edition Big Books, but a first
or second edition would be nice, if somebody wants to get rid of one :-) .
- Information about whether only 2% of alcoholics possess
a gene that appears to modulate the risk of
alcohol abuse, like a reader wrote to me.
This quote is attributed to Bill Wilson:
"We AA's have never called alcoholism a disease because, technically
speaking it is not a disease entity."
== Bill Wilson,
speaking to the National Catholic Clergy Conference On Alcoholism.
Can someone give me a date and a place?
"eMac User" reported
that the date was April 21, 1960, in New York.
A transcript of the speech is available here:
Liberty Magazine [New York, N.Y. : Macfadden Publications, published from 1924 to 1951.] —
(Note that there are now other magazines that use the name "Liberty", including ones published by
the 7th Day Adventists and the Libertarians.
The one we want is the Mcfadden publication that contains the following articles.)
August 6, 1938 article by Emily Newell Blair —
"How Honest Is
The Oxford Group?"
Got it. Thank you Michael.
There was also an earlier issue, 1937, that had an article praising the Oxford Groups, which I would like to see
— "What I Found Out About the Oxford Movement" by Emily Newell Blair.
Got this one, too.
- Sept 1939, "Alcoholics and God" by Morris Markey was an article about Alcoholics Anonymous.
Very, very few libraries archive this obscure magazine, and have those issues. It appears that the following libraries do:
If somebody is at one of those libraries, would they like to please poke
into the archives and see if they can find those articles? Thanks.
- UNIV OF ARKANSAS, FAYETTEVILLE,
- LOS ANGELES PUBLIC LIBRARY,
- FLORIDA STATE UNIV,
- MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM,
- CALVIN COLLEGE & THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, MI,
- MICHIGAN STATE UNIV,
- SAINT LOUIS PUBLIC LIBRARY, MO,
- TRUMAN STATE UNIV, MO,
- BUFFALO & ERIE COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY, NY,
- SUNY COLLEGE AT BROCKPORT, NY,
- OREGON STATE LIBRARY, CORVALLIS,
- SHIPPENSBURG UNIV OF PENNSYLVANIA,
- HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY, TX,
- UNIV OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
Again, done. And thank you all.
Bill Wilson's alleged test results when he took supposedly Thomas Edison's aptitude test.
Did Bill really score high on that test, or was Bill
just fabricating more tall tales,
yet again? Considering
how bad Wilson was at
math and science,
Wilson's claim that he aced Edison's aptitude test is highly
Has anybody seen the results? Is there any record in Edison's papers?
Do we have any evidence at all, other than Bill's bragging, that Bill even took the test,
never mind scored very high, and was invited to join Thomas Edison's staff?
Or is this Revisionist History 101 again?
Records of Bill Wilson's spook sessions, where
he allegedly talked with numerous ghosts and spirits.
The records at the A.A. headquarters are locked and sealed and they don't want to talk about it.
Tom Powers, who co-authored Bill Wilson's
second book, "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions", and then quit A.A.
because he was digusted by Bill Wilson's sexual behavior. Is Tom Powers still alive?
Did he leave us any choice tidbits about Bill Wilson and Alcoholics Anonymous?
A little is known. He has died, apparently at his compound in upstate New York.
A surviving assistant may be able to answer some questions, but I don't know
I have received a few letters about this. See:
I'm still curious, and would like to learn more.
Any old documents from the earliest days of Alcoholics Anonymous. I mean, really, anything. Receipts, scraps of paper, notes,
mimeographed hand-outs, newspaper articles, photographs, anything. It's all historic.
Especially, any of the documents that are kept hidden in the sealed A.A. archives.
What are they hiding?
Financial records of Alcoholics Anonymous, any and all years.
Partially done. I got the Form 990 from many years.
I would appreciate any other secret documents that somebody finds.
References to the Westbrook Pegler column that criticized Bill Wilson and Alcoholics Anonymous.
Westbrook Pegler was a popular syndicated columnist in the 1930s and 40s who was notorious
for his sharp tongue and acidic put-downs.
In 1947, Westbrook Pegler referred to the A.A. founder Bill Wilson as "wet-brained",
and his followers as "effectively deluded".
This was documented in the book of collected letters between Father Edward Dowling and
The Soul of Sponsorship: The Friendship of Fr. Ed Dowling, S.J.
and Bill Wilson in Letters, edited by Robert Fitzgerald, S.J.,
So, the question is, in what newspapers did that column appear? What was the exact date?
Does anybody have a URL that points to a reprint of the column?
Or, best of all, does anybody have a copy of that column?
DONE! Thanks to Todd L.
See this letter.
I hear that around 1990, the A.A. headquarters sent out a memo telling the sponsors to stop
instructing the newcomers and sponsees not to take their doctor-prescribed medications.
Does anyone have a copy of that?
Some A.A. members have denied that such a thing exists, on the grounds that "every
group is independent", and the A.A. headquarters cannot tell the groups what to do.
If that is true, then that is also bad, because no one will stop the bad behavior.
July, 2011: We are getting close. Someone sent in a document that is the first official A.A. headquarters
admission that I've seen that says that sponsors raping under-age girls
in 12-Step groups is a big problem.
Now isn't that telling groups what to do? If the A.A. headquarters can tell groups to stop raping
underage girls, then headquarters can also tell the A.A. members to quit telling newcomers not
to take their medications.
- I would really love to see
"Dear Abby" letters to English Oxford Group members.
I speak German, so language is not a problem. Again, Xeroxes are good enough, I don't
need to get the only copy of rare historic letters. (And anything written by Heinrich Himmler is historic.)
More photographs of Bill Wilson, Doctor Bob, and other early A.A. members.
(I don't need the original photographs for these or any of the following pictures;
just high-quality computer image scans, like at 600 DPI or greater, will be fine.
That gives me some extra resolution to use in cleaning up the images, or zooming,
or enlarging and cropping, or whatever. The extra resolution is especially needed
when scanning photographs from books or newspapers, where the image has been
screened. The screened images will moiré if you don't scan them at the
highest possible resolution, and then you have to burn some resolution (blur the
image) to get rid of the moiré patterns and the dot patterns.)
Photos of early Oxford Group members:
Cebra Graves and Shep Cornell,
and Judge Graves.
Photographs of Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman:
- Photograph of Peter Howard with Lady Diana Mosley and/or Sir Oswald Mosley, or any leading Nazis.
Particularly would like photographic (not computer-scanned) copies of
photographs of the audience behind Hitler at the
1935 Nuremberg Nazi Party Day Rally,
where we can zoom in with a microscope and identify Frank Buchman's face,
and also the Mitford sisters.
Question: Where was Peter Howard during the 1933 to 1938 Nuremberg Nazi Party rallies,
and the 1936 Berlin Olympics? Did he go? Did he meet Frank Buchman or the Mitford
sisters there? At one of the Nuremberg rallies, Unity Mitford went as a representative
of Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists, and she gave a short speech of
praise of the Nazis. What was Peter Howard doing then?
Copies of the Gestapo reports on the Oxford Group (in German, of course):
- Sicherheitshauptambt (1936) Die Oxford- oder Gruppenbewegung, November 1936; Geheim, Numeriertes Exemplar No. 1
- Sicherheitshauptambt (1942) Die Oxfordgruppenbewegung 1939.
I'd like to see a copy of the Cannonball issue that allegedly threatened Dr. Hibben of Princeton University.
The Buchmanites told a story that some students prepared an issue of the Cannonball in February of 1924
that attacked Buchman, and they supposedly threatened to publish it unless Dr. Hibben banned the Buchmanites
from Princeton University.
(See details here.)
That is a very strange story. It makes no sense. Why would Dr. Hibben feel threated by someone threatening
to criticize Frank Buchman's cult?
Out of curiosity: what happened to Arthur James Russell? He wrote
two books of praise
of Frank Buchman and the Oxford Groups, and was the first Oxford Group
archivist, and then he suddenly just vanished from history and the
Groupers never mentioned him again. Did he get become disillusioned with Frank Buchman
and commit the unforgiveable sin of quitting the cult?
I found a hint in a book that A.J. Russell assembled,
called "If I Had One Sermon Only To Preach".
Russell asked a variety of preachers and ministers, "If you had only one sermon to
preach, what would it be?" and then collected their answers and assembled them into
a book that was published in 1938. I recognize the name of a co-editor of the book:
By 1938, Nichols had quit
the Oxford Group and was very critical of it and wrote harsh cricism of it.
Russell must have also quit the Oxford Group by then, else he would not have
collaborated with Nichols. It's a hard rule of cults: Ostracize, demonize, and avoid those who
have quit the cult — especially those who denounce the cult.
For Russell and Nichols to be on good terms in 1938 implies that they
were both ex-members of Buchman's cult by then.
Did Herbert Spencer really ever write the quote that Bill Wilson reproduced in the
Appendix to the second edition of the Big Book?
It originally was printed in the first edition in the story
AN ARTIST'S CONCEPT, by Ray Campbell:
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information,
which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man
in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to
Can anyone find it anywhere in the writings of Sir Herbert Spencer?
One person thought it was printed in Principles of Biology, London, 1864-1867, but
we haven't found it yet.
Now we get two new pieces of information:
- Michael has done a lot of research on that quote, and he found that it actually came
from William Paley, not Herbert Spencer. See Michael's paper here:
http://www.geocities.com/fitquotation/ (Dead Link.)
There is a local copy here:
And still, now I'm hearing that somebody else is saying that it is
from "The Pathology of Trauma" by Herbert Spencer,
2nd edition, Edited by J.K.Mason, page 192.
Can somebody check that?
Michael checked that out, and it turns out that it was a completely bogus reference.
Herbert Spencer never wrote any such book. Somebody else did, and it doesn't contain that quote.
Got a second edition. Thanks, Terri.
A copy of the original 1939 multilith (like mimeograph) edition of the Big Book.
I don't expect somebody to actually send me an actual original copy,
but color computer scans of the pages would be good. —Color to show the age of the paper and
color of ink of any markings or stamps placed therein. Remember that Bill Wilson claimed
that each copy was stamped with a message that said that it
was a "preliminary pre-press loaner review copy", and not a real printing.
Mitchell K. says that is not true at all. He says that he has seen about twenty
of the multilith copies, and none of them was stamped that way.
The Al-Anon speaker's tape where Doctor Bob's son "Smitty",
Robert Smith Jr., tells of the suicide of his own son. — Or an MP3 file of same.
DONE! "Just Me" sent 5 boxes of treasures — she decided to get rid of her whole collection
of stuff from many years in the cult — old tapes, pamphlets, books, papers,
including that tape. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you too.
Somebody did a study that found that they could pay alcoholics not to drink.
They also found that they could pay alcoholics in programs with tokens that would buy a drink.
The alcoholics were allowed to cash in their chips and drink any evening that they chose.
Some of the alcoholics chose to save up their tokens so that they could
really party hearty on Saturday night.
Note that I can always use more — there are a zillion more. Thanks.
If alcoholics were really powerless over alcohol, then that should not
have happened. The alcoholics showed a lot of control over their drinking habits.
So the question is, what was that study? When, where, who?
It was in Herbert Fingarette's book Heavy Drinking.
Somebody did a study that found that upscale, richer, alcoholics were
more successful in quitting drinking. They were more motivated to succeed
at getting their lives back together because they had more to lose than
the down-and-out street drunks who had lost everything (except their
lives, which was next).
So what was that study?
In what publication(s) was the
Patty-Cake Treatment Program
described? I thought that I read about it
in a magazine that was published around
1987 or 1988, but can't find the magazine again. Does anybody know about it?
Then again, I have a suspicion that I might have heard about it on National Public
Radio in 1990 or 1991, in a program about addiction and cures.
Does anybody remember that?
I would like to get information about the new sub-sects of Alcoholics Anonymous,
and the super-star leaders and tape sellers.
They were described to me as:
Mickey Bush (A.A., N.A., C.A.) whose tapes and speeches are adding a
cure-all aspect to the 12 steps;
Wayne B. (Emotional Recovery) This is a sub-sect within A.A., started by Mr
B. & makes A.A.'s even more slavishly consider the 12 steps 24-7.
The Road to Recovery: Another Sub-sect. Allegedly homophobic and
Vision For You: Another Sub-sect. The original sect that the above broke away
Joys of Recovery: Again a sect within a cult...
And then of course there are the really criminal subsects:
Mike Q.'s group in Washington DC,
Clancy's Pacific Group,
and the similar exploitative groups in Phoenix, AZ, and Miami, FL.
The Pacific Group of "Clancy I." has a reputation for being just as bad as
Mike Q.'s Midtown Group.
Also any of their tapes or books that somebody feels like discarding.
(Speaking of which, this "Back To The Basics" subsect is interesting too:
'Return to the Good Old Days of the Oxford Group cult':
I want a word: What is the exact opposite of 'panacea'? (Panamal?)
Where a panacea is a cure-all, something that will fix all of your problems,
what is its opposite, "the one big cause of all your problems"?
I decided on "panmalefic". See the story
That question leads into the next one — another word: What do you call this
phenomenon that I called "seeing through tinted lenses"? I want a better
word for it:
- Fundamentalist Christians see Satan as the cause of all of our problems, and every
bad event on the evening news is seen as further evidence of the truth of that belief.
- Communists see those rich capitalists waging class warfare as the cause of all
of our problems, and the news 'proves' their viewpoint right.
- Other people see it all as conspiracies of the Trilateral Commission and the Illuminati
and the New World Order...
- The X-Files crowd sees everything in terms of Roswell crashes and government
cover-ups and alien abductions and secret organizations and interplanetary plots...
- Neo-Nazis see everything as the Jewish Conspiracy to take over the world...
Once somebody buys into one of those models of reality, a perceptual filter kicks in
where they notice more and more "facts" that appear to reinforce their chosen beliefs,
and they ignore any conflicting information that comes along, so they become
more and more convinced of the correctness of their beliefs —
"It's all so obvious to anyone who learns the real truth!"
So what is a good name for that phenomenon?
It's apophenia. Thanks to UndeRnetJunKie.
I also put apophenia in the Propaganda Techniques web page, here:
Induce and Exploit Apophenia.
Why did Ann Landers promote Alcoholics Anonymous so much?
Why did she
parrot the A.A. party
line so much?
Did she have a relative who was a member?
Was she secretly a member?
Does anyone have any information on that?
Something popped up here:
Roger Ebert outed himself
and Ann Landers, here,
but the story is still incomplete.
Documentation on the A.A. suicide rate. I have a lot of stories and anecdotal evidence
of excessive suicides in A.A., but no good documentation and hard facts.
The full German text of Mein Kampf. That is, the book in German. (I read German.)
This is for historical research, and seeing what the original words were before translators
added their interpretation. The copyright on the book is owned by the State of Bavaria, and
they use ownership of the copyright to prevent anyone from publishing the book. Still, someone
must have an electronic copy somewhere.
I am not interested in redistributing it or helping out Neo-Nazis; I just want to do some historical
DONE. The copyright expired, and it is finally in the public domain.
Past issues of The Grapevine.
Any and all. They are all interesting. And even things like the Australian equivalent of
the Grapevine, AA Around Australia, especially the Spring Edition, No 90., October 1994,
issue, where the Chairman Dr. Ron Whittington declared that A.A. had a 95% dropout rate in the first year.
(Or a Xerox or computer scan of that issue, would be nice too.)
Also, there is an Australian publication called "The Reviver", which is very much like "The Grapevine".
All of those things are very revealing, like
this "joke" from Australia.
Triennial Survey forms for all of the years that AAWS conducted the A.A. triennial surveys.
We now have blank Triennial Survey forms from two years. That leaves many more to get.
1989_Membership_Survey_Form_Blank.pdf ; Size: 244 k
2007_Membership_Survey_Form_Blank.pdf ; Size: 58 k
This wish got granted without me even getting around to putting it on the wish list:
I managed to buy the only available copy of
Preview of a New World by Arthur Strong
Privately printed, apparently in 1993. No copyright notice or date.
No ISBN number.
No Library of Congress number.
Dewey: 267.16 P951
ILL (InterLibrary Loan) number: 3 1120 01925 1791
(Salt Lake City Public Library, 210 East 400 South,
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84111)
This is a fascinating piece of history — a pictorial history of the Oxford Group/Moral Re-Armament,
mostly during the World War II years. I just happened to look for it on Amazon at the right
moment, and got the same copy as I had checked out from the Salt Lake City library about
15 years ago. The rest of the story is
DONE. The copyright expired, and it is finally in the public domain.
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Last updated 21 December 2018.
The most recent version of this file can be found at