Alcoholics Anonymous & History of AA
A.A.’s Treasure House of Christian Beginnings
A Project of International Christian Recovery Coalition
By Dick B.
In Appreciation and in Summary
We all deeply appreciate the effort and devotion of A.A. Archivist Jim H. of Auburn, Washington. Jim traveled and researched with us, and drove us around Vermont to St. Johnsbury, Northfield, Manchester, East Dorset, Rutland, Emerald Lake, and Burlington. He also drove us to Gill, Massachusetts, where the Moody Mount Hermon School is located. Jim took pictures and even some video throughout our trip, and has now posted on the Web hundreds of pictures of cities, towns, schools, churches, academies, libraries, books, articles, pamphlets, wall plaques, photos, histories, manuscripts, newspapers, participants, hotels, motels, restaurants, and inns in every place our cadre of recovery leaders and workers held workshops. There are still more photos to be gathered from participants. There is still processing in progress and work to be done on labels. But Jim’s efforts constitute the greatest single assemblage of visual history of the role God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in the origins, history, founding, original program, and astonishing successes in Alcoholics Anonymous history and the Christian Recovery Movement in New England. Those photographed items show the stage set for the Christian upbringing of A.A. cofounders as well as the “Christian fellowship” they founded in Akron, Ohio, in June, 1935.
Preliminary Presentation of Vermont Historical Slide Show Photographs
Among the Historical Pictures Included
As indicated, there is lots of work still to be done in labeling, describing, identifying, etc. And there are many more photos to be added from the work of other Workshop participants.
The following subjects and others are or will be included:
Burlington, Vermont: our arrival and kickoff of the workshops on Sept. 2.
St. Johnsbury, Vermont: center of Dr. Bob’s boyhood Christian upbringing, Sept. 3-5
Fairbanks Inn--many historical photos
Fairbanks Scales Plant--many photos and paintings
Fairbanks family members, homes, patents, and gifts
Dr. Bob’s boyhood home at 20 Summer Street (now 297 Summer Street)
Summer Street School--where Dr. Bob attended
North Congregational Church--where the Smith family attended
Fairbanks Museum--location of thousands of historical records, papers, and manuscripts
Young Men’s Christian Association building and activities (building destroyed by later fire)
Courthouse where Bob’s father, Judge Walter P. Smith, was Probate Judge
Firehouse and public offices across the street--where we obtained Bob’s birth certificate
Athenaeum--beautiful library containing newspapers on microfilm and many items
St. Johnsbury Academy and Grace Orcutt Library
Photos of workshop participants and the restaurant where they dined together.
Village Welcome Center and new location of Town Offices
Panoramic views of village, signs, and well-known historical locations including banks, hotels, and railroad
The importance, significance, influence, and activities involving the “Great Awakening” of 1875 in St. Johnsbury, Evangelists, the YMCA, the Salvation Army, Congregationalism, churches, and the United Society of Christian Endeavor are thoroughly covered and documented in Dick B. and Ken B., Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Good Book as a Youngster in Vermont; and their new book, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, The Green Mountain Boys of Vermont: The Roots of Early A.A.’s Original Program
Northfield, Vermont--location of Norwich Military Academy attended by Bill W. and Ebby Thacher--September 6
Kreitzberg Library--filled with pictures, plaques pamphlets, records, books, histories, curricula, religious emphasis, chapel data, and more.
More data pertaining to Bill W. still to arrive.
Gill, Massachusetts--location of Dwight L. Moody schools and Mount Hermon home—Sept. 6
Schauffler Library--filled with archives and books about the schools, the teachers, Vermont people and evangelists and students who attended, visited, taught, or spoke. YMCA activities; Christian Endeavor; school news; and Moody speeches and events
Place where Dr. Bob’s foster sister, Amanda Carolyn Northrop, taught,
Place where Professor Henry Drummond taught and delivered his famous talk on 1 Corinthians 13. Extensive material by him.
Place where Colonel Franklin Fairbanks of St. Johnsbury frequently visited, held meetings, and became a trustee of the school
Place where F. B. Meyer, the evangelist and Christian Endeavor-YMCA leader spoke.
Place where Dr. Robert E. Speer, author of The Principles of Jesus (origin of A.A.’s Four Absolutes), taught and later became Vice President.
“Launching pad” from which Dwight L. Moody and his partner Ira Sankey visited and held revivals and meetings in Burlington, St. Johnsbury, and other Vermont locations.
Manchester, Vermont--Sept 7-8
Location of Burr and Burton Seminary, attended by Bill Wilson, Ebby Thacher, Bill’s girl-friend Bertha Bamford, and Reverend Perkins’s son Roger.
Location of the home of Rev. Sidney K. Perkins, pastor of the First Congregational Church where Ebby boarded with Rev. Perkins and got to know his son Roger quite well.
Location of First Congregational Church of Manchester, where Burr and Burton “scholars” (i.e., students) attended each Sunday and for special events; and whose members actually help found the East Dorset Congregational Church where Bill Wilson and his family attended.
Location of the huge Burnham “summer home,” where Lois Burnham, her brother Rogers, her father Dr. Clark Burnham, and other family members lived half of the year as “summer people” and then went on to spend much time at their bungalows at Emerald Lake, Vermont (quite near East Dorset) where Bill met Lois and became engaged to her, and where the Thacher family became good friends.
Location of the adjacent, large, George Thacher “summer home,” where the Thacher family (including Ebby Thacher) lived half of the year; where Ebby got to know his Oxford Group mentors Rowland Hazard, Shep Cornell, and Cebra Graves; and where the Thachers also summered at Emerald Lake near the Burnham bungalows.
The Manchester Journal newspaper contains many articles about these personalities
The Mark Skinner Library is where our workshop people did a good deal of research on Manchester, Burr and Burton, the Congregational Church, Bill Wilson, Rev. Perkins, and the Burnhams, Thachers, and Bamfords.
Zion Episcopal Church, where Bertha Bamford’s father was rector; where there is a memorial plaque about Bertha and her death; and where Bill Wilson and Roger Perkins were pall bearers at Bertha Bamford’s funeral.
The Manchester period, people, and events are well covered in the Dick B. and Ken B. Book, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont; Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W.: More on the Creator’s Role in Early A.A.; and some excellent histories of Burr and Burton, First Congregational Church, and Vermont people.
East Dorset and Emerald Lake, Vermont—Sept. 7 and 8
The East Dorset Congregational Church, the Wilson House, the Griffith House and Library, and nearby Mount Aeolus all played important roles in the Christian upbringing of Bill Wilson, the church and Bill’s parents, the church and Bill’s grandparents, and the Sunday school itself, as well as Bill’s Bible studies with his maternal grandfather (Gardner Fayette Griffith) and his friend Mark Whalon.
The events are well covered in Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W.; and Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Boys, as well as Dick B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed. (2010).
More photos and reports are yet to come.
Rutland, Vermont—Sept. 8
This is the town to which Bill’s parents, Bill, and his sister moved and where they lived from about 1902 to 1905.
We have photos of the Wilson home on Chestnut Street, the Longfellow School where Bill attended.
We also have photos of the nearby Grace Congregational Church and are working with its pastor and others to see if there are records of attendance or activity by any of the Wilsons during the period of their Rutland residence.
Burlington, Vermont—Sept. 9: We researched extensively at the Bailey Howe Library on the Central Campus of the University of Vermont at Burlington. The library contains a wide variety historical records on Moody, Congregational Churches, and other locations.