1938 Original Manuscript for 1939 1st Edition BigBook Searchable 1976 3rd Edition BigBook On-Line
The Prescription
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A Big Book Trivia of Some Missing Facts

This is a help to study the Big Book, to fill in some of the "missing facts," answering some questions. Have your big book open to check these out.

In the Roman Numeral Section:
1. - Page xiii – "more than one hundred"
2. - Page xvii - "The very first case"
3. - Page xxvi - "We believe and"
4. - Page xxix - "Man brought in"
5. - Page xxix - "Man deciding his situation hopeless"

In The First 164 Pages:
1. - Page 2 - "Night Law course"
2. - Page 3 - "worked on a farm"
3. - Page 4 - "Friend he telephoned in Montreal."
4. - Page 4 - "Wife's parents"
5. - Page 7 - "Brother-in-law the Physician"
6. - Page 7 - "nationally-known hospital"
7. - Page 7 - "Belladonna Treatment"
8. - Page 7 - "Kind Doctor"
9. - Page 9 - "Details of the airplane charter to complete a jag."
10. - Page 9 - "The two men who appeared in court with Ebby"
11. - Page 15 - "The Western city"
12. - Page 16 - "Poor chap who committed suicide in Bill's house"
13. - Page 26 - "The certain American businessman"
14. - Page 32 - "The man of thirty"
15. - Page 35 - "Jim the Car Salesman"
16. - Page 39 - "Fred the Accountant"
17. - Page 43 - Staff member at a world renowned hospital"
18. - Page 50 - "American Statesman"
19. - Page 55 - "Minister's son and atheist"
20. - Page 80 - "Accepted money from bitterly hated business rival. "
21. - Page 96 - "One of our fellowship who failed entirely"
22. - Page 102 - "Many of us keep liquor in our homes"
23. - Page 124 - "We know of Situations . . . Love affairs"
24. - Page 135 - "heavy smoker and coffee drinker"
25. - Page 136 - "The member who spent most of his life in big business"
26. - Page 138-139 - "Executive of a bank who was undoubtedly alcoholic."
27. - Page 140 - "Prominent Dr in Chicago"
28. - Page 149 - "The little company and the two employees"
29. - Page 154 - "Clergyman"
30. - Page 156 - "The head nurse they called"
31. - Page 156-157 - "The man on the bed"
32. - Page 158 - "Campaigns and speeches"
33. - Page 158 - "Devil may care young chap"
34. - Page 159 - "Who were the 'seven more'?"
35. - Page 160 - "One man and his wife place their house at AA's disposal"
36. - Page 161 - "The community is thirty miles away."
37. - Page 162 - "Well known hospital for treatment"
38. - Page 162 - "One of our member's was a patient there."
39. - Page 162 - "Dr. at the hospital"
40. - Page 162 - "Eastern City"
41. - Page 163 - "AA member living in large community"
42. - Page 163 - "Prominent Psychiatrist and his clinic"
43. - Page 163 - "Chief Psychiatrist of a large public hospital"

In Dr. Bob's Story
1. - Page 171 - "Small New England villiage"
2. - Page 172 - "One of the best colleges in the country"
3. - Page 173 - "One of the largest universities"
4. - Page 174 - "Another of the leading universities"
5. - Page 174 - "Western City"
6. - Page 175 - "Local Sanitariums where Bob committed himself"
7. - Page 175 - "Scylla and Charybdis"
8. - Page 175 - "Local hospital"
9. - Page 175 - "Dr. from Dr. Bob's hometown"
10. - Page 178 - "The crowd of people Dr Bob was thrown in with"
11. - Page 179 - "Lady who called on Anne S. Saturday"
12. - Page 179 - "The friend at whose home Dr. Bob woke up"

Roman Numeral Section

1. - Page xiii –- Foreword to the First Edition

"We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body." was a total experience of 74 members from 1935 through 1938 as the original manuscript went to press, 41 known to have achieved permanent sobriety, a slight "alcoholic exaggeration," unless the wives were counted also. Florence Rankin, the first woman to achieve a considerable period of sobriety, and the only woman sober at that time, went back to the bottle and died an apparent suicide in 1939. See Pioneers of A.A.  Return

2. - Page xvii -- 3rd paragraph -- "Very first case..."

The very first case that Bill and Bob worked on was Eddie R. They were not successful with Eddie. He was from a prominent Youngstown, Ohio, family, had lost his rented house and was about to lose his job. At Doctor Bob's funeral in 1950, Eddie R. was there with one year of sobriety.

The first "successful" case was Bill D., AA member number three. Bill D's sobriety date was June 26, 1935, 16 days after Dr Bob's. Return

3. - Page XXVI -- 1st paragraph -- "We believe and so suggested a few years ago..."

This was stated in an article in the "Lancet Journal" published in 1937. Return

4. - Page XXIX -- 2nd paragraph -- "man was brought in to be treated for chronic alcoholism ..... gastric hemorrhage ..... Pathological mental deterioration."

Hank P. -- His story in the first edition of the big book was titled "The Unbeliever". Hank was a high-pressure kind of guy. He was called a "promoter among promoters". Hank had worked for Standard Oil of New Jersey. He was the 2nd member in New York. Hank wrote chapter 10 "To Employers." He subsequently relapsed in September 1939, and never again gained any degree of sobriety.  Return

5. - Page XXIX -- 3rd paragraph -- "and deciding his situation was hopeless, had hidden in a deserted barn determined to die."

John Henry Fitzhugh M. His story is in all of the editions of the big book, titled "Our Southern Friend". Fitz was from Hancock, Missouri and got sober in November 1935. He was 12 stepped by Bill from Towns Hospital and was considered AA number 3 in New York. He attended the Rockefeller Dinner given on February 8, 1940 in New York. Return

The First 164 Pages

1. - Page 2 -- 1st paragraph -- "Night Law course."

Brooklyn Law School classes at the time were held in the offices of the Heffley School of Commerce in the historic Brooklyn Eagle [old newspaper] Building.

This was located less than half a mile from Bill and Lois's home at 182 Clinton Street. Bill would walk to the Law School. Return

2. - Page 3 -- top of page -- "...but we once worked on a farm for a month..."

Mid April – mid May 1925. They worked on the Goldfoot family dairy farm in Scotia, New York near Schenectady. Mr. Goldfoot's two sons worked for General Electric. Return

3. - Page 4 -- 2nd paragraph -- "Friend he telephoned in Montreal."

Richard O. "Dick" Johnson of Greenshields and Company, a medium sized brokerage firm in Montreal. (November 1929) Return

4. - Page 4 -- 3rd paragraph -- "Wife's parents"

Doctor Clark Burnham -
Born in Lancaster, PA the middle child of ten children. His father, Nathan Clark Burnham, practiced both law and medicine and was a minister in the Swedenborgian Church. Clark graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with honors and studied medicine at the Hahnemann School of Medicine in Pennsylvania. His specialty was genecology.

Matilda Hoyt Burnham (Spelman) -
Her parents were Congregationalists and Lutherans. Her cousin Laura Spelman was married to John D. Rockefeller Sr..   Clark was invited to her "coming out" party. They married in 1888. Return

5. - Page 7 -- 1st paragraph -- "Brother-in-law the Physician"

Doctor Leonard V. Strong Jr, the husband of Bill's younger sister Dorothy. Dr Strong attended the Rockefeller Dinner, February 8, 1940. He was one of the first trustees on the first board of the Alcoholic Foundation in April 1938. He died April 24, 1989. Leonard and Dorothy are both buried in the East Dorset Cemetary only 150 feet from the Wilson Family plot. Return

6. - Page 7 -- 1st paragraph -- "nationally-known hospital"

Charles B. Towns Hospital located at 293 Central Park West, New York, New York. Established in Manhattan in 1917. Return

7. - Page 7 -- 1st paragraph -- "Belladonna Treatment"

Belladonna is the name of a poisonous Eurasian perennial herb whose alkaloid extract or tincture was used as a sedative-antispasmotic drug in the early treatment of alcoholism. It is also known as "Deadly Nightshade." Return

8. - Page 7 -- 1st paragraph -- "Kind Doctor"

Dr William Duncan Silkworth. "Silky" was chief physician and psychologist at Towns Hospital. Graduated Princeton University in 1896 and from New York University, Bellevue Medical School in 1900. He arrived at Towns hospital in 1930 with his theory on alcoholism as a combination physical allergy and compulsion to drink. He used a holistic approach to treating disorders. Author of "The Doctors Opinion" in the big book. He attended the Rockefeller Dinner on February 8, 1940. Return

9. - Page 9 -- Top paragraph -- "Details of the airplane charter to complete a jag."

There was a new airfield by the Equinox House in Manchester, Vermont. Ebby and Bill drank all night and then decided to hire a plane. They radioed ahead that they would be coming. A high school band and complete fanfare was there to greet them when they landed. After they landed, they both got out of the plane only to fall flat on their faces. They were so drunk that they couldn't even stand up. Return

10. - Page 9 -- Bottom paragraph -- "The two men who appeared in court with Ebby"

Rowland Hazard and Cebra G., both were from the Oxford Group at the time. Rowland was never a member of AA. Cebra later joined AA while living in France. Return

11. - Page 15 -- Bottom paragraph -- "The Western city"

Cleveland, Ohio Return

12. - Page 16 -- 1st paragraph -- "Poor chap who committed suicide in Bill's house"

Bill C., was a "guest" for nearly a year. He was a lawyer and gambler (professional bridge player). This happened in the summer of 1936 at their home at 182 Clinton St. Upon returning home from visiting Fitz M and others in Maryland, Bill opened the door to the strong smell of the natural gas that had ended the "poor chaps" life. Over the next few months, Bill and Lois discovered that he had been selling off all of their good dress clothes to finance his drinking and gambling. Return

13. - Page 26 -- 1st paragraph -- "The certain American businessman"

Rowland Hazard of the Oxford Group. He never joined AA but never drank again and died at his desk at work, sober. Return

14. - Page 32 -- 2nd paragraph – "The man of thirty"

"The man of thirty who was ambitious in business and remained bone dry for 25 years only to die after 4 years of drinking."

This story was probably adapted from the chapter "First Steps" in the book "The Common Sense of Drinking" by Richard Peabody. There is one story on page 37 that speaks of a man 36 years old that had been drinking for 16 years and another story on page 123 regarding a man who gave up drinking to make a million dollars.

Neither one of these actually match the story in the big book. The story on page 123 is the one that most closely matches the story in the book. The big discrepancy in the story is the amount of sobriety this man had (full text below). The big book speaks of 25 years of sobriety and the other states he had 5 years sober.

"Some years ago there lived a man who decided to give up drinking until he could make a million dollars, at which time he intended to drink in moderation. It took him 5 years of sobriety to make the million; then he begins his "moderate" drinking. In two or three years he lost all his money, and in another three he died of alcoholism." Return

15. - Page 35 -- 2nd paragraph -- "Jim the Car Salesman"

Ralph F. author of "Another Prodigal Story" in the First Edition Big Book.   Return

16. - Page 39 -- 2nd paragraph -- "Fred the Accountant"

Harry B. author of the first edition big book story "A Different Slant". Harry later sued AA for money he loaned to print the big book. Return

17. - Page 43 -- 2nd paragraph -- "Staff member at a world renowned hospital"

Percy Pollick. He was a psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital in New York. Return

18. - Page 50 -- 3rd paragraph – "American Statesman"

Alfred E. Smith, four time governor of New York and was unsuccessfully the first Roman Catholic presidential candidate.  Return

19. - Page 55 -- Bottom of page -- "Minister's son and atheist"

"Minister's son and atheist who asked himself 'Who are you to say there is no God?'" was Fitz M. author of the big book story "Our Southern Friend."  Return

20. - Page 80 -- 2nd paragraph -- "Accepted money from bitterly hated business rival. Got up in church and explained. Now a pillar of society"

This is believed to be an Oxford Group story passed along through the groupers.  Return

21. - Page 96 -- 1st paragraph -- "One of our fellowship who failed entirely with his first half dozen prospects."

Our co-founder, Bill W.  Return

22. - Page 102 -- Bottom of page -- "Many of us keep liquor in our homes"

Our co-founder, Dr Bob. He said "I was adamant on having liquor. I said we had to prove that you could live in the presence of liquor. So I got two big bottles and put them right on the sideboard and that drove Anne wild for awhile."  Return

23. - Page 124 -- Bottom of page -- "We know of Situations . . . Love affairs"

Eddie R. the very first prospect approached by Bill and Bob before they helped Bill D, AA number three, "the man on the bed." Eddie was sober for a short time when his wife told him of an affair she had had and Eddie got drunk. Eddie was present at Dr Bob's funeral, 15 years later in 1950, with about 12 months sobriety.  Return

24. - Page 135 -- 2nd paragraph -- "heavy smoker and coffee drinker"

Earl T. from Chicago. His story is titled "He Sold Himself Short" in the second edition of the big book.  Return

25. - Page 136 -- 1st paragraph – "The member who spent most of his life in big business"

Hank P. from New Jersey. Hank's story was in the first edition of the big book entitled "The Unbeliever".  Return

26. - Page 138-139 -- 1st paragraph -- "Executive of a bank who was undoubtedly alcoholic. Eventually on the road to recovery."

Clarence S. from Cleveland, Ohio. (880 Euclid Ave), Sobriety date: February 11, 1938. Died Sober: March 22, 1984. His story was in the first through third editions of the big book entitled "The Home Brewmeister." Clarence led a revolt to separate from the Oxford Group and announced a special meeting of alcoholics, starting the Cleveland group, May 18, 1939 at the Cleveland Heights home of Abby G.. This was the first group to be called "Alcoholics Anonymous." He attended John D. Rockefeller's A.A. dinner February 8, 1940. He was also the leader of a group of dissident anti-Conference and anti-General Service Office members.  Return

27. - Page 140 -- 2nd paragraph -- "Prominent Dr in Chicago"

Dan Craske, M.D., (Additional references in the story "he Sold Himself Short") 3rd edition - Page 294 last paragraph, 4th edition - Page 265 last paragraph.  Return

28. - Page 149 -- Bottom of page -- "The little company and the two employees"

Honor Dealers Company, Auto Polish Dealership. Jimmy B., whose story is "The Vicious Cycle", first appearing in the 2nd edition, and Bill W. co-founder of AA. Additional references in the story "The Vicious Cycle", 3rd edition on page 246 - 1st paragraph, 4th edition on page 227 - 1st paragraph.  Return

29. - Page 154 -- Bottom of page -- "Clergyman"

Reverend Walter F. Tunks, Rector at St Paul's Episcopal Church in Akron, Ohio.  Return

30. - Page 156 -- 3rd paragraph -- "The head nurse they called and the local hospital she worked at."

Mrs. Hall, admissions nurse at Akron City Hospital.  Return

31. - Page 156-157 -- Both pages -- "The man on the bed"

Bill D. from Kenmore, Ohio, Sobriety Date: June 26, 1935. AA member number three, the "Man On The Bed." Bill was a lawyer and the first to stay sober in AA without a slip.  Return

32. - Page 158 -- 3rd paragraph -- "Campaigns and speeches - How did he ever do?"

Bill D. ran for city councilman but lost the election.  Return

33. - Page 158 -- Bottom of page -- "Devil may care young chap"

Ernie G. was 30 years old. He later married Dr. Bob's daughter Sue against Bob's wishes. Sue liked Ernie, but he later turned out to be a less than likeable man. Ernie's story, "The Seven Month Slip" was in the First Edition of the Big Book

In Akron, there was another Ernie G. who got sober later and who was a very good AA member and much was written about him. Don't get these two Ernie G's mixed up in your history.  Return

34. - Page 159 -- Bottom of page -- "Who were the 'seven more'?"

Here is the list of the next 10 members. Note: Some of these had slips and came back right away. We are not certain who Bill counted or in what order. See Pioneers of A.A.

Ernie G. - Akron, 8/1935 (the Seven Month Slip)
Hank P. - New York, 9/1935 (The Unbeliever)
Phil S. - Akron, 9/1935 (the 1st AA court case)
Tom L. - Akron, 11/1935 (My Wife and I)
Fitz M. - New York, 11/1935 (Our Southern Friend)
Walter B. - Akron, 2/1936 (The Backslider)
Joe D. - Akron, 4/1936 (the European Drinker)
Myron "Jack" W. - New York, 4/1936 (Hindsight)
Paul S. - Akron, 7/1936 (Truth Freed Me)
J. D. H. - Akron, 9/1936  Return

35. - Page 160 -- 1st paragraph -- "One man and his wife place their house at AA's disposal"

T. Henry and Clarace Williams, 876 Palisades Drive, Akron, Ohio. T. Henry was an engineer at the company where Bill W. was waging a proxy battle to gain control of National Rubber Machinery in May of 1935. The company was founded in 1928 and located at 917 Swietzer Ave, Akron, Ohio. In 1942 they switched from making machinery for the rubber industry to machinery for the plastic industry.  Return

36. - Page 161 -- 1st paragraph -- "The community is thirty miles away."

Cleveland, Ohio  Return

37. - Page 162 -- Top of page -- "Well known hospital for treatment"

Charles B. Towns Hospital, 293 Central Park West, New York City, New York  Return

38. - Page 162 -- Top of page -- "One of our member's was a patient there."

Our co-founder Bill W.  Return

39. - Pahe 162 -- Top of page -- "Dr. at the hospital"

Dr. William Duncan Silkworth  Return

40. - Page 162 -- 1st paragraph -- "Eastern City"

New York City, New York  Return

41. - Page 163 -- 2nd paragraph -- "AA member living in large community"

Hank P., Montclair, New Jersey  Return

42. - Page 163 -- 2nd paragraph -- "Prominent Psychiatrist and his clinic"

Dr. Howard of Montclair, New Jersey  Return

43. - Page 163 --3rd paragraph -- "Chief Psychiatrist of a large public hospital"

Dr. Russel E. Blaisdell, Rockland State Hospital near Orangeburg, New York. He attended the Rockefeller Dinner on February 8, 1940.

In Dr. Bob's Story

1. - Page 171 -- 1st paragraph -- "Small New England villiage of about seven thousand souls"

St Johnsbury, Vermont  Return

2. - Page 172 -- 3rd paragraph -- "One of the best colleges in the country"

Dartmouth University from 1899-1902  Return

3. - Page 173 -- 1st paragraph -- "One of the largest universities in the country"

University of Michigan From 1905-1907  Return

4. - Page 174 --Top of page -- "Another of the leading universities"

Rush Medical University. Dr Bob graduated from Rush in 1910  Return

5. - Page 174 -- 3rd paragraph -- "Western City"

Akron, Ohio  Return

6. - Page 175 -- Top of page -- "Local Sanitariums where Bob committed himself"

Fair Oaks Villa, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio  Return

7. - Page 175 -- Top of page -- "Scylla and Charybdis" (Sil'la and ka-rib'dis)

Scylla is the name of a small finger of land on the Italian coast, which projects into the Strait of Messina, and sits opposite the Sicilian coast. In between is a very destructive whirlpool named Charybdis. The reference is often used to describe being in a life threatening situation. In the context used here, the statement is made as an analogy: "I was between Scylla" implies he was out in deep water "and Charybdis" implies if he went one way, he would die by drowning in the whirlpool. If he went the other way, he would die by being smashed up on the rocky coast.

When Ulysses tried to make his way through this narrow passageway, in the "The Odyssey" by Homer, Scylla, a female monster with twelve feet and six heads, managed to kill six of his sailors.

Shakespeare used this expression in his "Merchant of Venice"; "When I shun Scylla your father, I fall into Charybdis your mother."

Today we say things like "I was between a rock and a hard place" and "between the devil and the deep blue sea". Bill's reference has fallen from popular usage, but is occasionally used in academic circles.  Return

8. - Page 175 -- Top of page -- "Local hospital"

People's Hospital  Return

9. - Page 175 -- 1st paragraph -- "Dr. from Dr. Bob's hometown"

This occurred in 1914. The doctor was from St. Johnsbury, Vermont. The doctor was able to get Dr. Bob back home to the house on Summer Street where he was born. He remained in bed for two months. It took another two months before he returned to Akron.  Return

10. - Page 178 -- 1st paragraph -- "The crowd of people Dr Bob was thrown in with"

The Oxford Group  Return

11. - Page 179 -- 1st paragraph -- "Lady who called on Anne S. Saturday afternoon on the day before Mothers Day"

Henrietta Seiberling  Return

12. - Page 179 -- Bottom of page -- "The friend at whose home Dr. Bob woke up"

Lilly. She was Dr Bob's receptionist in his medical practice in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and her husband's name was Everett.  Return

Index of A.A. History Pages on Barefoot's World

As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of A.A. with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In A.A. and In Recovery, Our History has added an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That DO Work!!" and We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it!!

ABC Page 60 -- Barefoot's Recovery Pages



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