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Post Info TOPIC: Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous 'Big Book' Goes Up for Auction


MIP Old Timer

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Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous 'Big Book' Goes Up for Auction
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I wish I could bid on this book...

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/msolomon/2017/05/02/manuscript-of-alcoholics-anonymous-big-book-goes-up-for-auction-in-june/#4b04cfad22d7

 



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MIP Old Timer

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Oh WOW, ... you and me both ... Wow, What a piece of history ... ... ... Makes one wonder how many lives have been saved with this book ... 



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Holy Moley. It's possible that it could fetch 100s of thousands of dollars. 

All it takes is 1 recovering/recovered super rich multi-millionaire, or, actually, 2 or 3 of them bidding against each other. 

Like you said Pappy, history. That book is like a big part of American history. Like fricken Mark Twain or something. 

I wonder if it will go up on eBay? (Joke)

Like you said, Tannin...I wish we could bid on it. 

Actually, we could. We just wouldn't even come close to winning. 

Doesnt matter, though. We're already winning. 

Matter of fact, I believe I've won. 



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Now that I think about it, that book belongs in the Smithsonian.



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MIP Old Timer

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Amen Baba ... ... ... We've already won ... the words in this book are 'Priceless' ... ... ...



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Crown Jewel on the auction block is a significant event. I wonder what is going on at the top.

Well I just looked around a bit and found the thing on Silkworth.net(Free Download).

No Bidding Required. :)

 

Marc

 

 



-- Edited by MarcLacroix on Tuesday 23rd of May 2017 11:56:08 PM

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MIP Old Timer

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The original manuscript shown above has previously been sold for $1,576,000. Well beyond my financial limitations.

But, for those who still want to peruse this historical document, Hazelden Publishing released a copy of it in 2010 titled The Book That Started It All: The Original Working Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous by Anonymous. At a LOT more affordable price, now $35-$50 depending on the store.

Here is a very nice historical description of the BB by Ray A.:

Bill W. wrote most of the BB between May 1938 and January of 1939, discussing drafts of the work in progress at the Clinton Street meeting and sending them to Dr. Bob for review by the Akron group. The feedback from Akron was consistently positive. But in NY, a heated debate broke out. According to Bill, three points of view emerged: “conservatives” who argued for an explicitly Christian text, “liberals” who didn’t object to using “God” but wanted a spiritual rather than a religious document, and the “radical left-wing” who wanted to delete “God” from the book entirely and produce a work of psychology.

Unable to agree among themselves, the three factions eventually named Bill the final arbiter of the book’s content. An initial draft of the manuscript was completed by February. Concerned that the book be widely acceptable, some 400 mimeograph or multilith copies were sent out for comment. As these were returned, it became evident that the book had been well received in all quarters, the medical and religious professions included. 

Still, the dispute in NY went on unabated. The minority of “radicals” there had always seen the book as an opportunity to educate the “benighted Akronites” and they pressed their effort to edit God out. In this they had an ally in the person of a Dr. Howard, a NJ psychiatrist whose returned mimeograph was filled with edits deleting “God” and inserting other terms.

From the start, Bill had recognized the two horns of the dilemma facing the book. “If you labeled it a strictly Christian book” all kinds of problems would arise and many alcoholics would stay away, while if “we make a psychological job of it nobody would get well from it.” Experience had shown that the strictly religious approach had very limited success and the strictly psychological approach practically none. 

As the printer’s copy of the book was prepared, comments, suggestions, and corrections were transferred to one of the mimeographs, producing the “original working manuscript,” a graphic representation of the divergent currents which would coalesce into something entirely new, “The Book That Started It All.” 

In the end, the book presented a clearly spiritual course, rejecting practically all of the edits that would exclude God while at the same time reforming the religious language that would exclude many alcoholics and divert all from their primary purpose of staying sober and helping others to achieve sobriety.

As we know, “God” was replaced with a “Power greater than ourselves” in Step 2, and modified with “as we understood Him” in Steps 3 and 11. These changes are not as big as they might seem. The book already contained ample language reassuring the alcoholic that no particular understanding of God was required to join AA and get sober: “When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book.” Statements like this are not later additions. They were there in the original mimeograph copy. Besides, “as we understood Him” had been used by the Oxford Group, and Ebby had resorted to a similar expression to soften his initial "I got religion" approach to Bill. 

A related but a more original and encompassing change resulted from Dr. Howard’s insistence that the book be descriptive rather than prescriptive, something which Dr. Silkworth and Dr. Tiebout had earlier suggested. In practice, this involved a language shift from future to past tense; from predicting outcomes to narrating events; from prescribing what you must or should do to describing what we did; from directing to suggesting; from pointing out weakness to admitting to it, talking from the heart more than from the head, sharing experience rather than trying to teach, preach, or instruct. 

Underlying this approach was a principle that would give the book its markedly spiritual and practical character. This was “attraction rather than promotion,” a principle that would distinguish the book and thenceforth AA not only from the injunctive approach of religion, but from the analytical and prescriptive approach of psychology as well. With it, other principles would come into play, so that we find a certain restraint in the tone of the book, a certain modesty of expression, a certain tolerance and even generosity toward divergent views, a humble recognition of the limits to knowledge and understanding, particularly when it comes to spiritual things and to God. 

The well-known lines leading up to the 12 Steps are illustrative: “Remember that you are dealing we deal with alcohol . . . Without help it is too much foryou us. . . You must May you find Him now! Half measures will avail youavailed us nothing. You We stood at the turning point. Throw yourself underWe asked His protection and care with complete abandon.” So is the line introducing the ABCs: “Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after have been designed to sell you make clear three pertinent ideas.” This reminds us that many of the early alcoholics were salesmen, and their promotional instincts reflected their trade as much as their theology, whether religious or atheist. 

As Bill summed it up, the changes still left God in the Steps and in the BB, but “now expressed in terms that anybody—anybody at all—could accept and try.” As we know, however, the battle over the book continues. Some are still trying to take God out, along with other language they find objectionable. Many have removed him entirely from their own version of the Steps; others have reversed the three original changes. Both sides have started their own groups and written their own books. So far, neither of these movements has come up with a better text than the BB, or a better program or fellowship for those who want to get sober.

God is still in the BB and we are free to talk about him all we want. But if talk about God is what got us sober, there would have been no need for AA in the first place. That there is a “who” to recovery, “One who has all the power,” the BB leaves no doubt: “That One is God.” But there is also a “what” and a “how” to recovery. These are the spiritual principles which are embedded in the Steps and which the BB also makes clear proceed from and are practiced through that Power. The question is how far we are willing to go to understand these principles, and to practice them in all our affairs. 

The principle of “Attraction rather than promotion” is at the heart of the changes made to the BB. It is predicated on another concept that permeates that book: “a faith that works.” If the faith that we practice through the God of our understanding works, it will bear fruit in the way we live. Such fruit attracts: others will “want what we have.” If it doesn’t work, that too will be evident, and talk about God will have the opposite effect, for, as “A Vision for You” tells us at the conclusion of the BB, there’s another spiritual principle at work in all of this, and it says that we can’t give what we don’t have. 

Bill W. saw the hand of Providence at work in “The Book That Started It All.” Considering the millions of alcoholics and other sufferers who have recovered thanks to it, that seems like a reasonable attitude to take.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8400257-the-book-that-started-it-all



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MIP Old Timer

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Great post Pickle, ... Thank you so much ...


Pappy



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I Hope this Is true . From a friend who has 35y of sobriety.

We have a small group of f/bookers in our area , we have met at rallies & such & this Is another way of contact.

She posted in our group that AAWS is taking it to court , apparently it was lost for awhile , but the owner , on his

death , to be returned to AAWS . If I can put the link up I will or post a 'web addy'



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John R


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For your very own copy just do what I did

Google 'AA Multilith Manuscript'

Links to it will magically PopUp on you screen.

Now you can't say that I never gave you anything. Some things are better than money. :)

Love;
Marc


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Fantastic post "Tanin" I am grateful for the time you took to explain some complex ideas in a simple way. Many thanks. God bless you.

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MIP Old Timer

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shocking that this isn't in the possession of Akron intergroup or another historical AA org.

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MIP Old Timer

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The plot thickens....



Alcoholics Anonymous Sues for Return of 12-Step Manuscript

Alcoholics Anonymous is demanding the return of its 1939 original manuscript describing the Twelve Step program of recovery from alcoholism.

May 23, 2017


NEW YORK (AP) — Alcoholics Anonymous is demanding the return of its 1939 original manuscript describing the "Twelve Step" program of recovery from alcoholism.

Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc. in New York state court last Thursday sued an Alabama man, Ken Roberts, who owns the manuscript, a New York art gallery and a California auction house.

The manuscript is to be sold June 8 at auction. The lawsuit said the manuscript was gifted to a man who left instructions for it to be given to Alcoholics Anonymous upon his death. But it never was.

Now, it is being advertised by Profiles in History, which plans to auction it in two weeks. Aron Gerson, a spokesman for the Los Angeles-area auction house, declined comment. A man who answered the phone at QuestRoyal Fine Art in Manhattan, where the manuscript was displayed over the weekend, said he could not comment.

On a web page devoted to the auction, Profiles in History described it as "The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous" and "The Bible to Millions," saying its 161 typed pages included handwritten edits by AA founders, including William Griffith Wilson, also known as Bill W. It said it had sold 30 million copies since 1939, been translated into 43 languages and has been ranked by the Library of Congress as a top non-fiction book that shaped America.

The auction house estimated it will sell for between $2 million and $3 million.

The lawsuit said the original working draft copy of the manuscript is "an original, historical document of unique importance." It said it "indisputably belongs" to Alcoholics Anonymous after Barry Leach, who received it from Wilson's widow, signed and notarized a letter in April 1979 saying it would belong to the organization upon his death. He died in 1985.

 The lawsuit blamed "either extreme negligence or potentially wrongful actions" around the time of Leach's death for it never reaching Alcoholics Anonymous.

As a result, it said, the manuscript was sold at auction in June 2004 at Sotheby's to William A. Shenk for $1.57 million. The lawsuit said Roberts bought it at a Sotheby's auction in 2007 for $850,000 at a time when Alcoholics Anonymous was not aware of Leach's notarized letter.

The lawsuit said Roberts informed Alcoholics Anonymous on April 7 that he planned to sell the manuscript on June 8. A phone message left for Roberts was not immediately returned.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2017-05-23/alcoholics-anonymous-sues-for-return-of-12-step-manuscript



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I never thought that AA World Services would ever sue anyone for fear of tarnishing the AA name; guess they don't care or they don't think it will bring negative publicity.

The problem is that a notarized letter does not necessarily constitute a will and there seems to be no other device in play that would transfer ownership upon the owner's death.  I believe recourse is against the executor of the will or the personal representative, not the current owner.  But if the letter was unknown at the time of death, I doubt AA has a leg to stand on now.  And then there is the problem of laches (A defense to an equitable action, that bars recovery by the plaintiff because of the plaintiff's undue delay in seeking relief.), the fact that if AA World Services had a right to the manuscript, that waiting too long to exert its rights after finding out about them, voids those rights anyway.  AA World Services has known about the notarized letter since 2007.  https://www.thefix.com/aa-sues-stop-auctioning-original-big-book-manuscript.

If Bill W. intended this manuscript to be owned by AA, why didn't he just unselfishly give it to them in the first place?  And why did Bill selfishly keep the royalties on the book of a program he borrowed so heavily from others and a book that so many helped with their input but didn't get a dime?  For all the good Bill W. did, he really wasn't a sober person, between the drugs, 13th stepping, having had a long-time mistress while being married to Lois (so much for the rigorous honesty), fiendishly smoking and dying of emphysema, and even asking a few times for a drink on his death bed, and surely other things that aren't public knowledge and/or that have been lost to history.  Google these things.   I frankly believe that it was due to Bill's ego that the first 164 pages are still almost identical to the first edition and that he had to write the 12 & 12 in order not to revise the Big Book that was written before there were any oldtimers or veterans, before the program was fully developed.  Any explicit mention of the key concepts of sponsoring or attending meetings?

Did you know that the Big Book was in fact big, because of the thick paper and wide margins, to justify its high price, about $61.57 in today's money (1939-2017 $3.50 original price http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/):  "The first edition, first printing of the Big Book was produced by Cornwall Press in New York and printed on thick paper with wide margins (in order to justify the price of $3.50 a copy) in a press run of 4,650."  So why did Bill feel it necessary to get rich on the backs of suffering alcoholics?

Did you know that Hank Parkhurst, New York's AA #2, wrote the chapter "To Employers", and probably got no royalties.  We have admitted women into our membership, but the chapter is still named "To Wives" while the Tradition busting 3rd edition story Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict became the 4th edition 4th Edition, Acceptance Was The Answer to superficially obey the traditions.  BTW, this same story is where the reading Acceptance  comes from.

Was William Griffith Wilson a dry drunk to the end?  So the AA program doesn't work as well as promised, does it?

Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc v Roberts et al, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 652676/2017



-- Edited by SoberInMI on Sunday 4th of June 2017 10:37:20 AM

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