The story of the creation of the bible of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is properly named "Alcoholics Anonymous", popularly called The Big Book. is a sad tale of lies and cheating, theft and dishonesty, all done by Bill Wilson, and even the death of an early A.A. member, Henry Parkhurst, who couldn't stand Bill Wilson's scheming and chicanery.
First off, Bill Wilson was only one of many authors of the Big Book. Bill was the principal author of the non-biographical opening chapters, the much-ballyhooed "first 164 pages." But Bill had lots of free help. There were at least 32 authors. Just for starters, Henry "Hank" Parkhurst wrote the detailed outline for the whole book. and then he wrote the chapters "To Employers" and The Unbeliever. And it's hard to say exactly what-all else Hank wrote, because Bill Wilson had a bad habit of lying and minimizing what Hank wrote, because Bill stole all of it. Bill Wilson claimed sole ownership of the Big Book when he filed for the copyright, in violation of his promises to the other A.A. members who wrote all of the autobiographical chapters, and who were led to believe that the group would jointly own the book.
(Thanks to www.aaPublicControversy.com and www.aabbsg.de for the following information. Please note that the author of the following table wishes to give Bill Wilson much less credit for the opening chapters than I would. He says that Joe Worth wrote "Bill's Story" and "To Wives, and that chapters 2 through 9 and 11 were the product of "teamwork." I feel that Bill Wilson really is to blame for a lot of the insanity that is in the first 164 pages.)
Who wrote what in the Big Book ?
- Joe Worth (Chapter 1 "Bill's Story", probably Chapter 8 "To Wives") — NYC
- Team work (Chapters 2 through 9 and 11) — New York City, Akron, Cleveland
- Henry "Hank" Parkhurst (Chapter 10 "To Employers" and "The Unbeliever", as well as the outline for the whole book) — NYC/NJ
- Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith ("Dr. Bob's Nightmare") — Akron
- Dr. William D. Silkworth ("The Doctor's Opinion") — NYC
- Fitz M. ("Our Southern Friend") — Washington, DC/Maryland
- Clarence Snyder ("Home Brewmeister") — Cleveland
- Ernie Galbraith ("The Seven Month Slip") — Akron (Dr. Bob's son-in-law, "A.A. Number Four", the constantly-relapsing philanderer whom Dr. Bob forced on his daughter, Sue Smith 1 .)
- Charlie Simonson ("Riding The Rods") — Akron
- Bob Oviatt ("The Salesman") — Akron
- Archie 'Arch' Trowbridge ("The Fearful One" which became "The Man Who Mastered Fear") — Detroit/Grosse Point
- Dick Stanley ("The Car Smasher", which became "He Had to be Shown") — Akron
- Joe Doppler ("The European Drinker") — Akron
- Florence Rankin ("A Feminine Victory") — NYC (Note: The REAL second A.A. Woman — not Marty Mann — who relapsed and disappeared. Is said to have committed suicide in Washington, DC.)
- William 'Bill' Ruddel ("A Business Man's Recovery") — NYC
- Harry Brick ("A Different Slant") — probably NYC
- Jim Scott ("Traveler, Editor, Scholar") — Akron
- Walter Bray ("The Back-Slider") — Akron
- Marie Bray ("An Alcoholic's Wife") — Akron
- Tom and Maybell Lucas ("My Wife and I") — Akron
- William 'Bill' Van Horn ("A Ward of the Probate Court") — Akron
- Wallace 'Wally' Gillam ("Fired Again") — Akron
- Paul Stanley ("Truth Freed Me!") — Akron
- Harold Sears ("Smile With Me, At Me") — NYC
- Henry J. 'Harry' Zoeller ("A Close Shave") — Akron (later moved to NY)
- Norman Hunt ("Educated Agnostic") — Akron? Darien, Connecticut?
- Ralph Furlong ("Another Prodigal Story") — NYC? Springfield, Massachusetts? Darien, Conn.
- Myron Williams ("Hindsight") — NYC
- Horace R. 'Popsy' Mayer ("On His Way") — NYC
- Ray Campbell ("An Artist's Concept") — NYC/Carmel NY
- Lloyd Tate ("The Rolling Stone") — Akron/Cleveland
Also remember that Jim Scott ("Traveler, Editor, Scholar" — 1st Edition) edited all of the Akron stories (except Dr. Bob's) for the book. Several of these original stories pre-editing are stored at the Stepping Stones Archives. We don't know if Jim got paid for his editing expertise and work. There was also another writer who worked on the book shortening it prior to publication — Professor Tom Uzzell, New York. His payment, if any, is also unknown. Update: Tom Uzzell was paid $375 or $380 for his work.