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THE WASHINGTON GROUP:

FOUNDATIONS, 1936-1941
By Charles E. Schamel 3rd Edition by 2008 WAIA Archives Committee

1st Edition 1983 2nd Edition 1995 3rd Edition 2008 Washington Area Intergroup Association Washington, DC

Copyright 2008

John Henry Fitzhugh M. (Fitz) Founder of the Washington Group

Table of Contents
Preface to the 3rd Edition...................................................................................................... i Preface to the 2nd Edition .................................................................................................... ii The Environment and the Challenge................................................................................... 1 There Is a Solution .............................................................................................................. 7 Three AAs Working Early in DC ..................................................................................... 10 Fitz M., 1897 1943......................................................................................................... 12 Florence R., 1895 - 1943................................................................................................... 18 Jim S.................................................................................................................................. 21 The Boys of 39 ................................................................................................................ 23 Ned F................................................................................................................................. 26 The Indigenous Drunks..................................................................................................... 28 AA Growth in 1940 .......................................................................................................... 31 The Nebulous Group......................................................................................................... 35 The Bob Erwin Articles .................................................................................................... 44 Washington Group Meetings ............................................................................................ 47 The Washington Group Comes of Age............................................................................. 51 Post Script: Fitz After 1940 ............................................................................................. 57 Appendices........................................................................................................................ 66

Preface to the 3rd Edition


This edition includes up-dates provided by the WAIA Archives Committee. Since the stock of 1995 edition has been expended, the decision was made to issue a reprint which includes the following additions: 1. Expand the section on Florence R. based on recent, discovered archival information. 2. Add a section on Jim S. 3. Extend the time line to 2008. 4. Add a section on Washington Area AA groups in the first 30 years. 5. Add a section on locations of gravesites of Fitz M., Jimmie B., and Florence R.

Several sections of the original appendices have been removed from this edition. This edition will be available on the WAIA web site (www.aa-dc.org) and will be published in hard copy. The web site edition will be updated periodically when new information becomes available. The Archives Committee is indebted to the following individuals: Charles E.

Schamel, for the fine work of the previous edition; Amy F., Archivist at AA World Services, Inc. for information on Florence R. and Jim S.; and Sally M. for background information on Fitz M. and Jimmy B.; and Peyton M., project coordinator for the Archives Committee.

2008 WAIA Archives Committee

Preface to the 2nd Edition


The compilation of this history was possible because of documents and oral history interviews collected for the archives of the Washington Area Intergroup Association (WAIA). Most of the documentation came from three sources: the AA General Services Archives in New York; the WAIA Office in Washington; and oral history interviews with early members of the group. Many of the old-timers interviewed by the author had saved documents from their early years in AA, and they donated the historically valuable materials to the WAIA Archives project. All the stories reported below came from reliable sources: members who were a part of the Group at the time, contemporary correspondence, publications, and newspaper articles. Some of the stories were, however, remembered or written many years after the event -- memories fade and exact dates, even years, tend to merge over time. In this history, however, only events that were documented at the time they happened are treated as hard facts. Everything else, including after-the-fact accounts, are cited here as "stories." The reader may decide their validity. Many people who were part of the group and some who were central to the events described here do not appear in this story because their names did not appear in the correspondence or publications that were available for research. Additional documentation may be discovered to provide the missing information, oral history may eventually fill in some of these gaps, but as the events recede into the past, fewer first hand witnesses remain alive. This is the second printing of this work. Most of the information contained in the first edition is included here, but major revisions have been made. An inventory of the holdings of the WAIA Archives is appended to this history. Most of the documentation supporting the history can be found in the archives. Experience indicates that many "old-timers" preserved memorabilia and documents from their early days in AA. Their memories and the documents they preserved are an invaluable source of the history of bygone days. The WAIA Archives Project has thus far only contacted a small portion of these valuable people. There still remains much work to be done.

ii

I would like to thank Penny W., who assisted in typing and editing, Lee D., who designed the cover and provided much needed encouragement and support, and my wife Wynell who assisted in many ways. Charles E. Schamel Riverdale, Maryland April, 1995

iii

The Environment and the Challenge


It is difficult to imagine the world the alcoholic faced before Alcoholics Anonymous. Today alcoholics live in a world shaped by the work, experience, and wisdom of the members of Alcoholics Anonymous over the years. Today hospitalization and a wide range of professional counseling are available to the alcoholic. There is still a stigma attached to alcoholism, but it has become recognized as one of the most common diseases in the modern world. Most important, the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous is available to almost anyone anywhere who has a desire to stop drinking. The great contribution of Alcoholics Anonymous is that it provides a systematic program whereby alcoholics can stop drinking and achieve and maintain sobriety. It is the first and only treatment or therapy program that can truthfully say, "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path." In the world before AA, the victim of alcoholism was a hopeless case. No doctor, priest, or psychiatrist could treat the illness. Neither love, money, faith, nor hope could save the alcoholic once he had become addicted. This is reflected in the great psychiatrist Carl Jung's prognosis for an alcoholic patient. Dr, Jung said, "You have the mind of a chronic alcoholic, I have never seen one single case recover, where that state of mind existed to the extent that it does in you." But, he continued, "Exceptions to cases such as yours have been occurring since early times. Here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences." But, he explained that he had never been able to induce such a "vital spiritual experience" in an alcoholic. What is so important about Alcoholics Anonymous is that it works every time the person follows the prescribed steps. Indeed, it is possible that in some way the AA fellowship has been able to help hopeless drunks to become open to what many call a spiritual experience. This story is about the people and events surrounding the founding of the AA group in Washington, DC. Only by examining the history can we become aware of how profoundly their efforts have affected our lives today. Their work not only contributed to the growth and development of AA, but it played a major role in changing the political and social attitudes toward alcoholism. 1

Alcohol and drunkenness have had an important place in American history from the early days and have been the subject of numerous books and scholarly articles.1 One author even described nineteenth century America as "a nation of drunks."2 But, during that century America became more civilized and more urban. Even though drunkenness had been overlooked on the frontier, it became more visible, more disruptive, and less acceptable in the more complex and civilized society. With the coming of the industrial revolution, workers were required to function according to the rhythm of production lines and to work according to time tables. Industrialization meant working with powerful machines and dangerous tools that required a steady hand and clarity of mind on production lines that could not easily be stopped. Drunkenness on the job meant injuries, lost time, and lost revenue. In this atmosphere drunkenness began to be recognized as a burden on society rather than a purely personal issue. The earliest attempts to combat the problems created by excessive drinking centered around the prevention of alcoholism. There was little anyone could do about a drunk once he had become an alcoholic, so the best solution seemed to be to reach people before they became caught in the grip of alcohol. Moral persuasion was the tool used to inoculate the young. Prevention was embodied in the temperance-prohibition movement that developed in the United States during the nineteenth century. The temperance crusade was conducted by churches and social service organizations such as the AntiSaloon League, which was dedicated to suppressing "the evils of drinking." As early as 1865 thirteen states had passed prohibition laws, and by 1917 twenty-three states were considered prohibitionist. In 1919 the prevention strategy became the national law of the land with the adoption of prohibition in the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that outlawed the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating beverages.3 As a national public policy, prohibition was a failure and the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed in 1933 by the Twenty-First Amendment. When prohibition failed, there was no alternative policy to replace it. In many ways the government's attempt to enforce prohibition left the nation in worse shape than it had been before prohibition. Probably the most obvious damage done by prohibition was the increase in

organized crime due to the illegal traffic in alcohol. Less obvious was the depletion of resources for treating alcoholics that occurred during the period of prohibition. Most of the hospitals and sanitariums that had treated alcoholics before prohibition had closed when it became illegal to become an alcoholic, By 1933 the opportunities for obtaining medical treatment for the alcoholic were worse than they had been before prohibition. Religious and civic minded citizens continued to work toward prevention, attempting to use moral persuasion to save young people from becoming alcoholics. But the plight of the person who had already become an alcoholic remained the same--he was written off as an incurable drunk, a burden on his family and on society until his death. The sad truth is that in 1933 alcoholics really were incurable by any methods known at the time. Most doctors and hospitals turned drunks away from their doors, refusing to treat them at all. The situation was the same with most psychiatrists. Their attitudes were understandable. Drunks made miserable patients: they broke

appointments, they refused to do as they were told; they were dirty, angry, ungrateful, and untrustworthy; and they did not pay their bills. Furthermore, alcoholism was not considered a health problem. The terms "alcoholism" and "alcoholic" were rarely used to describe the hopeless drunk. Most members of the medical profession, along with the rest of society, considered alcoholism to be a moral or character problem and not a proper subject for medical treatment. In 1933 the concept of addiction was new to the medical profession. Only during the last century had addiction been discovered, and its implications had not yet been fully explored. Most medical practitioners were not even aware of the new concept of alcoholism. While the medical and psychiatric communities did little to treat the problem of alcoholism, the legal system addressed the affects of the behavior of drunks. Disruptive drunkenness was considered a problem of morality and was dealt with by the courts and jails. The life history of a drunk, once he had crossed the line to alcoholism, could be summed up by the "revolving door" metaphor; the doors of the public jails and insane asylums became revolving doors to the alcoholic as his life became a series of incarcerations and releases, until finally, toward the end, he became hopelessly insane or

irreversibly physically broken. For the alcoholic, release from the institutional revolving doors came only when he was permanently committed to an insane asylum, prison, or graveyard. It was under these grim circumstances that Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob S. founded the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Among the earliest people to attain sobriety with them were three of the AAs who brought the program to the Washington, DC area. Less than two years after Bill and Bob had their initial meeting, the first AAs came to Washington caring the message. The capital city was an ideal location to establish an AA outpost. Washington had probably always had more than its share of alcoholics. Since its founding as the nation's capital in the 1790s, it has attracted people with high energy, intelligence, and well developed egos--people driven to be successful, to do good deeds, or just to make themselves rich or famous or powerful. Alcohol was the universal lubricant; it greased the pathways to the halls of power, and it eased the passage of difficult legislation. It relieved fears and inhibitions, removed doubt, and bestowed eloquence. Alcohol was always present at cocktail parties, in executive offices, and on the floor of Congress. In the year 1935, Washington was an unusually drunk town. That year the Census Bureau reported that the District of Columbia had the second highest death rate due to alcoholism in the United States. The Washington Star reported that the District ranked first in the nation in per capita consumption of alcoholic beverages. Police Commissioner Melvin C. Hazen recognized that the penal system in the District was not sufficient to deal with the alcohol problem. He noted that sending drunks through repeated confinement at the work house was ineffective because, " the present system was 'an endless chain' in which a man drunk, was arrested, convicted, sentenced, served time, was released - and then went right back to drink again." He compared the alcoholic to people with other diseases and noted that few resources were going toward their treatment when he stated, "The habitual drunk is a sick man and needs care just the same as a tuberculosis victim for whom the District was building a new $1,500,000 hospital"4 The Commissioner suggested the idea of creating an "alcoholic farm" where alcoholics could be sent to dry out and regain their health. The alcoholic farm idea

received a lot of attention and was periodically popular with public officials and later with some AAs. The idea was supported by the Catholic Charities, the Superintendent of Police, and the newly formed Public Welfare Association of the District. For years public officials were attracted to it every time the tremendous costs and ludicrous ineffectiveness of sending habitual drunks through the prison system became apparent. The idea was, however, never put into action on a large scale. Part of the reason for the failure of the alcoholic farm concept was that while the idea was supported by many sensitive, influential friends, it was stoutly opposed by the local temperance societies, most notably the Rechabites. At a large public meeting in 1936, the leader of the Rechabites announced that, as a taxpayer, he objected to the commissioner's proposal for a farm to take care of drunks.5 The temperance groups asked questions such as, "Why help alcoholics who are old enough to help themselves?" More responsible groups like the Washington Committee for Education on Alcoholism answered, "An alcoholic is like a man going over Niagara Falls; he is old enough to know better, but he is already in the rapids6 By 1939 there were over 400 package stores in the District of Columbia and the problems of drunkenness had become evident even in children. In the first five years after the repeal of prohibition, 1,685 children had been arrested for drunkenness.7 Congressman Morris Sheppard declared, "I am incensed . . . the children of Washington apparently are able to procure liquor by ordering it over the telephone from a licensed dealer."8 A few years later the Washington Committee for Education on Alcoholism published a pamphlet outlining the alcohol problems in the District. During the twelve years between 1934 and 1946, there had been 318,000 arrests for drunkenness and 137,000 commitments to the DC Jail. Gallinger Municipal Hospital (later named DC General Hospital) admitted an average of 4,000 patients annually for alcoholism. And although only 5% of all St. Elizabeth's patients were diagnosed as suffering primarily from alcoholic psychosis, at least one-third of all patients admitted reported a history of alcohol abuse. It was estimated that alcohol problems cost the DC government between 5 and 8 million dollars annually.9

The pamphlet published by the Committee also provided personal statistics to illustrate how the revolving door syndrome worked in an alcoholic's life. One distinguished Washingtonian had been arrested over 250 times and had served 197 jail sentences for drunkenness. Several others could count well over 100 of each. The numbers showed that throwing alcoholics into the drunk-tanks--even a great many times-did not solve the problem. As the war effort brought increasing numbers of workers to the Nation's capital and subjected many of them to unusual pressures, the problem increased. Fitz M., one of the founders of the Washington Group of Alcoholics Anonymous, described Washington, DC, in 1940 as a city with more than its share of alcoholics:

5% of the plastered in this burg seem always to be committing suicide. Of course we blame it on the administration. Not enough relief or bonus - or too much relief - wives shouldn't work or shouldn't marry if they can only allow their husband a quart a day, which causes them to drink and smoke - wives have all the jobs and the men can't do the housework properly"10

In a letter dated March 15, 1940, Fitz suggested that the offices of the federal government in Washington also had their share of drunks.

Some of these days, everyone that works for the government are going to get drunk all at one time and then you are going to see the Northern lights over Washington. At present they stagger their drinking spells, so that somebody is always sober to carry on.11

There Is a Solution
The decade of the 1930s may have been one of the bleakest times for alcoholics in modern history. Little had ever been known about how to treat alcoholism, but part of the knowledge that had been accumulated over time was lost during the prohibition experiment that led society to believe that it would no longer be needed. By the time the experiment had failed, the few professionals and sanitariums that had attempted to treat alcoholics before prohibition had become even fewer. It was during these years that the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous first saw the light of day, At this low point Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob S., and the early members of the new fellowship worked out the program that would become the solution to the age-old dilemma of the alcoholic. During these years they designed the program, created the organization, and learned the principles needed to carry the message across the continent. The years between 1935 and 1939 were some of the most important years in the growth of AA. Membership in the fellowship grew from just two men to over one hundred. The members were aware that they had been given a gift and a responsibility to carry the message to other suffering alcoholics. Two of the earliest members made contributions to general AA history in New York and Akron and also came to Washington to try to establish an AA outpost. The first AAs who came to Washington were Fitz M. and Florence R. Their activities are documented in the books Alcoholics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age and in unpublished documents in the AA Archives in New York and WAIA Archives in Washington. One of the most useful documents is a "Fact Sheet" that Bill Wilson wrote while preparing to write Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, Bill's summary of the state of affairs at the end of 1936 mentioned Fitz.

By the close of 1936 a small but strong nucleus had been established in Akron and New York. We had isolated out of towners like Fitz M---and Don Mc---, a banker who lived in Cohoes, New York. Scores, and I think hundreds were exposed to us. The failure rate was immense.

Nevertheless, the two little groups and a few outlying people held on. This was the state of affairs at the close of 1936.12

In 1937 two things were becoming clear: first, AA worked; and second, there were too few AAs to carry the message to all the people who needed to hear it. Bills visit to Dr. Bob in Akron provided revelations that shaped the AA agenda for the next year.

This [trip] gave me a chance to compare notes with Dr. Bob. In his living room one afternoon after the score had been added up we realized for the first time there was no doubt whatever of the success of our little society. Enough time had elapsed on enough desperate cases to prove the point. I think we were able to top something like 40 cases in both groups with enough [time] elapsed to mean something. Our joy was unbounded as their realization fell upon us. In the talk that afternoon we began to ask ourselves how this thing should spread. Could we rely simply on the word-of-mouth program which by now had broken down to the following simple essentials: A) admitted we were powerless over alcohol, B) got honest with ourselves, C) got honest with other people about our defects, D) made restitution to those we'd harmed, E) tried to carry the message to other alcoholics, F) prayed to whatever God we thought there was. This was the substance of the word-of-mouth program. But wouldn't this get garbled? We realized too that hospitals didn't have too much use for us. We thought we needed money to carry on the work. Bob's practice hadn't revived, and I was without any financial roots at all. Didn't we need money to establish hospitals, the profits of which could carry on the work? Didn't we need to subsidize members from the existing groups to go out and start fresh groups? Didn't we need a book of some sort which would set forth our technique so it couldn't be garbled? These were the

realizations that were to lead to the formation of the Alcoholic Foundation in New York.13

By the end of 1937, the fellowship was actively seeking solutions to these questions. One of the promising leads was Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. In December of 1937 Bill Wilson, along with a few other alcoholics, managed to obtain a meeting with the rich gentleman.14 This meeting did not solve the financial problems as the AAs had hoped, but it provided moral support and a valuable lesson that would become the foundation for the seventh tradition of self-support. The central issue became how to carry the message to the vast numbers of drunks spread out over the continent. Getting the message to those on the west coast was a special problem because all the current members were in the east or midwest. Although the program was simple, transmitting it by word of mouth would allow it to get distorted as it was passed second and third and fourth hand. The publication of a book seemed to be the solution. In order to publish a book, the AAs had to solve some tough problems. They had to agree on the contents, the style and title of the book, and then someone had to write it. They needed money not only to publish the book, but also simply to survive while writing and publishing the book. To insure that the book would be accepted and would reach the alcoholics who needed it, they had to cultivate the good will of the community, especially the professionals who worked with alcoholics. As members of the New York group before they came to Washington, Fitz M. and Florence R. made contributions in all these areas. The tribulations and debates that filled these formative years in New York and Akron and surrounded the publication of the book Alcoholics Anonymous have been recorded elsewhere15 and do not need to be recounted here. The parts played by the Washington Group founders will be more meaningful when the reader becomes more familiar with the history of each of them.

Three AAs Working Early in DC


The following stories spanning 1935 to 1945 include three early AA members from the Washington Area: Florence R., one of the first women in AA, Fitz M., who started the Washington Group, and Jim S., who started the first Negro Group and quickly opened it to all alcoholics.

Fitz M. and Florence R. were among the earliest members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Separately and alone, they each came to Washington with hopes of establishing an outpost of AA in the city. They arrived as loners; their AA credentials supported only by the contact and correspondence they had with the AAs in New York and Akron. Florence may have brought the AA message to Washington as early as 1937, although she was unable to establish a permanent group here. In that same year Fitz came to Washington from his home on Maryland's Chesapeake shore, also in search of alcoholics to help. Although both had achieved sobriety in the New York area fellowship, there is no evidence that the two ever met. In fact, a letter Fitz wrote upon arriving in Washington in the fall of 1939 indicates that he had been alerted to look out for Florence, but had no idea what she looked like. Both their stories appeared in the first edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. Fitz's story labeled "Our Southern Friend" and Florence's "A Feminine Victory." Although her story appeared in the first edition, it was removed from later editions. We believe that her story has such significance archival merit that it should not have been removed from future editions of Alcoholics Anonymous. Her first paragraph is especially poignant, in which she prayed for inspiration to tell her story in a manner that would give other women courage to seek the help she had been given. Her story was later reprinted in the Alcoholics Anonymous publication Experience, Strength & Hope. A reprint of A Feminine Victory from Alcoholics Anonymous is included in Appendix D of this book.

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Jim S. struggled with alcoholism until he met Charlie G. through a mutual friend. Since segregation of the races was the rule, Jim struggled to start the first Negro Group, which later became the Cosmopolitan Group. This was the first racially integrated AA group on record.

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Fitz M., 1897 1943


John Henry Fitzhugh M. was one of the earliest members of Alcoholics Anonymous -- probably the fourth member after Bill, Dr. Bob, and Hank P. -- dating from the fall and winter of 1935 when he sobered up with the help of Bill Wilson.16 He was important to the early years of AA in New York and made contributions to the writing of the Big Book. He has long been regarded as the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous in the Washington area.17 During the closing weeks of 1939, after many months of vain attempts, he found the people who would help him create a permanent AA group in the nation's capital. His early history reveals his roots in the Maryland countryside and the events that shaped his character as a spiritual man and a teacher. In 1902 when Fitz was four years old, his family moved to the quiet parish rectory of Christ Church in Owensville, Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay south of Annapolis. His father was the Rector of the Episcopal Church.18 During his early childhood, he developed close and lasting friendships that would serve him well throughout the rest of his life. Along with his best friends, he went away to an Episcopal high school for boys in Alexandria, One of these friends, Jimmy B., became his lifelong companion and together they made important contributions to the spread of Alcoholics Anonymous on the east coast. The other friend, E. Churchill Murray, who also remained a friend for life, gave Fitz a house to live in during the worst of his alcoholism and preserved letters from Fitz that show his spiritual nature as early as his tenth birthday. Just before the First World War, Fitz graduated from Washington and Lee College, where he had his first experience with alcoho1.19 With the coming of the First World War, he and Jimmy B. joined the Army together, although the war ended before they completed training. After the war, Fitz taught school in Norfolk, Virginia, to support his wife Elizabeth and three young children. When he lost the job in Norfolk, E. Churchill Murray gave him a piece of land on Cumberstone Road, next to his farm in Owensville, Maryland, to live on. At Cumberstone Fitz was close to his family and childhood friends. 12

By this time he was powerless over the alcohol he consumed. His condition was well known to those close to him, and his friends recall that his drinking bouts often ended in neighborhood searches that located him passed out in the loft of a nearby barn.20 In the fall of 1935 Fitz found his way to Town's Hospital where he met Bill Wilson. His story in Alcoholics Anonymous tells how he came to the AA way of life and how he tried to stay sober in the small rural bayside setting. He describes periods of depression, doubt in God, and bouts with an overpowering compulsion to drink. He tells of unbearable isolation and the need to work with others, "I am blue again. I want to sell the place and move away. I want to get where I can find some alcoholics to help and where I can find some fellowship." He tells about traveling to distant cities and of spiritual lessons to be learned during these years, "I am on a train headed for a city, and later pick up my bags and leave, I stay with understanding friends." A man asks him to work with a young alcoholic, and he writes, "Soon I have others who are alcoholics and some who have other problems. I begin to play God. I feel that I can fix them all. I do not fix anyone but I am getting part of a tremendous education and I have made some new friends."21 He does not name the city. It could very possibly have been Washington and the friends those at Gatewood House. Jimmy B.'s story in Alcoholics Anonymous also indicates that Fitz had worked as a loner in Washington as early as 1937 and that he had at least one sober AA friend, a man named Jackie. Jimmy's story, "The Vicious Circle," documents one of the first successful twelve step calls in Washington. The hope and tragedy of these early days is recorded in Jimmy's story:

January 8, 1938 - that was my D-Day; the place Washington, DC. This last real merry-go-round had stared the day before Christmas and I had really accomplished a lot in those fourteen days. First, my new wife had walked out, bag, baggage, and furniture; then the apartment landlord had thrown me out of the empty apartment and the finish was the loss of another job. After a couple of days in dollar hotels and one night in the poky, I finally landed on my mother's door step shaking apart, with several

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days' beard... This is the way Jackie found me, lying in a cot in my skivvies, with hot and cold all over. I had not asked for help and seriously doubt that I would have, but Fitz, an old school friend of mine, had persuaded Jackie to call on me. Had he come two or three days later I think I would have thrown him out, but he hit when I was open for anything.22

Jimmy's story goes on to describe how he found sobriety, but it also tells of the fate of his first sponsor, Jackie, who did not make it.

All of us in AA know the tremendous happiness that is in our sobriety, but there are also tragedies. Jimmys sponsor, Jackie, was one of these. He brought in many of our original members, yet he himself could not make it and died of alcoholism.23

Fitz's twelve step work in Washington during these early years is further substantiated by Bill Wilson's Fact Sheet. Bill recalls that in 1936.

There was much visiting back and forth between ourselves, the Parkers [sic] and Fitz, who lived at Cumberstone, Maryland, not far from Baltimore. Fitz was trying to start a group in Washington and Baltimore without success.24

During these years Fitz's visits with Bill and the AAs in New York and Akron were an important part of his life.25 The history of those early years shows that Fitz was a member whose presence profoundly affected the fellowship in many ways. Among the contributions Fitz made were his contacts among the professional community. Bill W. recalls that in the early years the acceptance of the fellowship by the public depended, in part, upon good endorsements from medical and religious professionals. As early as 1938, Fitz was able to obtain a letter of support from a friend at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.26

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His pursuit of acceptance by the local community, including the doctors and judges, is evident throughout the rest of his life. He used endorsements from those familiar with AA successes to introduce new professionals to the program, and when they became convinced of its effectiveness, he asked them for their own endorsements. In a letter dated November 25, 1939, Fitz requested copies of endorsements of AA to show his new friends, two ministers and a priest. In his letter to Ruth Hock, secretary of the Alcoholic Foundation, he asks for lots of ammunition, "Can you get me a copy of Harry Emerson Fosdick's letter about the AAs? Also just a few of Dr. Silkworth's articles? Has any Catholic ever written any kind of endorsement of AA?"27 And, although Fitz was never financially secure himself, it was through him that funds were acquired to carry the Foundation through a financial crisis in 1938. His sister Agnes lived in Washington, and when Fitz went to the city to work with drunks, he slept at her apartment on S Street. Agnes had seen how AA had changed Fitz's life, and when the Foundation desperately needed financial support, she provided a $1,000 loan.28 No doubt, his greatest contributions to the fellowship, however, were in the area of spirituality. In Fitz's explorations of spirituality, he often had his friend Jimmy B. as a counterpoint. Jimmy B, was a traveling salesman who, in his sobriety, carried the AA message with him as he canvassed the east coast.29 He is credited with founding the Philadelphia Group, and, along with Fitz, influencing the establishment of AA groups in, at least, Washington, Baltimore, and Richmond. These two friends greatly influenced the shape of the new fellowship. Their conflicting spiritual attitudes - Fitz was deeply religious and Jimmy agnostic - contributed to the adoption of the phrase "God as we understand him," that has saved so many lives. In Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age Bill W. described a debate which took place during the writing of the book Alcoholics Anonymous that produced the phrase.

Fitz M., one of the most lovable people that AA will ever know fell at once into hot argument with Henry (F.) about the religious content of the coming volume. A newcomer named Jimmy B., who like Henry

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was an ex-salesman and former atheist, also got into the hassles. Fitz wanted a powerfully religious document. Henry and Jimmy would have none of it. They wanted a psychological book which would lure the reader in; when he finally arrived among us, there would be enough time to tip him off about the spiritual character of our society. As he worked feverishly on this project Fitz made trip after trip to New York from his Maryland home to insist on raising the spiritual pitch of the AA book. Out of this debate came the spiritual form and substance of the document, notably the expression, "God as we understand Him," which proved to be a ten strike. As umpire of these disputes, I was obliged to go pretty much down the middle, writing in spiritual rather than religious or entirely psychological terms.30

When the content of the book had been decided, there was still the issue of what to name the book. The naming of the book Alcoholics Anonymous is a story in itself, and the earliest Washington AAs both played a role in determining what that name would be. Bill remembered that,

voting on what the title of the new book should be became one of our major occupations, both in Akron and New York. The more we tried the more difficult it seemed. Some wanted a novel type title, others wanted a title like a textbook. Perhaps a couple of hundred were suggested.31

There were three front runners for the title: "One Hundred Men," "The Way Out," and "Alcoholics Anonymous." "One Hundred Men" seemed appropriate because there were nearly one hundred AAs sober in the fellowship. But, as Jimmy B. pointed out, "We. . . found our name 'One Hundred Men' inadequate for we had forgotten the ladies and we already had one girl, Florence R. on the ball32 So because of Florence, the name "One Hundred Men" was rejected. That left the decision between the titles "The Way Out" and "Alcoholics Anonymous." Quoted below is Bills description of Fitz's contribution to the final title choice.

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As the day of publication approached we racked our brains to find a suitable name for the volume. We must have considered at least two hundred titles. Thinking up titles and voting upon them at meetings became one of our main activities. A great welter of discussion and argument finally narrowed our choice to a single pair of names. Should we call our new book "The Way Out" or should we call it "Alcoholics Anonymous"? That was the final question. A last-minute vote was taken by the Akron and New York Groups. By a narrow majority the verdict was for naming our book "The Way Out." Just before we went to print somebody suggested there might be other books having the same title. One of our early lone members (dear old Fitz M., who then lived in Washington) went over to the Library of Congress to investigate. He found exactly twelve books already titled "The Way Out." When this information was passed around, we shivered at the possibility of being the "Thirteenth Way Out." So "Alcoholics Anonymous" became first choice. That's how we got a name for our book of experience, a, name for our movement, and, as we are now beginning to see, a tradition of the greatest spiritual import. God does move in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform!33

After 1938 AA work came to dominate Fitz's life, often taking him to Washington, New York, or Akron. In the fall of 1939, he left his family at Cumberstone and took up permanent residence in Washington, living with his sister Agnes sometimes and with friends other times. By December of that year the charter members of the first permanent AA group in Washington had come together. During the spring of 1940, Fitz met Ruth J., the woman he would marry in 1943. (Ruth was also known by the name Arabella.) At this point Fitz's life became intertwined with the Washington Group of Alcoholics Anonymous. Our story will turn to the Washington Group and then discuss the final years of Fitz M.'s life in the Post Script.

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Florence R., 1895 - 1943


During this same time frame, another figure was fighting to maintain sobriety and attempting to reshape her life in accordance with the principles of the Twelve Steps. Florence R. occupies an important place in the story of how AA came to the Washington area.

She was the first woman to get sober in AA in New York. Her story A Feminine Victory has the distinction of being the only story written by a woman appearing in the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous. Its opening paragraph is especially poignant, as it served as an inspiration for countless other women.

To my lot falls the rather doubtful distinction of being the only "lady" alcoholic in our particular section. Perhaps it is because of a desire for a "supporting cast" of my own sex that I am praying for inspiration to tell my story in a manner that may give other women who have this problem the courage to see it in its true light and seek the help that has given me a new lease on life.34

Between 1936 and late 1939, Fitz M. had been living in Cumberstone, Maryland and making periodic visits to Washington to work with drunks, but Florence was the first AA to reside there permanently working to establish an AA foothold in the nations capitol.

Before leaving for Washington, Florence lived in New York where she was married to a man named K------, a friend of Bill W. She had a very difficult time staying sober. Although she and K------ divorced, he continued to help her, finally taking her to Bellevue Hospital in New York for treatment. At this point, Bill and Lois got involved and brought her home to live with them for a while. She also stayed, on and off, with various other members of the New York fellowship. Finally, after she gained a year of sobriety, Bill Wilson sent her, along with a $50 grant, to start up AA in Washington.

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GSO has her DC address during these years as 3407 Holmead Place, NW. It is just off 16th Street near Park Road. Her death certificate has her address as 805 5th St., NW.

Bill Wilson's description of her years in Washington continued her story. along about 1936 or 1937, Florence dug a lot of people out of Gallinger (Hospital) and they finally overwhelmed her and she got drunk and by this time (1939), I think she was washing around in the background down there. Poor girl, she had been sober a year or two. She came from New York to start a group - I remember finding the records at the Foundation now, about 1936 or maybe 1937, we granted her $50 to go to Washington and start an AA group. But I think - she kind of got in the background, but I imagine there were still some of the people washing around - practically nobody staying sober at this period [1939 Washington] " 35

Even though Florence was unsuccessful in establishing a group in Washington, she nevertheless played an important part in early AA history. One of the legacies she left the fellowship was the role she played in the naming of the Big Book. Her heroic efforts to stay sober resulted in a vital change to the naming of Bill Wilsons opus from "One Hundred Men" to "Alcoholics Anonymous." In this regard, Jimmy B. was later to write, "We also found our name One Hundred Men inadequate for we had forgotten the ladies and we already had one girl, Florence R., on the ball."

By the fall of 1939, Florence's AA pioneering work within AA was over. In the first letter Fitz wrote to the Alcoholic Foundation upon arriving in Washington in November of 1939, he passed the sad news to Bills secretary Ruth Hock.

One woman . . . Florence R. is not in evidence. She is in love with a hellion 15 years younger than she who feeds her beer - so says her landlady. He and she put Shirley on the train the other day and Florence did not return to the

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boarding house. I am hoping she boarded the train with Shirley - she owes the landlady $36.00 I am told. Poor woman - I hope she finds the way out - I don't think she will here. You know how the people chatter, especially the gals about the leader who slips.
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This letter clearly implies that Florence slipped. However, it is also clear that the words so says her landlady make this a matter of hearsay. Without other

corroborating evidence, only speculation can be made regarding her sobriety after the fall of 1939.

Sometime after 1939 Florence R. married a carpenter named Krouse and appears to have had further contact with the program. A copy of Alcoholics Anonymous in the General Service Organization archives in New York contains her signature dated April 9, 1940. The WAIA archives also holds a copy of that signature.

She died on April 19, 1943 at the age of 47 of pneumococcal meningitis. The WAIA archives maintains a copy of the Death Certificate that indicates she died in Gallenger Municipal Hospital (DC General Hospital) after a two day stay.

Two Washington Group AAs including Fitz, were called to the coroner's office to identify the body.37 She was buried in George Washington Memorial Cemetery in Prince Georges County, Maryland on April 26, 1943.

In 2006, the gravesite of Florence R was located by the WAIA archives committee. In 2007, Washington area AA members volunteered individual funds to erect a gravestone for Florence. The headstone appropriately contains the title of her story A Feminine Victory.

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Jim S.
Jim S. helped to form AAs first Black group in 1945. At the time, DC was a racially segregated society, creating a problem for Black members who wanted to attend AA meetings.

Jim, like his father, was a physician. He attended Howard University in DC and practiced medicine, although he never thought of himself as a good doctor. He married Viola (Vi) and they started a family.

In 1935, during the Great Depression, Jim suffered financial losses and turned to heavy drinking. His attempts at geographic cures in North Carolina, Seattle, and

Pittsburgh failed him. Vi stayed in DC where she had steady employment. He returned to DC, ran afoul of the law, and served some jail time for spousal abuse. He became concerned about the effects of drinking when he filled a prescription for one of his friends wife, but had no memory of doing so the next day. He continued to drink.

Ella G., a friend, made arrangements for Jim to meet Charlie G., a white man who became Jims sponsor. The three of them and three or four others started holding AA meetings at Ellas house. This became the first meeting of a colored group, originally called the Negro Group. Interestingly, they decided that the group should be open to all. Several white AA members attended the meetings, assisted with finances and provided some suggestions concerning how meetings were conducted and how to do Twelve Step work.

Vi continued to work while Jim spent his time getting the group going. When the group grew too large for Ellas house, Jim obtained a room at the YMCA for two dollars a night. He was an active 12 stepper and often brought drunks home to help them get sober. He would call Vi and ask if it was ok to bring this new drunk over. She encouraged him to bring the drunk home, adding, Im not afraid.
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Vi also went to

many of the early meetings, helping Jim wherever she could. When Jim was busy, Vi 21

would go on 12 step calls herself, trying as best she could to provide support for the wife of the drunk. In an interview with Lois W., she indicated that she had read the Big Book, telling Lois that is became a new way of life for herself as well as for Jim. Over those early years they estimated that they had 100 drunks stay at their house.

Jim had the experience of helping his sponsor, Charley, who had a couple of slips and was drinking heavily. Jim would go to Charleys house and bring him back home where he and Vi would help him get sober. When Jim was interviewed by Bill W., in 1954, he said that Charley had been continuously sober for several years. Bill also asked Jim, Was yours the first colored group? Any place? Jim answered, To my knowledge it was. The one in Harlem started later. I came up and I helped start it there. 39

In 1955, Jim was invited to address the AA International Convention in St. Louis. Bill W.s introduction was powerful. Jims story appears in the new AA book, second edition, and I suppose the starting of Jims group in Washington is one of the epics of AA. And Vi, his good wife, has probably sheltered more drunks under her roof than anyone else in AA. In AA Comes of Age, Bill recalls that day as follows. A deep silence fell as Dr. Jim S., the AA speaker, told of his life experience and the serious drinking that led to the crises which brought about his spiritual awakening. He reenacted for us his own struggle to start the very first group among Negroes, his own people. Aided by a tireless and eager wife, he had turned his home into a combined hospital and AA meeting place, free to all. He told how early failure had finally been transformed under Gods grace into amazing success, we who listened and realized that AA, not only could cross seas and mountains and boundaries of language and nation but could surmount obstacles of race and creed as well.40

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The Boys of 39
The term "Boys of 39" first appears in the records of the Washington Group in the spring of 1948, when Henry S., a member of the Chevy Chase Group, became interested in writing a history of AA in Washington. According to Henry S. and Hardin C., both of whom were present during the final months of 1939, the "Boys of '39" were Fitz M., Ned F., George S., Bill E., Steve M., and Hardin C.41 The unfolding history of the Washington Group reveals how closely the history of the group parallels the history of the larger AA fellowship. The year 1939 was a very important year for Alcoholics Anonymous both nationally and locally in Washington, D.C. In 1939, the book Alcoholics Anonymous was published, the Alcoholic Foundation was incorporated, and the Foundation office in New York became a central clearing house and referral point for information from and about alcoholics all over the country. In Washington, DC, 1939 was the year of the founding of the Washington Group. Throughout 1939 the fellowship got important national attention through articles in several magazines and newspapers. With the new recognition came letters and

telephone calls from drunks and relatives of drunks in cities and towns across the country, seeking information about the fellowship and AA contacts in their area. The Alcoholic Foundation received hundreds of requests for the new book, Alcoholics Anonymous. Members of the Foundation staff answered letters, filled book orders, and referred inquiries to the AA member or group nearest the caller. They carefully filed away the correspondence of the Foundation, preserving an accurate record of the business transacted during these formative years. The foresight of the early Foundation staff to keep careful records made it possible to accurately reconstruct the history of the early years of Alcoholics Anonymous and the foundations of the fellowship in Washington, D,C., and other communities across the country. The earliest documented evidence of AA in the Washington area is preserved in the correspondence files of the General Services Archives. A letter dated October 26, 1939, from the Alcoholic Foundation to Fitz M. at the Gatewood House, 2107 S. Street,

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begins a dialogue between Washington area AA members and the Foundation that established many personal ties over the coming years. It is a simple and businesslike letter that begins, "glad to hear that you are back in the Washington area," and refers four inquiries from drunks in the Washington area.42 When Fitz moved to Washington, he became the southernmost representative of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he was therefore responsible for the territory south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Two of the four inquiries that were referred to him came from Washington, one came from lower Virginia, and one from North Carolina. One of the Washington drunks referred to Fitz by this letter was Hardin C. The first contact between Fitz and Hardin C, marks the beginning of the Washington Group. From this meeting of two men, the Washington Group grew and continued to expand over the decades.43 The date of the meeting was two or three days after Fitz received the letter from New York dated October 26, 1939. If the mail took two days to arrive from New York, then the date of the founding of the Washington Group was October 28, 1939. Fitz's reply to the Alcoholic Foundation's letter of October 26, 1939, implies that he had already established personal relationships in Washington where there were people staying sober - even before 1939. But his correspondence also indicates that the people he knew before Hardin C. did not become part of the original AA group. His letter begins by reporting that Hardin C., "the fine fellow referred to him in the October 26 letter," had contacted him and offered his home as a meeting place. This was an answer to a prayer, for the little group of alkies could hold their Tuesday night meeting there. In the letter, he also mentioned that he met a retired Navy Commander living in D.C. who had gotten his AA in California two years earlier and who was now working with alkies in the city. He goes on to say, "We are getting sort of solid now with Comdr. C., Goldsmith, Dillard and myself getting together. Then we have Hardin C" the Magills, the Waters, the Andrews all very interested. Also George E."44 This is a curious letter because it contains the names of many people that we never hear about again. Furthermore, it is difficult to distinguish between those who are alcoholics and those who are non-alcoholic friends. Who, for example, is Commander C., and where could he have gotten his AA in California in 1937? Who are the Magills, the

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Waters, the Andrews, Goldsmith or Dillard? Fitz writes as though these people form a group, and yet only Fitz and Hardin were among the original members of the Washington Group. The most likely explanation is that some of these people were members of the local Oxford Group and some of them may have been alcoholics. Nevertheless, the meeting of Fitz and Hardin was the beginning of the new group. During the next few months four more men joined them to form the beginnings of a fellowship. According to Hardin C., these six men were Fitz M., Ned F., Bill E., George S., Hardin C., and Steve M.45 As a long-time member of AA, Fitz brought his experience, strength, and hope from the established groups in New York and Akron. But Fitz would not be the only experienced AA to contribute to the founding of the Washington Group. When Ned F. arrived from New York in December of 1939 with about six months AA sobriety behind him, he became an invaluable member of the group during its first year.

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Ned F.
Ned became a member of Alcoholics Anonymous in New York during the spring of 1939. A lawyer by profession, but unemployed because of his drinking problems, he had survived the year on $22.50 a week supplied by his mother who lived in Cleveland. Before finding the New York AA group, Ned had tried all the known treatments for his alcoholism. He spent the summer of 1938 in the expensive Bloomingdale

Institute, only to end up drunk and in trouble two weeks after his release. His next stop was the Westchester Hospital for the Insane, where he met the man who introduced him to Alcoholics Anonymous and took him to his first meeting. At that meeting, in which Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob S. spoke, two things that Ned heard stuck in his mind. Dr. Bob described how he had been drunk from 1898 until he met Bill in 1934, and Bill W. said that hope was the spiritual base of the fellowship. Bill asked those affected with the incurable disease, "Can you admit to the barest possibility of a power greater than your-self?" Later, as he approached a neighborhood bar, Ned contemplated the threatening reality implied by Bob's experience. Bob had been a young man like himself 40 years ago, and he had lived in the anguish of alcoholism all those years, not a fate that Ned relished. But, in Bill's message was a hope of salvation for even the worst alky, Ned decided to give AA a try. During that summer and fall he remained in New York where he attended AA meetings and worked with other drunks. A happy coincidence occurred for Ned when a man from Washington, DC visited his friend, Dr. Sam Crocker, who had been treating Ned's alcoholism. The friend had come to New York to interview a patient of Dr. Crocker's for a job at the Civil Aeronautics Authority. But the man was an alcoholic and unable to accept the position because he was an inmate at a mental institution. Dr. Crocker had been impressed by Ned's recovery in AA and recommended him to fill the legal assistant position. Ned accepted the job and moved to the nation's capital. When he arrived in Washington, his first AA assignment was a referral from Bill W., who suggested that he talk to an ex-Army Sergeant who needed and might even want the AA program.46 Ruth

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Hock, the secretary of the Alcoholic Foundation, wrote to Ned, "Bill Wilson advised me that you are now in Washington and would be glad to do what you could," and she adds, "I have a few inquiries which I will send along shortly. Meanwhile, we have an urgent and sincere letter from Mr. Louis M. of Baltimore"47 Ruth's letter constituted Ned's official initiation into the Washington AA community.

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The Indigenous Drunks


In addition to the two experienced AAs from the New York group, the "Boys of '39" included four local drunks. Little is known of the native Washingtonians. One of them, Hardin C., had contacted the Foundation office in New York (or someone, perhaps his wife, had contacted the office for him) and his case was referred to Fitz. Hardin and his wife offered their home as a meeting place for the newly forming group. When Fitz found George S., the second Washington native, he was in the Greenhill Institute undergoing "Samaritan Treatment" for his alcoholism. This was probably early in November of 1939. Shortly after his release from Greenhill, George became an active member of the new AA group and returned to his prestigious job with one of the New Deal agencies. Fitz described him in glowing terms in his letter of March in 1940.

With the same zest that he landed in Gallinger Hospital under the influence of gin and five policemen, he is now out to give the message of Alkies Anon to Washington in a big way. Having been put in charge of all the Federal projects in the District, with 29 supervisors and 3800 men under him, he has gotten himself into a vital position so to speak, where a lot of people have to listen to him. Anyway, he says, "to hell with opposition, this city needs meetings" and forthwith three halls are offered. The one chosen is Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall (appropriate for alkies, I think, don't you?).48

The third man from Washington was Steve M., an ex-Army Sergeant and probably the man Bill W. had sent Ned to contact. While he was a member of the group, he worked in one of the area correctional institutions. Joining the group in late 1939, he remained a member until the summer of 1941, when he moved to Atlanta and played a key role in founding the AA group there. The fourth man was Bill E., a well-to-do Washingtonian who worked in the publishing business. Before finding the Washington Group, he had remained sober by

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attending the meetings of a local Oxford Group. Although he was an active member of the Washington Group and in later years worked toward the opening of a Washington office of the National Council on Alcoholism, very little is recorded about him during the first year. As 1939 drew to a close, events for the Washington Group began to occur rapidly. The publication of the Big Book increased the calls for help from all over the country and those from the Washington area increased proportionately. The steady stream of referrals from New York produced new recruits and the small group's twelve step work added to the number. As soon as the new recruits were sober, they began twelve-step work. One of the first products of this work was Dick T., a man who tried to pan-handle Fitz in a downtown park and ended up getting twelve-stepped into the program.49 Most of the information about the AA work in Washington from November and December of 1939 is from Fitz's correspondence with New York. His reports of great progress were filled with a buoyancy and enthusiasm that seemed to reflect his faith that God was in Heaven and the world was unfolding as it should. He talked about his new contacts Dr. Klein of the Green Hill Institute, someone at St. Elizabeths Hospital, and George S., the new recruit. He reflected on his unhappy financial condition, but was not dismayed by his troubles.

After trying various expedients to get what man calls a 'job', I find that nothing has happened. But I find that there is plenty to do here - so to hell with that other stuff - I may have to sleep in the dog house...but it's O.K. with me... If I'm supposed to have that kind I'll get it. I find plenty to do as is... I am paid up at Gatewood until Sunday.50

By Monday Fitz had moved in with George E., a fellow alky. As he had done before, Fitz used the apartment of his sister Agnes as an office. His main concern was getting the Washington AA group firmly established and making it highly visible in the community -- visible enough that even the sickest alcoholics would know about it and could find it.

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The first thing needed for AA in the District of Columbia was a general headquarters, or as Fitz described it, "a room with a phone as headquarters. And get some permanency in it, we are rather nebulous to the general public When we get the G.H.Q., I will get some publicity on it." 51 By the end of 1939 Washington, DC had an Alcoholics Anonymous Group of its own. As the members rang in the New Year of 1940, the Washington Group was less than two months old, but it had established a permanent beachhead. The nation's capital would never again be without an AA group.

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AA Growth in 1940
As the Washington Group was getting established in 1939, the national AA fellowship was also reaching a stage of escalating growth. According to statistics

prepared by Dr. Harry Tiebolt, approximately 400 people sobered up in AA during 1939 bringing the total membership to around 600. At the end of 1939 the Washington Group had 6 or possibly 7 members. In 1940 another 2000 sobered up nationally including about 70 members from the Washington Group. Another 8000 came into the program in 1941 increasing AA membership to over 10,000 nationwide52, and by September of 1941 the Washington Group had grown to more than 300 members53. No central record has been kept of the founding dates of the various AA groups. A good approximation of the national AA scene in 1940 has been provided, however, in correspondence between Margaret B., secretary for the Foundation in 1948, and Henry S., of the Chevy Chase Group. Henry S., who had a longtime interest in the history of AA, intended to write a history of the Washington Group. In August of 1940 and again in 1948 Henry wrote to the Alcoholic Foundation to ask, "Just where does the Washington Group stand in the order of AA group beginnings?" His 1940 letter to the Foundation requested a complete list of AA membership and mailing addresses. The Foundation staff, who were at that time learning to work with the concept of anonymity, refused this request, but sent instead a list of cities in which "AA activity goes on." The list sent to Henry included the following 14 cities and the name of an AA contact in each city, The Washington Group is not included because the list was written for Washingtonian Henry S., who didn't need to be informed of its existence54.

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Richmond, VA Dayton, OH San Francisco, CA Little Rock, AR Akron, OH Los Angeles, CA Evansville, IN

Cleveland, OH Houston, TX Coldwater, MI Detroit, MI Chicago, IL Jackson, MI New York, NY

This was not a comprehensive list, of AA groups in early 1940. Instead, it was a list of cities in which there was an AA contact. The list included cities with established groups; cities in which a few meetings occurred, but the group failed to survive; and cities in which a lone alcoholic maintained contact with the New York Group. When Henry wrote her again eight years later, Margaret could provide a clearer impression of the state of AA across the country in the summer of 1940. She said that only about six of the fourteen cities listed in the 1940 letter actually had AA groups and the remaining eight probably were AA loners or contacts. She ascribes the groups in these eight cities as follows:

The Richmond Group which was represented by McGhee B., did not really get off the ground until a few years later. Dayton did not appear until much later and it is questionable whether the AA contact listed in 1940 remained in the program. Larry J. was in Houston, but there wasn't much of a group therein 1940. The same goes for Los Angeles and San Francisco, which had a couple of members each and plenty of headaches before any established group could be recognized. Coldwater and Evansville were simply listed for contacts and the Little Rock entry is questionable55.

Margaret also provided a description of the groups that did exist at that time, as she reminisced about her first six months in the program:

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I first saw the light of day in AA early in 1940, and that summer Ruth [H.], another member, and I decided we would visit the established AA groups. So we set out to visit the first one which was holding regular meetings and had more than a handful of members. This was Cleveland. We next went to Chicago, where about 100 members gathered in a downtown building each Tuesday night. Then we cut back to Detroit, where I guess there were about 25 or 50 members. Jackson, Michigan also boasted of 20 members, and we stopped there. In order to make a big showing, they had their wives, husbands, sweethearts, friends, and anyone who had been dry five minutes come to the meeting. This was in the good old days when we had to show the world a large membership, and anyone who could sit still for 2 hours was counted in. At that time, I believe Fitz had gone to Washington, and there were a few scattered members there, but not what we then called a large group, The same might be said for Philadelphia and a couple of other places. It's awfully hard to specify dates of founding and ages of groups, for so many personal factors enter. I imagine that Washington dates their founding from the time Fitz went there. I know Philadelphia bases theirs from the date Jimmy (B,) stepped on their ground56.

The fellowship was growing at amazing speed in 1940. By the fall of the year the number of groups had grown to twenty-two, according to a Bulletin prepared by Ruth Hock at the Alcoholic Foundation on November 14, 1940. The bulletin listed sixteen towns where lone AAs had recovered through the book alone or from a brief contact with established groups, five cities where groups were "in a get together stage," and the following list of communities where AA work was well established and weekly meetings were being held:

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New York City, NY South Orange, NJ Washington, DC Richmond, VA Detroit, MI Jackson, MI Coldwater, MI Chicago, IL Houston, TX Los Angeles, CA San Francisco, CA

Evansville, IN Little Rock, AR Philadelphia, PA Baltimore, MD Waunakee, WI Greenwich, CT Cleveland, OH Akron, OH Toledo, OH Dayton, OH Youngstown, OH

Although the two lists appear to conflict--Ruth's letter says there were no more than six groups in the summer, and the bulletin lists twenty-two in November -- it is possible that the numbers were both correct, reflecting the tremendous growth of the fellowship during 1940, just after the Big Book was published. All over the country alcoholics and their loved ones had tried everything available, and many were wiling to go to any length to find a cure or relief from their addiction. When Alcoholics Anonymous was published, word spread through newspapers, magazines, and by word of mouth. The Alcoholic Foundation was awash with calls and letters from all over the country asking for copies of the book. Because the way to stay sober described in the book was to work with other alcoholics, twelve-step work proliferated. One only has to witness the amazing growth of the Washington Group during the first months after it was formed in order for the nationwide numbers to become more believable57.

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The Nebulous Group


As the New Year of 1940 opened, the small Washington Group met on Tuesday nights, probably at the home of Hardin C. because they had not yet found a location to hold open public meetings. They answered referrals from the Alcoholic Foundation, twelve-stepped local drunks, and helped each other stay sober. But to Fitz and Ned, it was clear that in order for the group to flourish and to car the message to all the drunks that needed it, they had a long way to go. Although Alcoholics Anonymous had finally attracted national attention, the small group of AAs in Washington was still new and unknown. Few people knew enough about alcoholism or the AA program to search out the fellowship. In order to accomplish their goals, the group members had to make themselves better known in the community. They had to convince doctors, police, and other professionals that their program was both responsible and a service to the whole community as well as to sick individuals. They had to demonstrate that they were not boisterous drunks, self-

righteously preaching during short periods of sobriety. Above all, they had to convince the local alcoholics and their loved ones that they offered a real and lasting solution, not just another short-lived quick-fix. Twelve step work and staying sober were the principle tasks of the members during the first months of 1940, but word spread rapidly that an Alcoholics Anonymous group was in Washington. During that year the group made many new friends in

medical, religious, and civic organizations and brought in new members through an active twelve step program. But not all of the early contacts were friendly. Just after the New Year, Ned was approached by a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union who asked him to speak to her group. His letter of January 8, 1940, indicates that Ned expected a controversial evening at the Temperance Union, "Also have talked to the W.C.T.U. lady and am licking my chops in anticipation of a riotous evening later this week"58 The Temperance Union people wanted to outlaw alcoholic beverages entirely, and the "belligerent drunken slob" was their best advertisement. They believed that the work of Alcoholics Anonymous was intended to help the alcoholic, to relieve him of the

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compulsion to drink and help him become a useful member of society, and that it would make the temperance movement's proselytizing chore more difficult. One temperance writer described members of Alcoholics Anonymous as "missionaries of the liquor business" because they demonstrated that all alcoholics were not skid row bums, but that they could become productive, respectable members of the community. Dr. Haggard, of the Yale Center for Alcohol Studies, commented that, " this attitude makes sense, but it does not make humanitarianism"59 Ned did not seem threatened by the temperance people, and his later letters do not refer to the outcome of the meeting. According to Fitz's second wife, Arabella, however, some W.C.T.U. members tried a different strategy later that summer. The 1940 series of newspaper stories by Washington Star journalist Bob Erwin were a great success, informing the suffering alcoholics and their families, and public officials of the existence of the group. The stories also informed the members of the temperance societies of the presence of the group and, according to Arabella, required Fitz to explain the AA position. It (the articles) brought in a great many people. It also brought in the W.C.T.U! Three very nice women came in, matronly looking women, and they were very much impressed with AA and one of them got up and spoke and told how happy they were that they had found an organization to work with. They knew that we were all going to get along beautifully together and we would really put Prohibition back on the map again! It was at the time when this W.C.T.U. lady stopped speaking that Fitz ankled up to the platform and in his drawling voice, announced very abruptly as well as positively, that Alcoholics Anonymous had nothing to do with people who could drink and needed no help. They were not out to save the world from liquor, they were out to help those who had trouble with liquor and a lot of other things he said in a very nice way but very positively and these three dear ladies never showed up again!60

By 1940 the temperance societies had already lost the battle to control alcohol consumption in America; prohibition had failed. Two powerful new movements that

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were changing the public's conception of alcoholism had begun in the mid-1930s: Alcoholics Anonymous provided a practical program of abstinence and daily living for alcoholics and the Yale Center for Alcohol Studies provided the first systematic scientific study of alcohol problems. The heyday of the temperance societies was over. Most of the Washington Group's contacts in the community were positive. The hard work in the winter and spring paid off by the end of the summer with a strong, well organized fellowship that was well known and respected in the community. The first task, as Fitz pointed out, was to establish a permanent headquarters so that people attempting to find the group could easily locate or contact the group. Renting a post office box and establishing a permanent mailing address filled this need. Henry S., who had joined the group in its first months, worked at his father's printing business, and by mid February had designed and printed a simple but elegant letterhead for the Washington Group stationary. Part of a letter written on Washington Group stationary is shown here:

The next important task was to obtain a public meeting place to replace meeting in members' homes. George S., the Brigadier General who was in charge of federal projects in the District, obtained the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall at 1700 L. Street Northwest. The first meeting in the V.F.W. Hall was held on Thursday, March 21st, at 8:00 and thereafter the regular meetings were scheduled on Tuesday night.61 George S., it should be noted, had been sober about four months at this time, having been twelve stepped by Fitz in the fall. The Washington group met at the V.F.W. Hall for several months, probably from March 21st through sometime in June, and then met briefly at the Burlington Hotel on Vermont Avenue. Next they moved to the Hamilton Hotel on the corner of 14th and K

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Streets, NW, where they met until September when they opened their first clubhouse at 1310 Massachusetts Avenue. It was the nature of the fellowship that as it grew in numbers and recognition it also increased in effectiveness. More members meant more twelve step calls producing still more new members. Regular meetings in public locations made the meetings

predictable and easy to find. The opening of the clubhouse in September provided a regular meeting place, a dedicated telephone number, and a place for new members to dry out and hang out until they got steady. And time itself was their ally. With every day that passed each sober member had grown through another day of sobriety, had learned a little more, and had more experience, strength, and hope to pass on to the new members. It is interesting to note that on January 1, 1940, the cumulative sobriety of the group was about four and a half years (Fitz had four years, Ned had six months), but by the end of the year the accumulated sobriety had grown to several decades with many members approaching first anniversaries. One of the first new members of 1940, and the first woman member of the Group, was Dorothy H. Dorothy was fortunate to have an intelligent and sensitive friend in her Aunt Frances, a non-alcoholic who worked for the Womens' Bureau. Frances knew about Dorothy's drinking problem when she heard about the presence of Alcoholics Anonymous in the District. She convinced her niece that the fellowship might be able to help her with her drinking problem. The members of the Washington Group readily accepted Dorothy and elected her group secretary to ease her discomfort as the only woman in the group and to help make her feel useful.62 The tradition of giving new-comers a "trusted servant" position to help them become part of the group had already been established at this early date. During the same months that Dorothy's Aunt Frances was searching for a way to help her niece, another woman was searching for a way to help her suffering husband and having a difficult time finding the fellowship. In the fall of 1939 when Liz E. heard about Alcoholics Anonymous, there was no AA group in Washington; the nearest established group was in New York. As the new year began, the newly formed group was meeting in Hardin C.'s house. Their existence was known only to a few friends and the Alcoholic Foundation in New York. It was

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difficult for a sober, intelligent, and resourceful person to find the group, and for the drunk himself it would have been almost impossible. The story of Liz and Bob E. illustrates how hard it was to locate the new group. During the fall of 1939, while her husband, Bob, was out of work and suffering repeated alcoholic binges, Liz heard about a group of people who could help people with drinking problems like Bob. But she did not know the name of the group nor how to contact it. None of her friends had even heard of the group. After exhausting all the sources she knew, Liz wrote to Homer Haskin, an Evening Star columnist, asking for information about a group called Anonymous Inc. Neither Mr. Haskin nor anyone else at the Star had heard of the group, but on January 6, 1940, Mr. Haskin wrote to the Federal Council of Churches of Christ of America, asking if they knew anything about Anonymous Inc. The letter from the Council of Churches dated January 13, 1940, provided the needed information:

January 13, 1940 My Dear Mr. Haskin: In reply to your inquiry of January 6 I am sorry to have to say that I do not know anything about the organization called "Anonymous, Inc." I wonder, however, whether your inquirer may not have confused this with the movement known as "Alcoholics Anonymous." This is a group of former alcoholics who meet in New York to strengthen one another's resolution and to help alcoholics to reform. This is a very informal

organization, so informal that perhaps it can hardly be called an organization. Those interested meet, I believe, in Steinway Hall, New York. They have recently published a volume entitled "Alcoholics Anonymous" which comes from the press of the Works Publishing Company, Church Street Annex, P.O. Box 657, New York City.

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Mr. Haskin forwarded the reply to Liz, who then wrote to the address given for the Works Publishing Company. On February 28, 1940, she received the following reply from Ruth Hock, secretary of the Alcoholic Foundation:

February 28, 1940 Dear Mrs. E---, Thank you for your recent letter. We know you realize how similar are some of the stories in the book Alcoholics Anonymous and what you tell us of your husband. It is difficult for any of our members to be helpful to other alcoholics unless they themselves sincerely desire to stop. You stated in your letter that usually toward the latter part of his sprees he begs you to get someone to help him and we are wondering if that would not be a good time to tell him of Alcoholics Anonymous, what they have accomplished and what they are trying to do. You, of course, would more easily recognize the opportune time to present him with this idea than we at this distance, however, it would undoubtedly help. We have a small membership in Washington, DC and we would like you to get in touch with Mr. Edward F---, c/o University Club, Washington, D.C. We assure you that you will find Mr. F--- interesting and understanding for he has gone through the difficulties of alcoholism himself and will appreciate an opportunity to discuss the matter with you. Perhaps such a personal talk will prove more helpful. Please let us hear from you again at any time if we can be of further assistance.

Sincerely, R. Hock, Secretary

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After receiving the letter, Liz contacted Ned, who described the program to her and invited her to the next meeting at the V.F.W. Hall, where they could discuss her problem. Liz took her girlfriend along and together they attended meetings until Bob's binge had run its course. Then she brought Ned home to make the twelve step call. The twelve step call was successful, and Bob had become an active member of the group by the end of the summer. Liz continued to attend meetings as she had before Bob joined the group, and she remained a member of the group until her death in 1988.63 Both Bob and Dorothy were fortunate because there was someone in each of their lives who loved them enough to search for help and who was diligent enough and competent enough, or lucky enough, to find the AA group in Washington. But making AA accessible to everyone who needed it was a problem for the members of the Washington Group just as it was for the larger fellowship nationwide. The AAs used whatever means were available to bring AA to the attention of the public. Experienced AAs traveled from group to group, criss-crossing the country, to share their experience, strength, and hope, sometimes gaining valuable publicity for local groups or the overall fellowship. One of the best known members of AA during that period was Marty Mann, who was also probably the most influential woman in the alcohol treatment community, Marty Mann is cited by a number of sources as an organizer of AA in Washington. She may have spoken at a meeting in the fall of 1939, but there is no real evidence to prove that she did. There are, however, indications that she was in

Washington in the spring of 1940. Bill W's letter to Ned F. dated April 4 said, ". . . he [Fitz M.], along with Marty Mann, can't say enough complimentary things about the way everything is working out down there."64 Fitz's letter to Bill said, "Bring Marty along. Another trip this way will do her good. Tell her I had a nice chat with Betty, who seems all pepped up from her visit."65 During that first spring and summer, Fitz and some of the others worked on developing contacts and furthering the cause of the suffering alcoholic in as many ways as possible. While a surprising number of the ideas and personal contacts were highly productive, not all of them worked out. The alcoholic far idea, for example, received support from many quarters, but was not publicly implemented.

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Fitz's May 22 letter told how he and Jimmy were working on the alcoholic far idea. He says, " someone should get busy on this alcoholic far business and keep interest stirred up - Jimmy B. has Preston lined up (he is the head of the State Hospitals in MD) for a conference at 3 P.M. on Monday next. Jim wants me to come to Baltimore to sit in."66 The alcoholic farm concept remained with Fitz through the summer and in an August letter to Bill he wrote, "Ray Huff, the superintendent of the Penal institutions of the District, is a man who is very interested in the AAs and is out to cooperate with us 100%. We have quite a fine alumni association from Occaquan, the work house, already, and some action going on inside."67 He goes on to explain that, in addition to Mr. Huff, he has been working with two of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia government to get the alcoholic farm plan rolling. He asked Bill for advice on how to proceed with this work, and Bill replied with a well thought out four page analysis of the alcoholic farm issue.68 As the summer of 1940 came to a close the group had already grown considerably. The original "boys of 39''', Fitz M., Ned F., Bill E., George S., Steve M., and Hardin C. were central. Dorothy H. became the first woman member of the group. Among the members who joined the group during its first months was Henry S., who worked at his father's printing business. By mid-February he had designed and printed business stationary for the Washington Group correspondence.69 Bill A., a well known Virginia businessman, joined the Group very early and made frequent trips to New York to learn from the established group there. He later financed the church in Rosslyn, Virginia, known as St. Exxon's. Paul H., a Rhodes Scholar who was employed at the 1940 equivalent of today's Goodwill Industries, came into the fellowship during these early months. Bill V., a recovering New Jersey alky, began spending time in the Washington area. After coming to work for a government agency, he made his home in the downtown area and served as an officer of the club. Bob and his wife, Liz E., who helped him stay sober through the next 48 years, became active members.

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Other very active members during that first year included Eddie K., Kev S., Len H., and a Dutch plumber named Paul K., but little is known about them because their names do not appear in the documentation of that period.

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The Bob Erwin Articles


Probably the biggest boost the Washington Group got during that first year was a series of articles in the Evening Star written by Bob Erwin, a non-alcoholic journalist. The series alerted the suffering drunks of the District to the presence of the AA group in town. The seven articles in the series described the fellowship in a straightforward and honest way and helped the community accept the new fellowship. At the time these articles were written, Alcoholics Anonymous had received little attention in the press. Seven months earlier, in September of 1939, an important article was published in Liberty magazine, but at that time AA had no central office or staff to answer calls or inquiries. Many people who read the Liberty article sought further information about the fellowship, but they were forced to write directly to the author, who forwarded their letters to Dr. Bob at Towns Hospital.70 A few months later, an article in a Houston newspaper provided good exposure for the fellowship. In his letter of April 4, one month before the Erwin article appeared, Bill W. told of the impact of the Houston articles.

I don't know whether you have ever heard of our Houston delegation so I'll tell you the story briefly. One of the Cleveland, Ohio men with several ribs and one lung missing and a very bad case of alcoholism besides, went to Houston, Texas for his health. Within two weeks he had a job on the Houston newspaper and several days later appeared in its columns with six daily articles on AA. Many people up here think its the best publicity we've had yet. Anyway, it was so well thought of we added a few things like the Silkworth article, etc. and had it printed in the form of a small booklet.71

The Bob Erwin articles were important to the general AA fellowship, but they were particularly significant to the Washington contingent. The first article, "Victims of Alcohol Hold Weekly Meetings to Aid One Another in Overcoming Weakness of Drink," which appeared in the May 5 Sunday Star, stretched across seven columns of print and

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contained a picture of an AA member making a twelve step call at the bedside of a drunk. The article began this way:

Alcoholics Anonymous, the nationwide brotherhood of alcoholics who have banded together to help one another lick their common illness - alcoholism, has established itself in Washington. This movement and such it has become, reaches the Nation's capital after five years of successful trial in other cities, trial that helps prove the contention that an alcoholic understands the problems of an alcoholic better than anybody else.72

The article described the program and gave the address of the Alcoholic Foundation in New York. It noted that the founder of the organization said that the recovery rate was 50% to 60% and that there were then 600 recovering alcoholics in the fellowship. The original article also reported that a "colored group" had stared meeting in Arlington on Thursdays. The group was founded by an area businessman who recognized that some of his employees were in need of the program. The founder referred to in this passage is Bill A., who owned a lumber business in Arlington, Virginia.73 A paragraph at the very end of the article caused some concern for both Fitz and Bill W. because, as Bill wrote, " the job-getting paragraph may bring you a lot of headaches."74 The offending paragraph read as follows:

Something new comes out each meeting. At the end, however, the spirit of brotherly love stands out even more strongly when some AA brother stands up on a chair and announces that Mr. So and So, a brother on the way back, needs a job. The others rise to the occasion. If they have no job open, in the case of members who are employers, if they do not know of a job somewhere, they collectively go to work to find one for the man.75

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In spite of this troublesome paragraph, the article was a great boost for the Washington Group. During the week after its publication, the New York office received twenty letters from the D.C. area, many of them citing the article. Erwin got approval from his boss to begin a five or six part series about the Washington AA group. The rest of the articles in the series, Fitz wrote, " will clear up the idea that this outfit is in the job-getting business."76 Yet, in reality, the job-getting paragraph was not entirely in error. Some people found work through AA contacts, and two Washington area organizations, the Washington Federation of Churches and the Life Adjustment Center on Columbia Road, worked together specifically to secure work for some of the alkies.77 The original Erwin article along with the six part series were reprinted twice for distribution by the Washington Group and the Alcoholic Foundation. Several changes were made in the original article. The title was changed to "Experience Elsewhere Indicates Success of 'Alcoholics Anonymous'," and the paragraphs on "colored group founded" and "jobs" were omitted. Comparison of the two reprints shows how the group grew during the year between them: the 1940 edition lists membership of the Washington Group at 50, and the 1941 reprint shows it to be 200. During these summer months, AA in Washington was booming. Publicity, twelve step calls and contacts with influential members of the community were making the group a highly visible presence in the federal city. The day after the first Erwin article was published, Fitz wrote, "I missed the Tuesday meeting but understand there was a full house and it was the best yet. We have lots of boys in action throwing their alky brothers into Gallinger and what-not. I've been answering the telephone all day"78

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Washington Group Meetings


As the summer of 1940 wore on, the Washington Group continued to hold only one meeting a week. The meetings were mostly speakers meetings in which two to four members told their stories and discussed the principles of the program. There were neither step meetings nor discussion meetings. Although the twelve steps appeared in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, which was the first AA literature to discuss the twelve steps in depth, had not yet been written. There were no old-timers; Fitz had the longest sobriety in the Washington Group, with five years, and the second longest was Ned, who had been sober about one year. The concept of sponsors had not yet been developed and new members learned the program by listening and identifying with the experiences of others and by doing what they were doing to stay sober. The AA speakers meeting, however, was firmly established by 1940 and it has retained the form developed in the early years to the present day. The articles written by Bob Erwin during the summer of 1940 describe AA meetings that could have occurred in the 1990s as easily as the 1940s. The articles preserved the essence of several meetings over the summer and confirm the unchanging quality of the speaker meeting. In an article entitled "Honesty With One's Self A Prime Requirement," Erwin recorded the message of a young attorney in a federal bureau whom he called Mr. X. This anonymous person was Ned F., one of the two AAs who had over one year of sobriety and the only one of the two who worked for a federal agency. Ned emphasized the principles of honesty and humility as he told his story and discussed the eighth and ninth steps. It is clear from this transcript that the format of speakers meetings has remained relatively unchanged over the years.

"It's false pride," he affirmed, "if you don't admit that Old John Barleycorn has you licked. Not until I admitted that did I stop drinking. A friend gave me a copy of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, at the time I had been drinking for a month, but I was not very happy. I had just spent

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two months in a 'gooney roost'. That's one of our names for an institution for alcoholics. Then I started drinking again." "Anything that smacked of religion sounded like rules to me, Mr. X. continued, "and if you don't follow them you're out of the club. The first meetings I attended some one walked up and said 'Hello rummy.' That appealed to my sense of humor. As for religion, I found I could suit myself about that. Now I am convinced that religion is the cornerstone of the whole thing." "You have got to want not to drink," he said. "With me, it was a gradual process. Some of us, of course, have got all fired up with this thing right away and have stayed quit. As for religion, I have a simple faith and as you know, we have no connections, with any particular group." At this point, Mr. X. took up two points in the 12 steps that a confirmed drunkard follows to become a working member of Alcoholics Anonymous. They are, "To make a list of all persons we had harmed and become willing to make amends to them all" and "To make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others." "If you go to a chap who you have wronged when he thinks you are a heel," Mr. X. pointed out, "and if he still thinks so when you leave, you've lost nothing. You can't quit alcohol or anything else if something is biting you, I admitted my wrongs and it was like a spring house cleaning. In other words, I got the beer bottles out of the way and put away the dice. When you do that, though, you can't sit back and do nothing or the house will get dirty again. This thing is a continuous proposition." "I had the wrong idea of what religion was," he concluded, "There is some Power in this world to help you if you want to lead the right kind of life."79

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In another article later that summer, Erwin described a meeting in which Jimmy B. told about recent AA developments in Philadelphia. The theme of Jimmy's talk was the cooperation between the AA group in Philadelphia and the members of the medical profession in that city to help alcoholics.

"The keystone to the Philadelphia system is the Philadelphia General Hospital where many confirmed drunkards eventually wind up. The hospital's doctors became interested in Alcoholics Anonymous about a year ago and the group has been holding its weekly sessions at the hospital in recent months... Mr. B. related, 'We are allowed access to the hospital any time, day or night, we are welcomed there, and we frequently take in alcoholic victims or take them home when they are discharged. Two of the doctors have relatives in our group and in this way they came to know us well"80

Jimmy's talk that night may have influenced thinking in the Washington area, for the Washington AA group developed a close working relationship with the staff of Gallinger Municipal Hospital during the coming year that was similar to the Philadelphia relationship described by Jimmy. In the months after this talk, Gallinger Municipal Hospital began to issue special cards to assist AA members who brought drunks to their doors.

These special privilege cards issued by Gallinger Hospital

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testify to the good-will and confidence of the community.

These unique relationships between local AA groups and the hospitals that served the area were especially important because most of the hospitals in the country were still turning alcoholics away from their doors. These hospitals not only accepted alcoholics, but they also went to extraordinary lengths to assist the AAs who were helping the alkies. After the Erwin articles, the local AA group remained a newsworthy item. Nothing special occurred to warrant the story below; it was primarily a public service of the newspaper, keeping the new group before the public. Although the date was cut from this article, it was undoubtedly from the summer of 1940, when the group's Tuesday night meetings were held in a hotel instead of a clubhouse. The article also gives insight into one of the group's efforts to attract attention to its presence.

The Washington Chapter in recent weeks has varied its routine toward the social side at the same time keeping up its Tuesday night sessions. A second luncheon meeting will be held tomorrow noon at a restaurant downtown, while on Sunday afternoon, a member will again play host to the AAs with an open house at his home in Chevy Chase.81

The article contained a bit of AA social history under the subtitle, "Refreshments Served." The speaker was probably Jimmy B. again, giving a lesson on how to nurture a group of people who might not have been inclined to stick around after meetings.

"Another feature in Philadelphia", he explained, "is our refreshments. We serve doughnuts and coffee at every meeting. It costs little and keeps the group sitting around and talking after the meeting is over"82

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The Washington Group Comes of Age


Throughout the spring and summer the group continued to grow. An active twelve step program brought in new members, problems were solved, and lives were salvaged. Little documentation exists describing the personal stories of the individuals in the group. Fortunately, there is significant documentation describing the growth of the group and the founding of the first clubhouse. As the summer drew to a close, the initial crisis of organization had passed; the group had grown to sufficient size and its members were gaining solid sobriety. Since the end of May, the group's Tuesday night meetings at the Hamilton Hotel had averaged over forty people, three quarters of which were alcoholics.83 By September the membership of the group had grown to over seventy.84 In nine short months the Washington Group was founded, formed, grew and had come of age. And, almost as if they knew that someday a history would be written, the early members left a wonderful record of their feelings on the occasion of coming of age. In late August, Bob V. informed the Alcoholic Foundation that Ned had declared, "the Washington Group is done organized," and he described the organization in these words:

3 committees as follows: Contact Committee (new cases) Henry S., chairman; Instructions Committee Ned F., chairman; and Visiting Committee (old members, slippers, etc.) Don S., chairman. Organizer was Bill A. & committees are large with rotating chairmen and membership. Everyone seems very serious about the whole thing & a real effort is being made so that everyone finds something to do.85

The same drama that had played out at the national level was being repeated in Washington. Just as the AA founders struggled to establish the fellowship and obtain recognition, the individual groups in each new city struggled for local recognition and respect. In order to function effectively, the groups needed a permanent location with a telephone and an address where the AAs could receive mail and respond to calls for help.

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As autumn approached, the Washington Group searched for a suitable location for a permanent clubhouse -- a general headquarters in which to continue their work. Probably no amount of historical research could describe the founding of the new clubhouse as well as the letter written by Martin F.

As you no doubt know, we are getting a club house - move into it tomorrow night, in fact and will hold our first meeting there immediately after taking possession. The place is a former studio on the ground floor of an apartment house at 1310 Massachusetts Ave., NW. It consists of three rooms - one large room to which another somewhat smaller room is connected by large folding doors. Off the smaller room is a little bedroom which will do for the caretaker, when we find him. There are two baths, which solves that problem, and a sort of enlarged slot that will be ample for storage of folding chairs, etc. It has been estimated that 125 people can be accommodated without too much crowding. All considered, it would appear that the place will do admirably. We are starting cold, of course, no furniture except for 100 folding chairs, fifty of which were promoted by the indefatigable Henry S--, for free. The other necessary items will come through. The entire membership has responded magnificently, both financially and otherwise. It took some time for the idea to germinate, but once the snowball started it picked up speed at a great rate. Ned F-- was literally drafted to run the place, at least until it is on a going basis. We all felt that job demanded a person with more than a year of sobriety in back of him plus a knowledge of how the N.Y. house has been handled. These two qualifications are possessed by Ned together with an adequate amount of toughness tempered by tolerance, he damn well got the job. Of course, we all pitched in and helped him and will

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continue to do so, with the result that a minimum of his time is required for the actual performance of the necessary tasks Best Regards, Martin F.86

And so the Group was formed - one week shy of a year after the Alcoholic Foundation had welcomed Fitz to Washington and sent him his first referral. The group held three formal meetings at the club house each week and the doors were kept open every day. The club became known to the general public through a series of articles in the Washington Star which listed the address and the times and places of meetings. At the end of the first year, there was a single, well established AA group in Washington. There would be only one group in the city until 1945, when five new AA groups were formed, one of them designated a colored group in the world before integration. At that time, the traditions had not been formally established, and there were many lessons to learn. Many lessons were learned during that first year, but there were more to come. In a letter dated Nov. 23, 1940, Fitz discussed a variety of topics, including travels, gossip and new developments in the fellowship. He then gave a description of the new committee system that must have developed after the group moved into the club house:

We have at last gotten organized after the usual wave of pros and antis, and with the usual intolerance. Nothing like it to bring consolidation and harmony. God created the world out of chaos. Committees galore and nobody going to have their feelings hurt for being left out because there are enough committees to take care of them all. When there are not, we'll create some more. The Control Committee of the outfit is likened unto the Supreme Court. It rotates and rotates, by seniority chooses the heads of the other committees. The Program Committee and the leader of the next meeting get together and go to town putting on a good show. (See enclosed card for sample -- The judge

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happens to be our friend, Casey. He will probably see a lot of very familiar faces. Slippees who have seen the card will no doubt be conspicuous by their absence). The Membership Committee considers the status of applicants for membership (we intend to make it an honor to be an AA, so it will be said that we are tied up with the liquor interests when things get so that the normal (?) drinkers are fighting to become alcoholics so that they too can serve. The House Committee makes rules for the Club House and does the bouncing. Also has charge of furnishings. The Hospitality and Membership Committee covers the waterfront. Now that all this is organized, everybody seems to be happy and active. The Committees have yet to be chosen, but are functioning anyway under the wise administration of the chairmen who seem to pick on anyone at anytime. I have an idea that the time is nearly ripe for us to draft a book of suggestions for the use of new groups. I see no reason why they should not have the opportunity to profit by what has already been learnt.87

In this letter he also suggested that some attention should be paid to the wives of alcoholics and that a pamphlet "To Wives of Alcoholics" might be helpful. Fitz said that "the Thanksgiving feed and frolic at the Washington Club house was a grand success," but he did not fill in the details. It is clear, however, that the members of the new group had a lot to be thankful for. During the first year the membership grew from six in the winter of 1939 to seventy-eight in the fall of 1940. The group contacted and gained the respect of professionals in the medical, social, and legal institutions that dealt with alcohol problems in the area. One of the major hospitals in the area, Gallinger Municipal Hospital, even issued special privilege cards to AA members to facilitate twelve step work around the clock. Ruth Hock, the Alcoholic Foundation secretary, commented on the growth of the fellowship and attested to the coming of age of the Washington Group.

I won't go into much detail about how things are going nationally. It is amazing though, and this thing is certainly a rolling stone that gathers

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no moss, for the larger it grows the faster it rolls, and vice versa. I've been getting together as complete and accurate a list as possible under the circumstances, and out of it arises the amazing figure of 1400 AA members coast to coast, with new developments everyday.88

She wrote that she was sending along "a mere two inquiries" and that she had received no real calls for help from the Washington area. She continued, "It looks to me as though you are either catching them all locally, or else you cleaned the city of DC all sanitary by this time - all the alkies in the fold so to speak."89 Today, as one walks the same streets of Washington, DC, especially the blocks northeast of Farragut Square, it is difficult to imagine the world the founders of the Washington Group lived in. It was a world in which the alcoholic was out of control and hopeless and in which little help was available anywhere. But for the founders of the Washington Group of Alcoholics Anonymous, the world was their oyster. Their world was filled with the elements of excitement, hope, and fellowship that have always bound together members of AA. They were pioneers struggling to create a fellowship where none had been and to work the program where it had not worked before. The world they lived in and their mission supplied the components that define true fellowship. Bernard S., a past General Service Board Chairman, quoted a noted religious leader's description of this fellowship.

Three conditions are necessary for true fellowship: The possession of common ideal involving a complete release from selfishness and division. The discharge of a common task big enough to capture the imagination and give expression to loyalty. And the comradeship, the "togetherness", thus involved as we find out the joy and power of belonging to an organic society and engaging in a whole-time service. We can find it at its fullest extent where the task extends and integrates every element of our being, where comradeship is so solid and deep that we respond one to another without conscious effort, realize the unspoken need, and react to it spontaneously and at once.

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Under such conditions, all vitality that we usually waste upon our jealousies and our vanities - upon keeping up appearances and putting other people in their proper place - becomes available for creative use.90

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Post Script: Fitz After 1940


Much of the story of the early years of AA in Washington is told through the eyes of Fitz M., mainly because he was the central figure in the story and because he was a prolific letter writer. Fitz's entire life changed in the winter of 1939-40, and he never returned to the life he led before. That winter he left his family in rural Maryland, moved to Washington, DC, founded the AA group that would occupy much of his time, and met the woman who became his second wife. When Fitz met Ruth J., she was the wife of an alcoholic named Norman. In the fall of 1939 she had read the Liberty Magazine article about Alcoholics Anonymous and realized that perhaps the fellowship could help her husband. In response to a letter she wrote to the Alcoholic Foundation, Ruth Hock told her that Fitz M. would be in Washington in the near future and that he could be contacted at the home of his sister Agnes. When Ruth met him, Fitz had "more or less a temporary home at a boarding house near Florida and Connecticut Avenues. He was always welcome, they tucked him in whenever he happened to be in town."91 The story of Fitz and Ruth's relationship provides some enlightening insights into his character and also into AA life during this formative year. Many years later, Arabella M. (Ruth) told how she was introduced to the AA fellowship and how she came to attend her first meeting.

Then, my husband, Norman, got interested in AA and called Bill A., the big lumberman, and rather a political figure in Arlington County Bill A. invited him to come and said he was coming by for him, which he did, but N.T. (Norman) had never shown up - he had gone off on a binge in the meantime that afternoon So Bill went on to the meeting and Steve M.s wife called and told me about the medicine to give - to put N.T. out of the picture temporarily, and she came out in the car and took me to the meeting92

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In May Ruth J. threw her drunken husband out of the house and made a decision to take in several of the AAs who were staying sober and needed a place to sleep. Four of the members, including Fitz, moved into Ruth's house, apparently on the condition that they get jobs and help pay the rent. After a few weeks, though, none of the alkies were working and Ruth's good will wore thin. In a letter dated May 22, Fitz told Bill that he was completely broke financially and was thinking of going to Cumberstone to stay with his old friend E. Churchill Murray.93 Three days later, Ned's letter to New York told Bill that Ruth evicted all four of her alcoholic tenants.94 In August Fitz was hired by the W.P.A, to work on the Historical Records Survey where, as we saw above, he was earning $82.50 per month. By this time Fitz's wife Elizabeth was thoroughly disgusted with him. His sister Agnes reported that Elizabeth confided to a mutual friend that Fitz had caused her great hardships and that he would not leave her alone. She said that he continued to make her life unhappy and that his children were afraid of him.95 According to Ruth, during most of 1940, Fitz was in and out of the Washington area, staying with friends, and that his vagabond lifestyle was part of his way of spreading the AA message.

Well, he'd be invited some place and then he'd stay a day or two. If the situation became a little difficult, any wrangling or fussing among the people he was with, he'd say, "Well, God doesn't want me in this irritating situation." So he would just take off, he'd grab his hat, bag and off he went. He did that practically all up and down the coast, and he never seemed to get a job, every time he thought he had one, right in the palm of his hand, somehow it would slip through his fingers and I believe that God had a lot to do with that. Because Fitz - it brought him into all manner of homes, the poor and the wealthy and where he was one of the family because he had no funds of his own.

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As I remember, all he had was one little worn out bag that he used to carry an extra shirt and a couple of pairs of socks, and always it seemed that he was living with other people, he had no funds of his own and in that way he really spread the AA gospel and plus, the plus was really the spiritua1.96

Fitz had been a strongly spiritual man all of his life, and he believed that one must live his beliefs rather than just talk about them. In an oral history interview, Arabella remembered a little exercise she and Fitz did to learn what God's will for them was at that particular time.

I remember how we figured it out - that it didn't matter where we sat in a train or a bus, that we weren't to pick out or chose the ones that we would want to sit by, we were to go on and leave it up to God to set us down where ever we were supposed to. And invariably we would sit down beside - I did that myself, too, a good many years, someone that was very unattractive physically, many times educationally, none of our own choosing, but in the end by sending up a little prayer for this person, God seemed to open up the conversation and shortly we would begin to talk and it was surprising how many, in fact, almost 100% of these instances, the other people were in great need, and through us, God was able to give the help they needed.97

Fitz's deeply spiritual nature was remembered by those who knew him, and it permeated his correspondence with AA members and other friends. If two themes ran throughout his life, they were spirituality and financial insecurity. Indeed, it seemed that his spiritual side precluded his involvement in such worldly activities as working for money and the accumulation of material possessions -- almost as if he had taken an unspoken vow of poverty. Throughout his AA career, Fitz was motivated to do good works, but when it came to "what men call a job," he was not interested. Fitz was a man with a mission, and he was a dreamer.

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In his Big Book story, he was able to examine his financial situation and his troubled mental state and find salvation in a higher principle, "Nothing is right." He wrote, "Finances are in bad shape. I must find a way to make some money." He was tempted to drink over his problems and wrote, "I cannot see the cause of this temptation now. But I am later to learn that it began with my desire for material success becoming greater than my interest in my fellow man."98 One of his letters to Bill W., a letter Bill referred to as the "long letter," provides an opportunity to experience Fitz's character and also to see that AA has not changed much over the years. In many ways, the letter could have been written by a member of AA in the 1990s. The letter also shows Fitz's interest in AA history.

I received your letter of Oct. 30th and appreciate your thoughts. When you were here I was in a state of mental darkness, which condition had been prevalent for some time and which would have prevented any exchange of constructive ideas by the meeting of our minds. I have just recently begun to snap out of it, after reaching a point where I accepted conditions, including failure to understand the darkness, as a part of my education and development of both patience and faith. As you know I am on W.P.A. with the Historical Records Survey. I used to orate about how I would never work for the government, and the idea of being W.P.A was about as nauseating as they come. On the other hand, I had a great desire to get some income which would enable me to eat and be "off the hook" and pass on to the others who are seeking what I have been finding myself. Your old saying of "being willing to walk up Fifth Ave. in a sheet" is easy to subscribe to usually, but quite different when it appears in another form. I was quite thankful for the W.P.A. job with its $82.50 per month when I stared on it. My prayer had been answered for I could now live fairly comfortably, eat regularly, sleep in a bed other than somewhere on somebody's studio couch, and still have time to be in circulation as we are only allowed to work 60 hours per month. I have seen much dizzy thinking in the past three months, and have contemplated a Book of

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Revelations on the experiences. I can see now that the experience for me has been excellent. First, I have had some of my own thinking verified by observing and analyzing the procedures and thinking (or lack of it) of people with wrong, mixed or no motives; secondly, I have been given an opportunity to exercise my mind which needed an easy beginning along the line of continuity of activity to accomplish little things. I have been practically my own boss so that I've had to hold myself in line in mental discipline; thirdly, I have received discipline in regularity which brings one to the point of accepting things as they are without being disturbed or in a state of wishful thinking. Everything rolled along swell for a while and I stayed on the thankful side, which I've found is the only side to be on. Then came ambition to 'make something of myself,' 'to be a success' and with that came dissatisfaction and a multiplicity of devils that beset me. I began taking myself very seriously - conceived the idea that I would do some research work in the libraries and write a book, signed up for a course (night) at the National Archives which requires study, contemplated divorce and remarriage, and became so busy that I was annoyed by AAs and all its works tho' I still forced myself to appear interested when I was braced up by the boys - The net result of this was just what we know it leads to and I just got more confused and unhappy, Yet like the 'alkie' who don't know why he drinks, I was unable to see at the time, why the "blackout" So Tuesday night I decided that I was a dry cow with no milk so to hell with the meeting - However, about 7:45 PM as I lay on my bed oozing self-pity and blind to its source, I thought of some of the fellows who would be there and suddenly realized they were my friends and that I wanted to see them - As there was only one way to do that, I put my hat on and shoved off and the closer I got to the meeting, the brighter my spirits became. So then Howard C. saw fit to pay me the great tribute which though undeserved was the means of getting me out in the open and I had

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to come clean with the truth which seems to mean something to some of them. I don't know what others got, but that meeting surely fixed me up. Wednesday I went with some others to Baltimore and we struck up with Ed, Posey, Bill W., Dr. Hammer, and another man from Philly which was a joy to me. Thursday night I led the meeting for men alcoholics only and the clouds are certainly lifting. I expect to leave here Saturday and drive with Don S. to his home in Franklin, PA, and go on with him to Cleveland for a meeting, returning on Tuesday. Now about the report to the Foundation-I can truthfully say that reviewing the history of the foundation situation, that I have no ideas concerning it at all and have ceased to have for some time. Maybe we are blocked from seeing a new course by holding on to any ideas that the Foundation plays any real part in the real growth of this fellowship - The process is the vital thing, not any particular accomplishments that we feel should be achieved . . . . Because the AA is a process rather than an achievement, many things that look all cock-eyed and wrong are simply a part of a change that is a part of the process and a par of growth I think some day we shall wake up and see that a great deal more has happened than we could possibly conceive is in making. I woke up at 12:30 and have been going along pretty steady and it is now 3:00 AM. So I shall flop back in bed, thankful that tomorrow is Sunday. Recently, I have begun to see things that lie ahead. Just remember, Bill, out of chaos comes order. Whatever is going to be is going to be My best to Lois, Fitz99

In the fall of 1941 Fitz landed a job that he enjoyed, only to find it interrupted by the entry of the United States into World War II. He was again working as a school teacher, this time at the Landon School for Boys in Chevy Chase. Clearly this was work that Fitz put his heart into and work that he was good at. Arabella recalled the events that cut short this job.

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The owner, the one who had this school, told him that he had never had things run so smoothly before Fitz came and was anxious for him to stay on permanently and wanted to give him a lot better job and any salary that he would stipulate himself. Also a cottage that they had out there for some of the teachers. The war interrupted that - he was about 45 then, and he knew he would be called, so in the fall of 1942, he decided that rather than start school, it would be better for him to go ahead and enlist and get himself into the service and get it over with, rather than have school interrupted by having to get another teacher to replace him. Which he did, and they took him on and sent him to Florida and various other places and finally, he landed out in Biloxi.100

In the Army Air Corps, he lost weight, developed severe health problems, and was discharged early to work in War industry. On January 17, 1943, he and Arabella were married. On April 4, 1943, his old AA friend, Dr. Bob, did exploratory surgery and discovered the rectal cancer that would take his life. Fitz's final letter to his lifelong friend E. Churchill Murray gives the best summary of the events in the last months of his life:

Hines Veterans Hospital, Hines, IL, April 20th, 9AM

Dear Deacon: 'Tis snowing hard and has been doing so all night - Strange to spend a winter among flowers and birds and then see so many snow storms in April. Your letter of April 6th took quite a trip, first to Biloxi, then forwarded to Akron, then to Washington, DC and finally to me. So now I'm sending a few lines to tell you a little about myself tho' I believe Arabella has had something to say on the subject of my being here.

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I developed rear-end trouble while in the Army about November, it got worse - was to have been operated on at station hospital but an epidemic of something prevented. Was to have gone back to hospital but got a discharge to go into an essential war industry after having been refused it. In the meantime Arabella came on from California and we got married. I might have stayed in army and demanded medical attention, but I was not impressed with the kind I might get at Keesler Field. Application to Veterans Bureau failed to get me in Vets Hospital at Biloxi so after Arabella got over flu we lit out for Akron, Ohio where a good AA friend of mine is a renal doctor. I applied again for admittance to Vets hospital near Cleveland, but couldn't get in even tho the President had signed a bill making Veterans hospital facilities available for the disabled of World War II. My doctor friend was dubious about my working, but I got a job with Goodyear Aircraft and survived 12 hours a day (including to and from work) for 10 days - then went to a private hospital where the doctor, Bob S., cut into me and discovered cancer. - That created a new situation with Arabella really out on a limb. Fortunately, she had worked at the Veterans Administration and knew General Hines, the head of it. She phoned him and asked him to get me in Walter Reed. He said yes, then phoned her back that I should come here as its supposed to be one of the greatest cancer hospitals in the country (other troubles also). As I lost 31 pounds while in the Army, they were trying to fatten me up and get me built up. I believe they intend to operate on me next week. I am very thankful to have gotten in here, believe me, as it answers several problems especially concerning Arabella. I am quite comfortable now tho' my disintegrating chassis was giving me hell. I am enjoying relaxing and reading and rest and can say that I am unconcerned and at peace within.

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The tough experiences are simply part of a great adventure and part of a great education. Why separate in our minds the continuity of the life of the soul just because the body in which it is housed for awhile becomes no longer fitting for it? If we could see everything ahead there would be no adventure. Maybe they will patch my chassis up, maybe not. What of it? I am not the master of my destiny, but there is One who is and He loves each one of us tho' oft times we would doubt that because we cannot see the whole, the finished plan of the great Builder. Would people feel a need for God were there not trials and tribulations? These things needs must be, for man has been his own God with his own aims and purposes and he cannot find the realities of eternal life until he seeks them - To do that he must cast out beliefs he has held to and with the mind of a child accept without questioning and with trust the circumstances whatever they appear to be. I shall close - wish I could get hold of that gill net with you and Bro. Love to all, As always, Fitz PS. Agnes only one who knows about this cancer.101

Less than six months later, on October 4, 1943, Fitz died. He is buried at the Cemetery at Christ Church near his home at Cumberstone. He rests only a few feet from where Jimmy B. was later buried.102

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Appendices

Appendix A.

The Bob Erwin Articles

Appendix B.

Early Washington AA Chronology

Appendix C.

Meetings Started Between 1939 and 1969

Appendix D.

Florences Story: A Feminine Victory

Appendix E.

Early AAs in the Washington Area Further Information

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Appendix A: The Bob Erwin Articles


The Bob Erwin Articles appeared in the Washington Star and the Sunday Star during the summer of 1940. They were written by a non-alcoholic reporter and contributed greatly to publicizing the presence of the Washington AA Group and how the group functioned. The first article appeared in the Sunday edition of the paper and was followed by a six part series in the daily paper. The seven articles were reprinted several times for distribution by the Washington Group. original articles. The reprints contain minor changes from the

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Appendix B: Early Washington AA Chronology 1930


1937 Fitz M. and Florence R. appear on the DC scene. Both their stories appear in the 1st edition of the Big Book 1938 Jimmy B. is twelfth stepped in DC, contributes God as we understand Him to AA lexicon 1938 Fitz M.s sister Agnes helps cover the cost of the Big Book with $1,000 loan 1939 1939 1939 Boys of 39 form the Washington Group; the first AA group in DC Alcoholics Anonymous (AKA: The Big Book) is published NY refers all southern matters to DC; the sole AA group south of the Mason Dixon line

1940
1940 1941 1941 First meeting outside private homes held in VFW hall in DC Membership in DC area up to 70 members AA members allowed to sit at drunk trials and assume custody of those convicted 1943 1944 Bill W. guest speaker at first AA Banquet in DC Five local groups: Uptown, Georgetown, Southeast, Negro, and Virginia 1944 600 attend first Great Open Meeting designed to inform the public about AA 1945 Formation of the Negro Group, the first recorded racially integrated group in AA (later became the Cosmopolitan Group) 1946 Washington Area Group (WAG, the forerunner of Washington Area Intergroup Association) is formed

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1950-60
1950 1951 1962 Washington Intergroup Bulletin started Washington Area Intergroup Association (WAIA) is formed WAIA arranges for drunks to be admitted to DC General alcoholic ward 1965 1965 1969 Local AA newsletter WAIA Reporter inaugurated 54 volunteers come forward to man hotline phones Hispanic Group founded

1970-90
1970 1974 1974 1983 1987 1995 1995 WAIA radio program appears each Sunday on WGAY WAIA moves to 4530 Connecticut Ave. NW Local meetings up to 500 First edition of The Washington Group (unpublished) Local meetings now number over 1,000 2nd edition of The Washington Group published Nightwatch volunteers start manning phones round the clock

2000-08
2005 WAIA establishes web site (www.aa-dc-org) and posts meeting schedule (Where and When) online 2006 2008 2008 Florence R. gravesite located and tombstone arrangements made 3rd edition of The Washington Group issued Over 1,800 meetings in Washington DC metro area

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Appendix C: Meetings Started Between 1939 and 1969


This page contains Eldin Ds report of AA meetings started in the first 30 years of AA in the DC area Note: some meetings were started in this 30 year period, but no specific starting dates were found in the WAIA Archives. These meetings will be listed without stating dates.

AA Groups 1939-69
Group Name Area Start
39 41 41 41 45 45 45 45 45 45 45 46 46 47 47 47 49 50 50 50 50 51 51 52 52 52 53

Group Name
Wheaton Petworth College Park Congress Heights Southeast Md. Brightwood Falls Church City Fairfax Prince Georges County Roundtable Chevy Chase Fellowship (Cheverly) LangleyPark Circle Mideast Capital Hill Rock Springs The Home Business Mans Lunch Port City Manasses Serenity South Arlington Annandale Happiness Sun. Morn. Breakfast Chesterbrook Meridian Hill

Area Start
MD MD MD MD DC VA VA MD DC MD MD MD DC DC DC VA VA VA VA DC VA VA DC MD VA DC 54 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 56 56 56 57 57 57 57 57 57 57 57 57 57 58 59 59

DC First AA in 1939 Central (Wash. Group) DC Starts in 1940 N. Arlington VA Chevy Chase (uptown) DC Southeast MD Silver Spring DC Cosmopolitan (negro) DC Newspaper DC Young People DC Arlington VA Alexandria VA Friendship DC Columbia Pike VA Old Dominion VA Georgetown MD Colmar Manor DC Beginners Classes DC Vienna VA Starts in 1950s Ballston VA Bethesda MD Falls Church VA Rockville MD Midtown DC All WAIA Little Falls VA Mens Home VA Welcome DC Accokeek MD

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Starts in 1960s St. Barnabus MD Springfield/Franconia VA Clinton Sat. night MD Laurel St. Phillips MD Armed Services DC Belair-Bowie MD Brookland DC Downtown noon DC VA Hospital DC Womans Home DC Cherrydale VA St. Eliz. Hospital DC Clarendon VA Colesville MD Foxhall DC Laurel Recovery MD Metropolis DC Mt. Pleasant DC Potomac MD Temple VA Foggy Bottom DC Glenmont MD Lanham/Seabrook MD Neareast DC Twelve and Twelve DC Bethel MD Bladensburg Stag MD Willard DC

60 61 62 62 63 63 63 63 63 63 64 65 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 67 67 67 67 67 68 68 69

Early groups without specific dates 8th and N DC 921 Group DC Beltsville MD Cedar Lane VA Crossroads DC Damascus MD DC General DC Flounder House VA Franconia Women VA Green Valley VA Kalorama DC Kensington MD Key DC Koffee Clatch DC Mar-Selle DC Melwood Farm MD Montgomery County MD Morningside MD Old Town VA Phoenix DC Ross DC S. Arlington VA Sat. Afternoon DC Sat. Night DC Seminary Rd. VA Step Classes DC Steps VA Sun. Aftern. Womans MD Triangle DC Wellington VA

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Appendix D: Florences Story: A Feminine Victory


The story of Florence R., the first woman to achieve sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous, (Alcoholics Anonymous, First edition, pp. 217-225)

The story of Florence R. was printed only in the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous. Florence's story was removed from later editions (and subsequently published in Experience, Strength & Hope) due to allegations related to her sobriety status. Her story, "A Feminine Victory," is reprinted below with the permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

To my lot falls the rather doubtful distinction of being the only lady alcoholic in our particular section. Perhaps it is because of a desire for a

supporting cast of my own sex that I am praying for inspiration to tell my story in a manner that may give other women who have this problem the courage to see it in its true light and seek the help that has given me a new lease on life. When the idea was first presented to me that I was an alcoholic, my mind simply refused to accept it. Horrors! How disgraceful! What humiliation! How preposterous! Why, I loathed the taste of liquor-drinking was simply a means of escape when my sorrows became too great for me to endure. Even after it had been explained to me that alcoholism is a disease, I could not realize that I had it. I was still ashamed, still wanted to hide behind the screen of reasons made up of "unjust treatment," "unhappiness," "tired and dejected," and the dozens of other things that I thought lay at the root of my search for oblivion by means of whiskey or gin. In any case, I felt quite sure that I was not an alcoholic. However, since I have faced the fact, and it surely is a fact, I have been able to use the help that is so freely given when we learn how to be really truthful with ourselves. The path by which I have come to this blessed help was long and devious. It led through the mazes and perplexities of an unhappy marriage and divorce, and

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a dark time of separation from my grown children, and a readjustment of life at an age when most women feel pretty sure of a home and security. But I have reached the source of help. I have learned to recognize and acknowledge the underlying cause of my disease; selfishness, self-pity and resentment. A few short months ago those three words applied to me would have aroused as much indignation in my heart as the word alcoholic. The ability to accept them as my own has been derived from trying, with the unending help of God, to live with certain goals in mind. Coming to the grim fact of alcoholism, I wish I could present the awful reality of its insidiousness in such a way that no one could ever again fail to recognize the comfortable, easy steps that lead down to the edge of the precipice, and show how those steps suddenly disappeared when the great gulf yawned before me. I couldn't possibly turn and get back to solid earth again that way. The first step is called-"The first drink in the morning to pull you out of a hangover." I remember so well when I got onto that step-I had been drinking just like most of the young married crowd I knew. For a couple of years it went on, at parties and at "speakeasies," as they were then called, and with cocktails after matinees. Just going the rounds and having a good time. Then came the morning when I had my first case of jitters. Someone suggested a little of the "hair of the dog that bit me." A half hour after that drink I was sitting on top of the world, thinking how simple it was to cure shaky nerves. How wonderful liquor was, in only a few minutes my head had stopped aching, my spirits were back to normal and all was well in this very fine world. Unfortunately, there was a catch to it-I was an alcoholic. As time went on the one drink in the morning had to be taken a little earlier-it had to be followed by a second one in an hour or so, before I really felt equal to getting on with the business of living. Gradually I found at parties the service was a little slow; the rest of the crowd being pretty happy and carefree after the second round. My reaction was inclined to be just the opposite. Something had to be done about that so I'd just

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help myself to a fast one, sometimes openly, but as time went on and my need became more acute, I often did it on the quiet. In the meantime, the morning-after treatment was developing into something quite stupendous. The eye-openers were becoming earlier, bigger, more frequent, and suddenly, it was lunch time! Perhaps there was a plan for the afternoon-a bridge or tea, or just callers. My breath had to be accounted for, so along came such alibis as a touch of grippe or some other ailment for which I'd just taken a hot whiskey and lemon. Or "someone" had been in for lunch and we had just had a couple of cocktails. Then came the period of brazening it out-going to social gatherings well fortified against the jitters; next the phone call in the morning -"Terribly sorry that I can't make it this afternoon, I have an awful headache"; then simply forgetting that there were engagements at all; spending two or three days drinking, sleeping it off, and waking to start all over again. Of course, I had the well known excuses; my husband was failing to come home for dinner or hadn't been home for several days; he was spending money which was needed to pay bills; he had always been a drinker; I had never known anything about it until I was almost thirty years old and he gave me my first drink. Oh, I had them all down, letter perfect-all the excuses, reasons and justifications. What I did not know was that I was being destroyed by selfishness, self-pity and resentment. There were the swearing-off periods and the "goings on the wagon"-they would last anywhere from two weeks to three or four months. Once, after a very severe illness of six weeks' duration (caused by drinking), I didn't touch anything of an alcoholic nature for almost a year. I thought I had it licked that time, but all of a sudden things were worse than ever. I found fear had no effect. Next came the hospitalization, not a regular sanitarium, but a local hospital where my doctor would ship me when I'd get where I had to call him in. That poor man-I wish he could read this for he would know then it was no fault of his I wasn't cured. When I was divorced, I thought the cause had been removed. I felt that being away from what I had considered injustice and ill-treatment would solve the

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problem of my unhappiness. In a little over a year I was in the alcoholic ward of a public hospital! It was there that L-- came to me. I had known her very slightly ten years before. My ex-husband brought her to me hoping that she could help. She did. From the hospital I went home with her. There, her husband told me the secret of his rebirth. It is not really a secret at all, but something free and open to all of us. He asked me if I believed in God or some power greater than myself. Well, I did believe in God, but at that time I hadn't any idea what He is. As a child I had been taught my "Now I lay me's" and "Our Father which art in Heaven." I had been sent to Sunday School and taken to church. I had been baptized and confirmed. I had been taught to realize there is a God and to "love" him. But though I had been taught all these things, I had never learned them. When B-- (L's husband) began to talk about God, I felt pretty low in my mind. I thought God was something that I, and lots of other people like me, had to worry along without. Yet I had always had the "prayer habit." In fact I used to say in my mind "Now, if God answers this prayer, I'll know there is a God." It was a great system, only somehow it didn't seem to work! Finally B-- put it to me this way: "You admit you've made a mess of things trying to run them your way, are you willing to give up? Are you willing to say: "Here it is God, all mixed up. I don't know how to un-mix it, I'll leave it to you." Well, I couldn't quite do that. I wasn't feeling very well, and I was afraid that later when the fog wore off, I'd want to back out. So we let it rest a few days. L and B sent me to stay with some friends of theirs out of town-I'd never seen them before. The man of that house, P-- had given up drinking three months before. After I had been there a few days, I saw that P-- and his wife had something that made them mighty hopeful and happy. But I got a little uneasy going into a perfect stranger's home and staying day after day. I said this to P-and his reply was: "Why, you don't know how much it is helping me to have you here." Was that a surprise! Always before that when I was recovering from a

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tailspin I'd been just a pain in the neck to everyone. So, I began to sense in a small way just what these spiritual principles were all about. Finally I very self-consciously and briefly asked God to show me how to do what He wanted me to do. My prayer was just about as weak and helpless a thing as one could imagine, but it taught me how to open my mouth and pray earnestly and sincerely. However, I had not quite made the grade. I was full of fears, shames, and other "bug-a-boos" and two weeks later an incident occurred that put me on the toboggan again. I seemed to feel that the hurt of that incident was too great to endure without some "release." So I forsook Spirit in favor of "spirits" and that evening I was well on the way to a long session with my old enemy "liquor." I begged the person in whose home I was living not to let anyone know, but she, having good sense, got in touch right away with those who had helped me before and very shortly they had rallied round. I was eased out of the mess and in a day or two I had a long talk with one of the crowd. I dragged out all my sins of commission and omission, I told everything I could think of that might be the cause of creating a fear situation, a remorse situation, or a shame situation. It was pretty terrible, I thought then, to lay myself bare that way, but I know now that such is the first step away from the edge of the precipice. Things went very well for quite a while, then came a dull rainy day. I was alone. The weather and my self-pity began to cook up a nice dish of the blues for me. There was liquor in the house and I found myself suggesting to myself "Just one drink will make me feel so much more cheerful." Well, I got the Bible and "Victorious Living" and sitting down in full view of the bottle of whiskey, I commenced to read. I also prayed. But I didn't say "I must not take that drink because I owe it to so and so not to." I didn't say "I won't take that drink because I'm strong enough to resist temptation." I didn't say "I must not" or "I will not" at all. I simply prayed and read and in half an hour I got up and was absolutely free of the urge for a drink. It might be very grand to be able to say "Finis" right here, but I see now I hadn't gone all the way I was intended to go. I was still coddling and nursing my

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two pets, self-pity and resentment. Naturally, I came a cropper once more. This time I went to the telephone (after I had taken about two drinks) and called L to tell her what I had done. She asked me to promise that I would not take another drink before someone came to me. Well, I had learned enough about truthfulness to refuse to give that promise. Had I been living after the old pattern, I would have been ashamed to call for help. In fact I should not have wanted help. I should have tried to hide the fact that I was drinking and continued until I again wound up behind the "eight ball." I was taken back to B's home where I stayed for three weeks. The drinking ended the morning after I got there, but the suffering continued for some time. I felt desperate and I questioned my ability to really avail myself of the help that the others had received and applied so successfully. Gradually, however, God began to clear my channels so that real understanding began to come. Then was the time when full realization and acknowledgement came to me. It was realization and acknowledgement of the fact that I was full of self-pity and resentment, realization of the fact that I had not fully given my problems to God. I was still trying to do my own fixing. That was several years ago. Since then, although circumstances are no different, for there are still trials and hardships and hurts and disappointments and disillusionments, self-pity and resentment are being eliminated. In this past year I haven't been tempted once. I have no more idea of taking a drink to aid me through a difficult period than I would if I had never drank. But I know absolutely that the minute I close my channels with sorrow for myself, or being hurt by, or resentful toward anyone, I am in horrible danger. I know that my victory is none of my human doing. I know that I must keep myself worthy of Divine help. And the glorious thing is this: I am free, I am happy, and perhaps I am going to have the blessed opportunity of "passing it on." I say in all reverence-Amen.

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Appendix E.

Early AAs in the Washington Area Further Information

Stories of the Early AAs in the Washington Area:

"A Feminine Victory," the story of Florence R., the first woman to achieve sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous, (Alcoholics Anonymous, First edition, pp. 217-225).

"Jim's Story," the story of Jim S., the black doctor who founded the "Negro Group," the first black AA group in Washington, DC, and the predecessor of the Cosmopolitan Group. (Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth edition, pp. 232245)

"Our Southern Friend," the story of Fitz M., founder of the Washington Group, (Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth edition, pp. 208-218). "The Vicious Cycle," the story of Jimmy B., life-long friend of Fitz M. and agnostic that championed the phrase God as we understand Him. (Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth edition, pp. 219-231).

Florence R. Florence is buried in the George Washington Cemetery at the intersection of Adelphi Rd. and Riggs Rd. in Prince Georges County, MD.

About Florence First woman to get sober in AA in New York Only woman to write her story in the 1st edition of Alcoholics Anonymous Some wanted to call the book One Hundred Men, but others realize that Florence was already sober in AA Wrote that she wanted her story to inspire other women to seek the help she had been given a new lease on life

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Sent by Bill W. to work with drunks at St. Elizabeths Hospital in DC as a loner, making her the first person from AA to work in DC

Fitz M. and Jimmy B. Two of the early members of AA grew up in Cumberstone, a small community near Owensville, MD. Fitz M. was number three and Jimmy B. was number five through the 12th stepping activities of Bill Wilson in New York. Fitz is credited with starting AA in Washington DC. Jimmy B. insisted on the use of God as we understand Him in the literature.

Fitz and Jimmy are buried near each other in the graveyard of the Christ Episcopal Church in Owensville, MD.

For directions to the gravesites of Fitz or Jimmy or Florence, please contact: Washington Area Intergroup Association 4530 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 111 Washington, DC 20008-4328 Phone: Web site: (202) 966-9783 http://www.aa-dc.org

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Endnotes
Rorabaugh, W.J. The Alcoholic Republic: An American Interpretation. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979); Tyrell, Ian R., Sobering Up: From Temperance to Prohibition in Antebellum America. 18001860. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979); and Engelman, Larry, Intemperance: The Lost War Against Liquor. (New York: The Free Press, 1979). An interpretation of AA in the context of American History is in Ernst Kurtz' book Not God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, (Center City, Minn.: The Hazelden Educational Series, 1979). Kurtz continues his analysis in "Why AA Works: The Intellectual Significance of Alcoholics Anonymous" in the Journal of Studies Alcohol, Vol. 43, No.1, 1982.
2 1

W.J. Rorabough, The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition. CF 29, "Alcohol Deaths Down 50%; DCs Next to Highest," The Washington Star, Oct. 25, 1935. CF 29, "Inebriates' Farm Plan is Approved," The Washington Star, June 5, 1939. CF 29, "Inebriates' Farm Hit by Rachabites," The Washington Star, January 18, 1936.

CF 29, "Alcoholism in Washington," a pamphlet by the Washington Committee For Education on Alcoholism, @ 1946.
7

CF 29, "1,685 Children Arrested As Drunks Sheppard Charges," The Washington Star, Feb. 26, 1919.

CF 4, "Family Can Give Much Needed Help," The Washington Star, 1940, Article was by Bob Erwin, Representative Morris Sheppard of Texas was a southern progressive and prohibitionist, 1913-1941. CF 29, "Alcoholism in Washington," a pamphlet by the Washington Committee on Education on Alcoholism (from the Washington Star clipping files at the Marin Luther King Library) @ 1946.
10 9

GSO 1, p. 17, letter from Fitz M. to Ruth, May 6, 1940. GSO 1, p, 15, letter from Fitz M. to Dr. Wilson, March 15, 1940.

11

12

AA 14, "Main Events Alcoholics Anonymous Fact Sheet" prepared by Bill W. on Nov. 2, 1954, (hereafter referred to as "Fact Sheet") p. 6. AA 14, "Fact Sheet," p. 9. AA 14, "Fact Sheet," p. 15.

13

14

15

Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age (New York: AA World Services, 1957) and the pamphlet, AA Tradition: How It Developed, also by AA World Services.
16

Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers (AA World Services, 1980) p. 108.

17

IG 2, "Inter-Group Bulletin," op. cit., See also Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age (New York: AA World Services, 1957) p, 17, and GSO 2 letter from Margaret B., to Henry S., April, 1948. A tribute to Fitz M. was written on May 12, 1955, by Paul K. H., one of the earliest Washington Group members. He says, "Fitzhugh (Fitz) M--, the founder of the Washington Group. Back in 1940 I had sought AA of my own volition and Fitz M-- was both an example and a guide to me, as he was to practically everyone in the early Washington Group. It might be noted that the Washington Group started in 1939; I came in with a good many others in what I have always regarded as the "second wave" in the spring of 1940. I felt very close to Fitz although it would be presumptuous for me to state that I was an intimate although he did talk to me about his early days. He went to Washington & Lee, I was enriched by the warmth of Fitz M-- and Bill W..

90

I was still in uniform at the time of Fitz's untimely death in 1943. I returned to Washington after my Army service and, so to speak, turned myself into a one-man research committee on Fitz. The reason was, to me, self-evident. As I matured in AA, Fitz's influence and council were still with me and became stronger as the years went on. Moreover, Bill W. and I used to talk of him by the hour. Fitz's father was a minister of the Episcopalian Church and Fitz lived in Maryland. Fitz had, in my opinion, great spiritual depth and sensitivity. I have visited his grave often, in the family plot in the Maryland churchyard where his father was pastor. On Fitz's stone is written: BLESSED IS HE WHO BRINGS MANY TO GOD. No truer epitaph was ever written." Paul K. H.
18

WA 47, "Early Members of A.A. in Southern Anne Arundel County, Maryland," by Sunny N., May 15, 1983, A biographical sketch of Fitz M. and Jimmy B. WA 47, "JH. Fitzhugh M.", a biographical sketch prepared by Paul K. H." May 12, 1955. See also "Our Southern Friend," in Alcoholics Anonymous, (3rd edition, (New York: A.A. World Services, 1976) pp. 497-507. WA 47, biographical sketch of Fitz M. by Sunny N. op,cit. Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd edition, p. 504 - 505, See "The Vicious Circle", Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd edition, pp. 238..251. "The Vicious Cycle", op. cit. A.A. 14, "Fact Sheet," p.6. GSO 1, p. 51, letter from Fitz M. to Bill W., November 23, 1940. A.A. 14, "Fact Sheet," p, 21.

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

GSO 1, p. 5, letter from Fitz M. to Ruth dated November 25th. In this letter he mentions that he had received a grand letter from Clarence S. of Cleveland, the Brewmiester in Alcoholics Anonymous.
28

27

A.A. 14, "Fact Sheet," p. 26. See also GSO 1, letter from Bill W. to Agnes Mayo, July 14, 1938.

29

W A 49, "Evolution of Alcoholics Anonymous" published as Memoirs of Jimmy: What it used to be like and what happened" by Jimmy B., May 1947, p. 4. Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, p. 17. A.A. 14, "Fact Sheet," p. 29. W A 49, Memoirs of Jimmy, by Jimmy B. p. 4, A.A. World Services pamphlet "AA Tradition: How it Developed," by Bill W., p. 35, Alcoholics Anonymous. AA World Services, 1939. 1st Edition. WA 1947. Oral history of Mrs. Fitz M., wife of Fitz M. GSO 1, Letter from Fitz to Ruth, Undated. Conversation with Ron B, Archivist at GSO archives in New York. GSO, Interview of Vi S. by Lois Wilson, Nov 10, 1954.

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

91

39

GSO, p. 11, Interview of Jim S. by Bill Wilson, Nov 10, 1954. AA Comes of Age. 1957. p 37.

40

41

Letter from Henry S. to Margaret B., secretary of the Alcoholic Foundation, dated April 1948. Some sources include Bill Ames as one of the original members of the group, but documentation has not been located that tells how early Bill joined the group. GSO 1, p.2, letter from Alcoholic Foundation to Fitz M., Oct. 26, 1939. In 2007 there are over 1,800 AA meetings in the Washington area. GSO 1, p. 3, letter from Fitz M., to Ruth, undated.

42

43

44

45

GSO 2, letter from Henry S. to Margaret B. (after Ruth Hock got married and left the Alcoholic Foundation, Margaret R. became secretary) April 1948. Some sources include Bill A. among the group of late 1939. Oral history interview with Ned F., founder of the Washington Group. GSO 1, p, 7, letter from Secretary to Ned F., Dec, 19, 1939. Letter to W.G. Wilson, Esq. from Fitz. March 15, 1940. Oral history interview with Jean K. of Beltsville, MD. GSO 1, p. 4, letter from Fitz M. to Ruth, dated Wednesday. GSO 1, p. 5, letter from Fitz M. to Ruth, dated Monday.

46

47

48

49

50

51

52

Harry Tiebolt, "Therapeutic Mechanisms of Alcoholics Anonymous," Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age. p, 310.
53

CF 10, "Clubhouse Opened by D.C, Alcoholics Anonymous Chapter," The Washington Star, 1940. GSO 2, letter from Margaret B. to Henry S., April 16, 1948. GSO 2, letter from Henry S. to Bobbie (Margaret B.), April 21, 1948. GSO 2, letter from Margaret B. to Henry S., April 26, 1948.

54

55

56

57

The group grew from 6 in December 1939, to 40 in May 1940, to 70 in September 1940, and to 200 in October 1941. GSO 1, p. 10, letter from Ned F. to Ruth, January 8th (1940).

58

59

Jay L. Rubin, "Shifting Perspectives on the Alcoholism Treatment Movement, 1940-1955," Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Vol. 40, No.3, 1979. Transcript of an oral history interview of Mrs. Fitzhugh Mayo, wife of early member, Fitzhugh Mayo, Sept. 11, 1954, conducted by Bill W., pages 10-11. GSO 1, letter from Fitz to Dr. Wilson, March 15, 1940.

60

61

92

62

Oral history interview with Bob E.; see also GSO 1, p. 14, letter from Dorothy H. to Ruth, Feb. 15, 1940.

63

WA 1, Oral history interview with Bob and Liz E.; see also Appendix 2 for reprint of Liz's correspondence. GSO 1, letter from Works Publishing Co, to Ned, April 4, 1940.

64

65

GSO 1, letter from Fitz to Dr. Wilson, March 15, 1940. While little documentation exists about Marty Mann's visits to the area, the printed programs for the Annual Banquets of the Washington Group show that she was a speaker at many of the banquets over the next ten years and that she was a speaker at the great Open Public Meeting at Central High in 1944. In the WAIA Archives, fie AB 1 contains a collection of Washington Group Annual Banquet Programs, and files CF 6 and CF 10-25 contain correspondence, articles, and flyers from banquets which indicate she participated in these. GSO 1, letter from Fitz, May 22, 1940. GSO 2, letter from Fitz to Bill W., Aug. 14, 1940. GSO 1, letter from Bill W. to Fitz, undated.

66

67

68

WA 1, Oral history interview with Bob E., also GSO 1, Henry's stationary appears throughout the correspondence. Toward the end of the summer of 1940 the Alcoholic Foundation asked Henry to supply them with stationary which he did. He also printed a variety of other cards, flyers and documents, including the first Serenity Prayer cards and probably the first cards containing the Twelve Steps of AA.
70

69

GSO 1, letter from Works Publishing Co. to Ned, April 4, 1940.

71

CF 4, "Victims of Alcohol Hold Weekly Meetings to Aid One Another in Overcoming the Weakness of Drink," The Washington Star. This Bob Erwin article was reprinted as "Experience Elsewhere Indicates Success of Alcoholics Anonymous." CF 4, ibid. Oral history interview with Bill A.'s son. GSO 1, unsigned letter to Fitz, May 9, 1940. CF 4, see note 51. GSO 1, letter from Fitz to Ruth, May 6, 1940.

72

73

74

75

76

77

CF 4, "New Associations Break Old Ties," The Washington Star, June 18, 1940. This Bob Erwin article was reprinted as "Society Witnesses Amazing Comebacks by Drinking Victims". GSO 1, letter from Fitz M. to Ruth, May 6, 1940. CF4, "Turning From Drink Requires Honesty With Self," The Washington Star, June 16, 1940. CF 4, "Medical Profession's Aid to Alcoholics Related at Meeting," The Washington Star. CF 4, ibid. CF 4, ibid. GSO 1, letter from Ned to Bill W., May 25, 1940.

78

79

80

81

82

83

93

84

WA 2. Membership roster from the Washington Group, October 1940. GSO 1, letter from Bob V. to Bill W., undated. GSO 1, letter from Martin F. to Ruth, Oct. 14, 1940. GSO 1, letter from Fitz M. to Bill, November 23, 1940. GSO 1, letter from Secretary to friends, Oct. 2, 1940. GSO 1, ibid. Bernard B. S., "The Individual, AA, and Society," Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, p. 276.

85

86

87

88

89

90

91

Oral history of Mrs. Fitzhugh Mayo, wife of early member, Fitzhugh Mayo (1897-1943) conducted by Bill W. on September 11, 1954, p, 6. Mrs. Fitzhugh Mayo oral history interview, p, 7. Letter from Fitz to Bill, May 22, 1940. Letter from Ned to Bill, May 25, 1940. Letter from Fitz to Bill W., November 2, 1940. Mrs. Fitzhugh Mayo oral history interview, p. 22. Mrs, Fitzhugh Mayo oral history interview, p, 22. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 506 507. GSO 1, letter from Fitz M. to Bill, Nov. 2, 1940. Mrs. Fitzhugh Mayo oral history interview, p, 23. Letter from Fitz to E. Churchill Murray, April 20, 1943. W A 47, Sunny N., op. cit.; and IG 2, "Inter-Group Bulletin," op. cit.

92

93

94

95

96

97

98

99

100

101

102

94