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Some Notes on the AA Original Manuscript Up for Auction

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  • schaberg43
    I went down to Sotheby s today to take a long look at the Original Manuscript copy that they will be auctioning off on Thursday, June 21st. This is the OM copy
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 12, 2007
      I went down to Sotheby's today to take a long look at the Original
      Manuscript copy that they will be auctioning off on Thursday, June
      21st. This is the OM copy where Hank, Ruth, Bill, and others
      recorded ALL of the suggestions that they received for edits before
      actually printing the first edition of the Big Book. It is an
      important historical document on many levels, but most importantly,
      I think, because it shows who made some of the suggestions and also
      allows you to see the suggestions that our founders did NOT take
      when editing the Big Book.

      NOTE: I was privileged with a private viewing of this copy of the
      Original Manuscript because I had assisted the cataloger in his
      write up of the history of the Original Manuscript printings –
      which, with the 13 photos, takes up 11½ pages of the catalog. While
      I had only 20 minutes to look at this piece when it was first
      auctioned off in June of 2004, this time Sotheby's allowed me over
      two hours to examine this important copy and it was a truly amazing
      two hours! What a piece of AA history!

      Just a couple of highlights.

      The original front cover of this copy is stamped in black
      ink: "LOANED COPY" – something I have heard about but never seen
      before. {Note: this copy is missing the original back cover along
      with the two pages of "Index" usually found in these copies.)

      The reverse side (verso) of the title page has a long handwritten
      note on it (see photo in lower left on page 224 of the Sotheby's
      catalog). This note continues onto the verso of another loose piece
      of paper that is also included here (but not pictured in the
      catalog).

      This is the manuscript copy of four paragraphs that were inserted
      into "Bill's Story." The paragraphs in question are the first four
      complete paragraphs found on page 12 of our basic text – starting
      with "Despite…" and ending with "…would!" These additions –
      certainly the largest edit to the Big Book immediately before it was
      published – include some extremely important AA precepts, not least
      of which is the italicized quote: "Why don't you choose your own
      conception of God?"

      This manuscript section is not in Bill's hand. I suspect (especially
      given the free use of abbreviations) that it was written there by
      Ruth Hock – either transcribed from Bill's notes or taken down from
      dictation.

      Once again, I noticed that the name of Doctor Howard was just about
      everywhere in the manuscript. He sure had a LOT to say about edits
      to our book. In addition, two other doctors I have never before
      heard referenced as contributors of Big Book suggestions list (Dr.
      Witherspoon & Dr. Bevoise [sp?]) are also found here.

      The Manuscript is littered with several comments that seem to be
      rather off-handed. One noted that something was "too groupy," i.e.
      Oxford Groupy. But, my favorite was opposite the first three
      paragraphs currently found on page 80 of the Big Book about making
      amends: "Dangerous for the NUTS – some could go higher than a kite."

      And there is some real history here. On the pages containing the
      dropped story "Ace Full – Seven – Eleven," Bill has written the
      author's name (something which has not been, to my knowledge, so far
      discovered) and includes a short comment on why the story has been
      dropped. (I will refrain from sharing that information here since it
      rightly belongs to the owner of this copy of the Original
      Manuscript.)

      Finally, it is interesting to note that none of the suggested
      changes to Dr. Bob's story were taken. Someone – in an effort to cut
      the text – had advised deleting three paragraphs and Dr. Howard
      wanted the last line of his story to read: "Your FAITH will never
      let you down!" Bob, obviously, thought the story should remain `as
      is.'

      If you are anywhere within driving distance of New York City, I
      would advise you to make a trip there this coming Friday, June 15th
      through Wednesday, June 20th to see this remarkable piece of our
      history and to "put your hands on the Book." It was a very moving
      experience for both me and my sponsor who joined me for this trip!

      Old Bill
    • Doug B.
      Bill, Thanks for your observations...my spine was tingling! I found the following Dr s that might fit your question: Dr James Wainwright Howard from Montclair,
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 14, 2007
        Bill,

        Thanks for your observations...my spine was tingling!

        I found the following Dr's that might fit your question:

        Dr James Wainwright Howard from Montclair, NJ graduated P&S in 1919
        Dr Charles Russell Witherspoon from Rochester, NY graduated Uof P in
        1898
        No mention of a Dr. Bevoise [any spelling]) in NY, NJ or CT in 1936

        Doug B.

        schaberg43 wrote:

        > I went down to Sotheby's today to take a long look at the Original
        > Manuscript copy that they will be auctioning off on Thursday, June
        > 21st. This is the OM copy where Hank, Ruth, Bill, and others
        > recorded ALL of the suggestions that they received for edits before
        > actually printing the first edition of the Big Book. It is an
        > important historical document on many levels, but most importantly,
        > I think, because it shows who made some of the suggestions and also
        > allows you to see the suggestions that our founders did NOT take
        > when editing the Big Book.
        >
        > NOTE: I was privileged with a private viewing of this copy of the
        > Original Manuscript because I had assisted the cataloger in his
        > write up of the history of the Original Manuscript printings –
        > which, with the 13 photos, takes up 11½ pages of the catalog. While
        > I had only 20 minutes to look at this piece when it was first
        > auctioned off in June of 2004, this time Sotheby's allowed me over
        > two hours to examine this important copy and it was a truly amazing
        > two hours! What a piece of AA history!
        >
        > Just a couple of highlights.
        >
        > The original front cover of this copy is stamped in black
        > ink: "LOANED COPY" – something I have heard about but never seen
        > before. {Note: this copy is missing the original back cover along
        > with the two pages of "Index" usually found in these copies.)
        >
        > The reverse side (verso) of the title page has a long handwritten
        > note on it (see photo in lower left on page 224 of the Sotheby's
        > catalog). This note continues onto the verso of another loose piece
        > of paper that is also included here (but not pictured in the
        > catalog).
        >
        > This is the manuscript copy of four paragraphs that were inserted
        > into "Bill's Story." The paragraphs in question are the first four
        > complete paragraphs found on page 12 of our basic text – starting
        > with "Despite…" and ending with "…would!" These additions –
        > certainly the largest edit to the Big Book immediately before it was
        > published – include some extremely important AA precepts, not least
        > of which is the italicized quote: "Why don't you choose your own
        > conception of God?"
        >
        > This manuscript section is not in Bill's hand. I suspect (especially
        > given the free use of abbreviations) that it was written there by
        > Ruth Hock – either transcribed from Bill's notes or taken down from
        > dictation.
        >
        > Once again, I noticed that the name of Doctor Howard was just about
        > everywhere in the manuscript. He sure had a LOT to say about edits
        > to our book. In addition, two other doctors I have never before
        > heard referenced as contributors of Big Book suggestions list (Dr.
        > Witherspoon & Dr. Bevoise [sp?]) are also found here.
        >
        > The Manuscript is littered with several comments that seem to be
        > rather off-handed. One noted that something was "too groupy," i.e.
        > Oxford Groupy. But, my favorite was opposite the first three
        > paragraphs currently found on page 80 of the Big Book about making
        > amends: "Dangerous for the NUTS – some could go higher than a kite."
        >
        > And there is some real history here. On the pages containing the
        > dropped story "Ace Full – Seven – Eleven," Bill has written the
        > author's name (something which has not been, to my knowledge, so far
        > discovered) and includes a short comment on why the story has been
        > dropped. (I will refrain from sharing that information here since it
        > rightly belongs to the owner of this copy of the Original
        > Manuscript.)
        >
        > Finally, it is interesting to note that none of the suggested
        > changes to Dr. Bob's story were taken. Someone – in an effort to cut
        > the text – had advised deleting three paragraphs and Dr. Howard
        > wanted the last line of his story to read: "Your FAITH will never
        > let you down!" Bob, obviously, thought the story should remain `as
        > is.'
        >
        > If you are anywhere within driving distance of New York City, I
        > would advise you to make a trip there this coming Friday, June 15th
        > through Wednesday, June 20th to see this remarkable piece of our
        > history and to "put your hands on the Book." It was a very moving
        > experience for both me and my sponsor who joined me for this trip!
        >
        > Old Bill
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • jax760
        Dr. Bevoise is Herb Debevoise (Herb D) from South Orange, New Jersey. John B - - - - Bill Schaberg had written: I noticed that the name of Doctor Howard was
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 22, 2008
          Dr. Bevoise is Herb Debevoise (Herb D) from
          South Orange, New Jersey.

          John B

          - - - -

          Bill Schaberg had written:

          I noticed that the name of Doctor Howard was
          just about everywhere in the manuscript. He
          sure had a LOT to say about edits to our book.
          In addition, two other doctors I have never
          before heard referenced as contributors of
          Big Book suggestions list (Dr. Witherspoon
          & Dr. Bevoise [sp?]) are also found here.

          - - - -

          In AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com,
          "Doug B." <dougb@...> wrote:
          >
          > Bill,
          >
          > Thanks for your observations...my spine was tingling!
          >
          > I found the following Dr's that might fit your question:
          >
          > Dr James Wainwright Howard from Montclair, NJ graduated P&S in 1919
          > Dr Charles Russell Witherspoon from Rochester, NY graduated Uof P in
          > 1898
          > No mention of a Dr. Bevoise [any spelling]) in NY, NJ or CT in 1936
          >
          > Doug B.

          - - - -

          > schaberg43 wrote:
          >
          > > I went down to Sotheby's today to take a long look at the Original
          > > Manuscript copy that they will be auctioning off on Thursday, June
          > > 21st. This is the OM copy where Hank, Ruth, Bill, and others
          > > recorded ALL of the suggestions that they received for edits
          before
          > > actually printing the first edition of the Big Book. It is an
          > > important historical document on many levels, but most
          importantly,
          > > I think, because it shows who made some of the suggestions and
          also
          > > allows you to see the suggestions that our founders did NOT take
          > > when editing the Big Book.
          > >
          > > NOTE: I was privileged with a private viewing of this copy of the
          > > Original Manuscript because I had assisted the cataloger in his
          > > write up of the history of the Original Manuscript printings –
          > > which, with the 13 photos, takes up 11½ pages of the catalog.
          While
          > > I had only 20 minutes to look at this piece when it was first
          > > auctioned off in June of 2004, this time Sotheby's allowed me over
          > > two hours to examine this important copy and it was a truly
          amazing
          > > two hours! What a piece of AA history!
          > >
          > > Just a couple of highlights.
          > >
          > > The original front cover of this copy is stamped in black
          > > ink: "LOANED COPY" – something I have heard about but never seen
          > > before. {Note: this copy is missing the original back cover along
          > > with the two pages of "Index" usually found in these copies.)
          > >
          > > The reverse side (verso) of the title page has a long handwritten
          > > note on it (see photo in lower left on page 224 of the Sotheby's
          > > catalog). This note continues onto the verso of another loose
          piece
          > > of paper that is also included here (but not pictured in the
          > > catalog).
          > >
          > > This is the manuscript copy of four paragraphs that were inserted
          > > into "Bill's Story." The paragraphs in question are the first four
          > > complete paragraphs found on page 12 of our basic text – starting
          > > with "Despite…" and ending with "…would!" These additions –
          > > certainly the largest edit to the Big Book immediately before it
          was
          > > published – include some extremely important AA precepts, not
          least
          > > of which is the italicized quote: "Why don't you choose your own
          > > conception of God?"
          > >
          > > This manuscript section is not in Bill's hand. I suspect
          (especially
          > > given the free use of abbreviations) that it was written there by
          > > Ruth Hock – either transcribed from Bill's notes or taken down
          from
          > > dictation.
          > >
          > > Once again, I noticed that the name of Doctor Howard was just
          about
          > > everywhere in the manuscript. He sure had a LOT to say about edits
          > > to our book. In addition, two other doctors I have never before
          > > heard referenced as contributors of Big Book suggestions list (Dr.
          > > Witherspoon & Dr. Bevoise [sp?]) are also found here.
          > >
          > > The Manuscript is littered with several comments that seem to be
          > > rather off-handed. One noted that something was "too groupy," i.e.
          > > Oxford Groupy. But, my favorite was opposite the first three
          > > paragraphs currently found on page 80 of the Big Book about making
          > > amends: "Dangerous for the NUTS – some could go higher than a
          kite."
          > >
          > > And there is some real history here. On the pages containing the
          > > dropped story "Ace Full – Seven – Eleven," Bill has written the
          > > author's name (something which has not been, to my knowledge, so
          far
          > > discovered) and includes a short comment on why the story has been
          > > dropped. (I will refrain from sharing that information here since
          it
          > > rightly belongs to the owner of this copy of the Original
          > > Manuscript.)
          > >
          > > Finally, it is interesting to note that none of the suggested
          > > changes to Dr. Bob's story were taken. Someone – in an effort to
          cut
          > > the text – had advised deleting three paragraphs and Dr. Howard
          > > wanted the last line of his story to read: "Your FAITH will never
          > > let you down!" Bob, obviously, thought the story should remain `as
          > > is.'
          > >
          > > If you are anywhere within driving distance of New York City, I
          > > would advise you to make a trip there this coming Friday, June
          15th
          > > through Wednesday, June 20th to see this remarkable piece of our
          > > history and to "put your hands on the Book." It was a very moving
          > > experience for both me and my sponsor who joined me for this trip!
          > >
          > > Old Bill
          > >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • jax760
          Doug B. You are correct! More to follow John B - - - - The orginal message #4377 from Bill Schaberg ... - - - - ... - - - -
          Message 4 of 4 , Sep 16, 2009
            Doug B.

            You are correct!

            More to follow

            John B

            - - - -

            The orginal message #4377 from Bill Schaberg
            <schaberg@...> (schaberg at aol.com) said:

            > > Once again, I noticed that the name of Doctor Howard was just about
            > > everywhere in the manuscript. He sure had a LOT to say about edits
            > > to our book. In addition, two other doctors I have never before
            > > heard referenced as contributors of Big Book suggestions list (Dr.
            > > Witherspoon & Dr. Bevoise [sp?]) are also found here.

            - - - -

            --- In AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com, "Doug B." <dougb@...>
            wrote in response:
            >
            > Bill,
            >
            > Thanks for your observations...my spine was tingling!
            >
            > I found the following Dr's that might fit your question:
            >
            > Dr James Wainwright Howard from Montclair, NJ graduated P&S in 1919
            > Dr Charles Russell Witherspoon from Rochester, NY graduated Uof P in
            > 1898
            > No mention of a Dr. Bevoise [any spelling]) in NY, NJ or CT in 1936
            >
            > Doug B.

            - - - -

            The full text of Bill Schaberg's message no. 4377:

            > > I went down to Sotheby's today to take a long look at the Original
            > > Manuscript copy that they will be auctioning off on Thursday, June
            > > 21st. This is the OM copy where Hank, Ruth, Bill, and others
            > > recorded ALL of the suggestions that they received for edits before
            > > actually printing the first edition of the Big Book. It is an
            > > important historical document on many levels, but most importantly,
            > > I think, because it shows who made some of the suggestions and also
            > > allows you to see the suggestions that our founders did NOT take
            > > when editing the Big Book.
            > >
            > > NOTE: I was privileged with a private viewing of this copy of the
            > > Original Manuscript because I had assisted the cataloger in his
            > > write up of the history of the Original Manuscript printings –
            > > which, with the 13 photos, takes up 11½ pages of the catalog. While
            > > I had only 20 minutes to look at this piece when it was first
            > > auctioned off in June of 2004, this time Sotheby's allowed me over
            > > two hours to examine this important copy and it was a truly amazing
            > > two hours! What a piece of AA history!
            > >
            > > Just a couple of highlights.
            > >
            > > The original front cover of this copy is stamped in black
            > > ink: "LOANED COPY" – something I have heard about but never seen
            > > before. {Note: this copy is missing the original back cover along
            > > with the two pages of "Index" usually found in these copies.)
            > >
            > > The reverse side (verso) of the title page has a long handwritten
            > > note on it (see photo in lower left on page 224 of the Sotheby's
            > > catalog). This note continues onto the verso of another loose piece
            > > of paper that is also included here (but not pictured in the
            > > catalog).
            > >
            > > This is the manuscript copy of four paragraphs that were inserted
            > > into "Bill's Story." The paragraphs in question are the first four
            > > complete paragraphs found on page 12 of our basic text – starting
            > > with "Despite…" and ending with "…would!" These additions –
            > > certainly the largest edit to the Big Book immediately before it was
            > > published – include some extremely important AA precepts, not least
            > > of which is the italicized quote: "Why don't you choose your own
            > > conception of God?"
            > >
            > > This manuscript section is not in Bill's hand. I suspect (especially
            > > given the free use of abbreviations) that it was written there by
            > > Ruth Hock – either transcribed from Bill's notes or taken down from
            > > dictation.
            > >
            > > Once again, I noticed that the name of Doctor Howard was just about
            > > everywhere in the manuscript. He sure had a LOT to say about edits
            > > to our book. In addition, two other doctors I have never before
            > > heard referenced as contributors of Big Book suggestions list (Dr.
            > > Witherspoon & Dr. Bevoise [sp?]) are also found here.
            > >
            > > The Manuscript is littered with several comments that seem to be
            > > rather off-handed. One noted that something was "too groupy," i.e.
            > > Oxford Groupy. But, my favorite was opposite the first three
            > > paragraphs currently found on page 80 of the Big Book about making
            > > amends: "Dangerous for the NUTS – some could go higher than a kite."
            > >
            > > And there is some real history here. On the pages containing the
            > > dropped story "Ace Full – Seven – Eleven," Bill has written the
            > > author's name (something which has not been, to my knowledge, so far
            > > discovered) and includes a short comment on why the story has been
            > > dropped. (I will refrain from sharing that information here since it
            > > rightly belongs to the owner of this copy of the Original
            > > Manuscript.)
            > >
            > > Finally, it is interesting to note that none of the suggested
            > > changes to Dr. Bob's story were taken. Someone – in an effort to cut
            > > the text – had advised deleting three paragraphs and Dr. Howard
            > > wanted the last line of his story to read: "Your FAITH will never
            > > let you down!" Bob, obviously, thought the story should remain `as
            > > is.'
            > >
            > > If you are anywhere within driving distance of New York City, I
            > > would advise you to make a trip there this coming Friday, June 15th
            > > through Wednesday, June 20th to see this remarkable piece of our
            > > history and to "put your hands on the Book." It was a very moving
            > > experience for both me and my sponsor who joined me for this trip!
            > >
            > > Old Bill
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