The "Holy Grail" of Alcoholics Anonymous!
Sold for $992,000. at Sotheby's, New York City , June 21, 2007
The Book That Started It All: The Original Working Manuscript
The Book That Started It All: The Original Working Manuscript is now avalible !! Thats right The Holy Grail of Alcoholics Anonymous is now being made avalible to the public. Just in time for the holidays. Order your copy today and be one of the first to receive this highly anticipated publication.
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A Sneak Preview from the Working Manuscript!
Missing Pieces of A.A. History
One Mystery Solved: Now we know why the 'Ace Full --- Seven --- Eleven' story was the only original manuscript story never included in the Big Book !" (See photo)
This is the official website for the “Master Copy” of the Original Manuscript of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous.The Master Copy was purchased by Ken Roberts in June of 2007 at an auction held at Sotheby’s in New York City for a hammer price of $850,000 (with premiums, $992,000). Given the unpredictable nature of auctions, this same copy had previous sold at Sotheby’s for a hammer price of $1,4000,000 (with premiums, $1,576,000) in June of 2004.
But, what is the “Original Manuscript” of the AA book and why is it so valuable? In June of 1938, there were two groups of men (and one woman) in Akron, Ohio, and New York City that had discovered a way for alcoholics to stay sober. One of the founders of this new fellowship had been sober for an amazing three-and-a-half years and the other hadn’t had a drink in three years.The groups decided to write a book explaining how they had gotten sober and what they had done to stay sober – in the hope of spreading the ‘good news’ of what they had accomplished.
By December of 1938, they had a working manuscript for the book. But, before the official publication, they decided to circulate some offset printed (what they called “multilith”) copies of the text for review by the group’s members and by a select number of doctors, psychiatrists and religious figures – asking for suggestions and final edits for the text before it went to press.Any careful comparison of the Original Manuscript or on line at (http://silkworth.net/originalmanuscript/originalmanuscript.html) with the text as it was first published in April of 1939 is fascinating and instructive. There were some truly monumental changes made – perhaps most notably, in the editing of the text to seven of the twelve steps and a reworking of the ‘tone’ of the entire book.
Copies of these multilith copies have come to be known as the “Original Manuscript” – and, because those that were returned to the early AA headquarters with the reader’s comments were then discarded, they are exceedingly rare.
But one copy of the Original Manuscript is rarer, more important and far more precious than all the others put together. This is the “Master Copy” of the Original Manuscript in which all of the suggested edits were compiled and hand-recorded. These suggested changes were entered over several weeks in a number of different colors by a number of different people – including Hank Parkhurst, Bill Wilson, Ruth Hock and some other as-yet-unidentified annotators.
As this manuscript clearly shows, every page was open for changes and a colossal numbers of suggestions, for revisions were made – the vast majority of which were adopted. Just one example will suffice – on page 69 there are about 50-60 word changes in black and red pencil and over 30 lines were crossed out entirely or in part. The vast majority of pages in the manuscript contain handwritten suggestions like this for changes, substitutions, additions or subtractions.
This makes even the briefest examination of the Master Copy of the Original Manuscript an exciting and enlightening experience for two important reasons.
First of all, it is frequently possible to see which individual was responsible for suggesting a particular change to the text. Most notable among these, are the many changes attributed to a psychiatrist named Dr. Howard – who obviously spent a tremendous amount of time reading and editing the book. (His most important contribution – and it is a hugely important one – was to insist that all of the ‘you musts’ be taken out of the book and substituted with ‘this is what we did’ phrasings.)
But even more important than this, is that the Master Copy allows historians and interested AA members to see what changes to the text were made but were NOT taken – providing an intimate and important look into the minds and the hearts of AA’s founders as they struggled to polish and perfect the text of their forthcoming book.
Surely, this is a text that demands detailed scholarly examination and evaluation – At present we are evaluating different printing methods so that the Fellowship and scholars will have full access to the manuscript in the future. No decisions have been made on this yet.
For more information and the plans in making this treasure available for Alcoholics Anonymous scholars, archivists, and members of the fellowship see "about the buyer".
Be among the first to be notified of all future developments, send your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org (All information provided is confidential)
Copyright July 2008