Henrietta Seiberling - without her would be no AA in this world
This is an 8 page (4 pages/2 sided) letter from Henrietta Seiberling to
Clarence Snyder written on Friday, July 31st and postmarked August 1, 1952
from Akron, Ohio. The back flap of the envelope states - GATE LODGE NORTH
PORTAGE PATH AKRON, OHIO interesting to note it was called Gate Lodge rather
than Gate House which is usually used in AA literature. This is one of
about 6 letters to Clarence from Henrietta that we have. Here is the transcription
of that letter from Henrietta's handwriting. Also attached are copies as
scanned from the original letter.
(She introduced Bill W. to
Anne and Dr. Bob Smith in 1935.)
Click on envelope to magnify
To Clarence H. Snyder
"The Home Brewmeister"
in the story section of
the big book
Founder of the very first group
that called itself "AA"
Letter page 1 - Click to magnify
Friday, July 31st, 1952
It was such a happy surprise to get your
letter - I have wanted to answer it long before
this but have been "burning daylight"
as the old saying goes.
My Dorothy & I drove here from New
York July 4th & she had 3 weeks here only
& I had been notified by the Seiberling brothers
& sisters that they felt they should rent my
house, as we are here so little, so John & his
wife & baby came as soon as I could get it
opened & ready, & Mary & her husband came
from Chicago for a week; all to go over & col-
lect their belongings, piling up for 29 years.
So you can imagine that I've stayed away
from pen & paper.
I drove back to New York Sunday with
Dorothy - car loaded with things & Fred picked
me up & drove me back Tuesday. I see
John off next week & then, as usual, Henrietta
really will tear into things - & finish up -
It was a terrific blow - the thought
of not having this sweet little place to come to
& enjoy the beauties of nature, trees, birds, sun-
shine, & quiet & to be with
Letter page 2 - Click to magnify
so many good friends. & at first, I didn't know
how to take it - so I just surrendered it & asked to
be shown what to say + what to do + put myself out
of the picture entirely & let God show me - after
a few days, I think I was guided to have the
right attitude & wrote my brother-in-law a letter
to which he responded the next day, with many
thanks & much appreciation. & since we've been
back I feel a warmth of affection from Fred's
brothers & sisters, that in the end, means more than
even my haven of my own joy & tranquility.
& so God works things out for us always &
I realize that we have to have things like that
to make us turn to Him & rely completely on Him.
"The branch that beareth not fruit, He cuts off
but He purges the branch that beareth fruit"
so it "will bear more fruit." I realized that it was
just another challenge to meet, so that I would
rely more completely on His direction, & I knew
that relying on "His direction, I would "never
be misled" I may work something out, renting
the house furnished or move the furniture here
to the Big House & I can stay there when I
want to I know.
I was so interested to think of your being
in Georgia & seeing Roland & Dorothy - They
are such dear wonderful
Letter page 3 - Click to magnify
real people & I think we can be so grateful to
our Maker for giving us a fel-
lowship with so many all over. all with
the same purpose in life & trying to live the
same quality of life.
Last night, Bill Van Horn & Mickey came
over and got me & we picked up
Bill Dotson, who
now lives near King School, &we went out to Stow
where I led the little group in a meeting - It
was just like old times at T. Henry's - Every
one felt they could get up and talk & you could
feel that we were really gathered together in
His Name & we had the real fellowship of the
"Holy Spirit" that was left in the world, so
we would never "be comfortless" - Bill Dotson
said he had been to Albany, Georgia to speak.
I told him that I had your letter & they were
so glad to get news of you & spoke of you in the
I feel very sure that God has His Guiding
Hand on our works,
It looked for a while as
if Bill Wilson would like to crowd God out
but we know that it is up to us to seek more &
more of God's power to help other people to know
this way of Life & our fellowship. You certainly
are doing your part & thank
Letter page 4 - Click to magnify
God, all those who have glimpsed the real vision
are doing theirs. The joy of it is, to me, that those
who have only been offered "the stone," are so
eager & grab at the "bread," that we know we
have to offer - as you say, it is appalling how
ittle they have been offered by the would be
"elder statesman" - but the 12 steps & the
fact that, as Stanley Jones say, wherever man
opens his mind to God, He reveals himself -
they have helped the groping AA's
been denied so much of the real "bread" -
& given the "stone" of Bill Wilson's designs.
But, Clarence, I have made one big whale of
a surrender of Bill & his schemes -
& all thought of him & the possibilities of what
harm he could do just left me in the most
amazing way. I don't have to try to "not think
of him" again, I just don't - He is completely
consigned to God by me & I know He can
handle him - We will be closely knit -
even with his taking the money & trying to take
the book. I am sure he will need our pity
& compassion because he has put himself
apart from the real fellowship -
Letter page 5 - Click to magnify
more and more I see that the
Chapter of Luke that I
read in answer to my asking to
understand Bill & what he was doing, illuminated
the situation - He has put himself with the
"children of darkness" - he has his henchmen &
ingratiates himself with those in the dark -
Let us keep ourselves "children of the Light"
& keep serving God, instead of "Mammon."
Bill has made his choice - Read the chapter over.
I heard talk in Missouri 2 years ago about
his connection with Sheen* but I don't imagine
it is so.
He imagines himself all kinds of things.
His hand "writes" dictation from a Catholic
priest, whose name I forget, from the 1600 period
who was in Barcelona Spain - again, he told
Horace Crystal**, he was completing the work
that Christ didn't finish, & according to Horace
he said he was a reincarnation of Christ.
Perhaps he got mixed in whose reincarnation
he was. It looks more like the works of
devil but I could be wrong. I don't know what
is going on in the poor deluded fellow's mind.
He must be wistful. He asked Bill Dotson if he
knew where I was & Bill said "on Park Ave" &
he said "Have you seen her"?
* Bill did begin taking instruction
with Bishop Fulton J. Sheen to convert
to becoming Roman Catholic but didn't
complete the instruction.
** Horace Crystal was a leading member of The Alcoholic Foundation
(AA General Service Board Inc.) and Vice-President
of Works Publishing, Inc., New York. (now AA World Services, Inc.)
Letter page 6 - Click to magnify
I learned from a Texas friend that a Chaplain
in the prisons said the only way they really reached
prisoners was thru Alcoholics Anonymous, even for
the non alcoholic - so besides such things as
that, Bill & his schemes pale into insignificance
for us - I am sure.
can stand by & see him claim the "glory"
if we can keep the "power" to help transform
lives - Thank God, you & so many others are
still doing that.
I imagine Selma* will like the South.
They are dear people & I hope you like the new
situation. (*Clarence's 2nd wife)
I realize that what may seem the
"closed door" of my idyllic little place here,
may be the opening of many more doors &
vistas, so maybe it is a release for me to go
around & see more people - anyway we, all
know & I felt confidant of that, for which I am
grateful that we are equal to anything in
Him who strengthens us.
Bill Van Horn had his "purging" the other
day. The cute little boy's "mother" had been taking a
course at Kleet normal & little
Letter page 7 - Click to magnify
Billy was thru his school &Bill planned to go
a fishing trip with him & he came home one
night & found she had taken off. He learned
she went to California. The little boy was the
apple of Bill's eye, but he will "bear more fruit"
for this last challenge to meet & he seems to
know that "bearing fruit" is what we are here for.
He is going to take me up to Cleveland to their
Luncheon group some time. Maybe in the course
of time, I'll meet Ed Howe. But it's like the 'father
who seeth in secret,' that matters. Just so we
keep His Guidance, which is so very real, I know
nothing else really matters, as you know too.
Do let me know what's going on with
you, Clarence - I'll probably be here until the
middle of September, at least.
It is unnecessary to say "keep up your
good works." You do that anyway, but I am
very grateful for such true people as you &
Selma & Bill Van Horn & Roland & all. We'll
have our own "Grapevine," "underground" but
from "overhead" - God has been good to us to
give us a glimpse of such a little "colony of
Letter page 8 - Click to magnify
as Paul calls it - Annabel & Wally go to the King
School still - Ernie Galbraith was there & so
many of the "faithful." John Cluffs led; Marie
Bray appeared (remember them?) Bob Graham
died & so did poor Ernie Springston, if you
remember him. I saw Henry Schwering in
Bill Dotson* brought him over.
wouldn't let him in the "convention."
Goodby, Clarence. Your good work
speaks always of you to so many. It is a
great joy to think of, isn't it.
As ever Faithfully
*Bill Dotson was a
lawyer in Akron, Ohio. His story is in the book "Alcoholics Anonymous". Look for
"AA Number Three". Bill D. is also the man in the hospital bed in the chapter "A
Vision For You."
Bill Wilson said this of him:
So then Dr. Bob and I talked to the man on the bed, Bill Dotson, who some
of you have heard, A.A. No.3. Here was another man who said he couldn't
get well, his case was too tough, much tougher than ours besides he knew
all about religion. Well, here it was, one drunk talking with another,
in fact, two drunks talking to one. The very next day the man on the bed
got out of his bed and he picked it up and walked and he has stayed sober
ever since. A.A. No.3, the man on the bed.
Bill Wilson, Memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952