Birth of BigBook II:
An Analysis of Excerpts from
"Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age"

Original Author unknown, perhaps A. Nonymous
Edited and corrected by, and blue notes added by,

(Excerpts from the book Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age)
(Comments by a few truth seekers.)
page 171:

Our stockholders were already loaded for every share they could take; they had had it. Maybe good old Charlie Towns would be the man. So it fell my lot to go to New York and put the touch on him. Mr. Towns was not too favorably impressed when he heard where we stood, but he came through with the hotel bill and about a hundred dollars to spare.
      We took a cheerful view. Soon the book plates would be made, the presses would roll, and 5,000 books would be ready when the Reader's Digest piece broke. Henry and Ruth and I divided the last hundred dollars among us and we all returned to New York in high spirits. We could be patient now; prosperity was just around the corner.

Bill Wilson is telling a story about the financial difficulties that the early A.A. members endured in order to finally get the Big Book into print and into alcoholics' hands. His account is less than 100% accurate or candid. Others suffered, but Bill does not appear to have suffered too much. The truth is:

$4,450 from stock subscribers
$2,539 from Dr. Silkworth's boss Charlie Towns
$1,000 from W. Cochran
$   100   from William Wilson
$8,089 total raised to print the Big Book.

Eight thousand dollars in 1939 had the same purchasing power as $132,471 in year 2013 dollars — a solid basis for a book project of 5000 copies.

(For an inflation calculator, see:

See the June 1940 financial statement for the evidence.

Now we see that they did not divide the last hundred dollars among themselves, because:

$2,190 went to Henry Parkhurst
$2,563 went to Ruth Hock
$1,558 went to Bill Wilson
$6,311 total expenditures, leaves
$1,778 remaining cash on hand.

Or cash that should be on hand.

Actually, the above analysis is too simplistic. The unknown author is definitely on the right track, and has the right idea, but there are more numbers involved, all of the rest of the expenses and income. See the next table for details.

And you can bet that Charlie Towns was not "too favorably impressed" when he heard that the book-publishing venture in which he had invested so much money was broke, because someone had frittered away all of the money that had been collected for printing the book...
That $2,539 that Charlie Towns invested equals approximately $29,985 in year 2000 dollars. That's serious money. And some bozo spent it all, huh?

page 173:

It was April, 1939. Henry, absolutely broke, was trying to get work. Ruth, living at home, was given meaningless stock certificates in the defunct Works Publishing as pay. She cheerfully accepted these and never slackened her efforts. All of us were going into debt just for living expenses.

It is astonishing to read that Ruth Hock was merely a secretary who typed letters and manuscripts. Wow, $2,563 was a pretty good salary for a mere typist at this time!? She earned more than her boss Henry! How could that be?

Well, the balance sheet is a bit tricky here. Page 173 of "AA Comes of Age" reveals a solution to the puzzle:

Neither Henry nor Ruth received a lot of cash. Bill managed to "satisfy" them with "meaningless stock certificates" [sic]. In truth, they were not even real stock certificates, because Works Publishing could not issue any. A company with that name did not exist before June 1940. So what Ruth and Henry got were "subscriptions".
Here is what they looked like. See the last page!

If Henry and Ruth received almost no cash, we have to add, say, $4,000 to the remaining $1,778, making a total of $5,778 available at Bill W.'s discretion.
(That's roughly $68,238 in year 2000 dollars.)
Where the heck did all of that money go?

Another reason that there were no Works Publishing stock certificates is that the company "Works Publishing" did not exist at that time. The whole story of "Works Publishing" is a Big Lie, a lie told by Bill Wilson so many times that people believe it. The company that was formed to create the Big Book, the company that Bill and Hank sold stock in, was the "ONE HUNDRED MEN CORPORATION". If Ruth was given some kind of I.O.U.s for stock, they were for stock in that corporation.

By the way, what did Ruth Hock finally get for her "stock certificates"? (They would be worth millions now.) We know that Bill Wilson conned Henry Parkhurst out of his share of the stock, giving Henry $200 for some furniture and the stock certificates1, but what payment did Ruth Hock get for her shares, finally? Was she asked to just hand over her pay for all of that work, and get nothing in return?

The June 1940 financial statement is a real work of fiction. The guys (plus Ruth Hock) who were trying to resurrect the publishing venture that Bill Wilson had wrecked were trying hard to cover up the grand theft, the disappearance of all of the money that Bill Wilson was able to get his hands on, so that the investors wouldn't realize what a bunch of flakes they had invested in. And maybe call the police? So there are numerous phony items in the list of expenditures. The accountant was doing a lot of creative writing.

The first very questionable item is actually the company itself. This financial statement is for "Works Publishing Company." But Bill Wilson and Henry Parkhurst had gone around and sold stock subscriptions for, and collected money for, a company called "The One Hundred Men Corporation", which was supposed to write and publish a book, to be called "One Hundred Men", about a great new "spiritual" way of recovering from hopeless alcoholism. See the prospectus. Bill Wilson made up the name "Works Publishing" when he illegally, fraudulently, filed for the copyright of the Big Book as the sole author. He wrote that the copyright owner was
"Wm. G. Wilson, trading as Works Publishing Co.".
Somehow, some time after that, the name "The One Hundred Men Corporation" was simply quietly abandoned, and then the early New York Alcoholics Anonymous group issued a financial statement that purported to describe the operations of "Works Publishing Company". Such conduct would appear to be felonious stock fraud, selling shares of stock in a company — "The One Hundred Men Corporation" — that was never incorporated, never registered with the SEC, and never even existed.

The receipts are simple. They are the items listed above, plus the money that came from selling 2405 books, $6578.98. So the total income was $14,667.98. Okay so far, even though the money from before and after the printing is mixed, so it is harder to figure things out. And what is really bad is the mixing of the for-profit "Works Publishing" or "100 Men Corporation" and the non-profit "Alcoholic Foundation" money and expenses. In truth, they did not keep them separate at all. That is a very bad business practice — illegal, in fact — and bad accounting too. Nevertheless, we can still uncover a lot of the fraudulent numbers.

The numbers in the table below are the alleged expenditures of the publishing company, presumably the One Hundred Men Corporation. The column of numbers for "Equivalent Year 2000 Dollars" is just to try to put the numbers in perspective, to make it easier to visualize the amounts of money that we are talking about. The conversion factor is 11.8148. That is, $100 in 1939 equals $1181.48 in the year 2000. [Inflation calculator here.] The comments are self-evident. The column for "Bill Got" is just a guess of what Bill might have really gotten out of that particular item. In truth, to try to be as fair and accurate as possible, we should bear in mind that Henry Parkhurst might have gotten some of it. The numbers are further explained below.

"Works Publishing" Expenditures
  Item Actual 1939 DollarsEquivalent Year 2000 DollarsCommentBill Got, 1939 $
1. Henry Parkhurst 2190.00$25,863.00MAYBE paid $ 0.00
2. Ruth Hock2563.50$30,274.94NOT paid $1922.62
3. William Wilson1558.00$13,675.98 paid $1558.00
4. rent834.17$ 9,851.54 probably paid. 0
5. multilith165.00$ 1,948.65Bill took it; others eventually paid this invoice. 165.00
6. book critics375.00$ 4,428.75 Payola??
This is probably for Dr. Tom Uzzell's editing work.
7. Radio program, adv., direct mail and sales promotion731.17$ 8,635.11bogus: the radio was free... 500.00
8. W. von Arx635.00$ 7,499.35 WHAT IS THIS?!! 635.00
9. Cornwall Press2414.71$28,517.73 Bill took it, others eventually paid this invoice. 2414.71
10. furniture240.00$ 2,834.40That's PADDED. 0.00
11. misc36.00$ 425.16 believable. 0.00
12. Wm Cochran400.00$ 4,724.00 NOT PAID OUT, the money disappeared. 400.00
13. typist60.00$ 708.60 Huh? Ruth Hock was the typist, wasn't she? ??? 0.00
14. General Expenses: Works Publishing818.70$ 9,668.84PADDED. 400.00
15. General Expenses: Alcoholic Foundation818.69$ 9,668.72PADDED. 400.00
16. cash in bank828.04$ 9,779.15   0.00

As the anonymous author pointed out, many of the supposed expenditures were fictitious. Lois Wilson said that Ruth Hock was mostly given "meaningless stock certificates," rather than cash, for her work. She was not paid anything like what the Receipts and Disbursements page says. The report has the secretary Ruth supposedly getting paid more than the president of the company, Hank, and nearly three times as much money as Bill. But Ruth Hock, since she was living at home with her parents, and "cheerfully accepting meaningless stock certificates as pay", probably really got much less than one quarter of the stated figure in actual spendable cash. Bill got most of the real money, and she got bogus worthless paper. And the accountant is covering up Bill's theft with this clumsy deception.

We can't really tell what Henry ('Hank') Parkhurst got, so let's give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he drew all of his pay.

The rent looks high, but I guess rents are always high in New Jersey or New York, even though the office was supposed to be just a "little cubical."

And the printer was not paid on time, as the anonymous author details below. Bill got all of that money, the funds that were supposed to cover the printing cost and the multilith cost. But the other, more responsible, members of the original New York A.A. group did get it paid later, to get the printed books. And they hid the extra expense in the other items.

The $375 to "critics" is very funny. That's the equivalent of $4,428 today. It paid for what? Good reviews? Payola to book reviewers? Do they do that? It is probably something else entirely: paying Tom Uzzell for editing the book. When the manuscript was completed, it was sent to Dr. Tom Uzzell, a professor at New York University for final editing. Dr. Uzzell was a past editor of Colliers Magazine, contributor to The Saturday Evening Post, and writer of several books. Other documents say that he was paid $380 for the work, which is close enough.

And the $731 for advertising looks bogus, and inflated. They did a free radio interview, and got a bunch of people to write magazine articles praising A.A. and the book for their advertising campaign — all of which cost nothing. Other A.A. literature explains that they were dead broke at that time, and had no money for publicity, so they were desperately getting all of the free publicity they could get, like getting the friend (Morgan Ryan) of a friend who had a nation-wide radio show (Gabriel Heatter's "We The People") to interview them. And they contacted every magazine editor and writer any of them knew, to get some free publicity there. In page 5 of the report, they specifically list the authors and the articles that publicized their cause — for free. They claim, in the text of the financial report, that they had a huge one-time expenditure promoting the book, the equivalent of $8635 in today's dollars. That seems unlikely, considering that they were "dead broke," and had no money for either paying the printer for the books or for promoting the book. The giant one-time expense was more likely the expense of having Bill Wilson's hand in the cookie jar.

There is another story about what happened to the money. The official A.A. party line is that Bill and the boys used "the last $500" to send out a postcard to every doctor east of the Mississippi before the radio broadcast, urging them to listen in, and that it was all a big waste of time and money, because only three book orders came in from it. Well, that sounds like a cover story.

Bill Wilson wrote in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, on page 174, that they sent out 20,000 postcards. Postcard stamps cost one penny in 1940, so 20,000 of them would cost $200, which left $300 for buying a mailing list, printing and paying somebody to address all of the postcards.

Were there really that many doctors east of the Mississippi? Where did they get the mailing list? How many months of their spare time would it have taken the twenty members of the New York A.A. group to hand address 20,000 postcards?

Bill Wilson wrote in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age,

A list of all physicians in the eastern United States was obtained from an agency which also designed the post card mailing. This made us feel sure of at least a few thousand book orders.
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 174.

So there must be an invoice or a receipt from that agency for that work sitting somewhere in the sealed Alcoholics Anonymous archives, and perhaps also a receipt for the postage stamps.
Can we see those invoices and receipts? No. Why not?
That sounds suspiciously like a bogus story to explain the disappearance of $500.
"We were so hard-working that we sent a postcard to every doctor east of the Mississippi! That's where the money went."
Yeh, right.
("Is that why you had to work all night, Dear? Gee, and I thought it was because you were thirteenth-stepping that pretty girl from the meeting. How silly of me...")

But it just gets better and better: Nan Robertson wrote in her book, Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, that

      Bill Wilson and his friends speculated how they would handle the flood of inquiries. At a cost of $500, they had typed and mailed out 20,000 cards to notify people in the medical profession about the broadcast. They waited three days, to give enough time for the cards to pile up in the Alcoholic Foundation's post-office box. Then they took empty suitcases down to the post office to carry home all the replies.
      "When they unlocked the box," said Lois, "they couldn't believe their eyes — only twelve cards. Five hundred bucks had gone down the drain."
Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, Nan Robertson, 1998, page 75.

Oh, they typed the cards? That created a real bottle-neck. They couldn't have had twenty or thirty alcoholics just sitting around hand-writing the addresses on the postcards day and night until the job was done. They had to have somebody typing the cards. How many typewriters did they have? How many people in A.A., besides Ruth Hock, even knew how to type? How long would it take one typewriter to type 20,000 post cards? If poor over-worked Ruth Hock had to type the addresses on all 20,000 of the cards herself, it would have taken a long, long time. (Remember that she would have had a clanky mechanical non-electric typewriter, perhaps a huge, heavy old Underwood. They are much slower than an electric.) If they went and rented a few more typewriters, then they also needed to find and hire some more typists to go with them — several of them, because they would have needed typists working around the clock to get all of the postcards addressed and mailed well before the radio broadcast. Their tiny "cubicle of an office", as Bill Wilson called it, didn't have room for more than 2 or 3 typists, because they probably only had one desk in there.

How could they solve all of those problems? The only reasonable answer, if they really did that mailing, is that they must have had a printer print up 20,000 postcards with the message on them, and then they hired some service to address the cards for them. Who? Where is the receipt? Why wasn't that large expense listed individually, like the much smaller items numbered 5, 6, and 10 through 13, rather than just being lumped with other stuff like the radio broadcast which did not really cost anything?

The "W. von Arx" item is very odd. It is large, ($635 in 1939 is $7499 in today's dollars,) and it is completely unexplained. The balance sheet says that Wallace von Arx was still owed $190 more, for "advances payable", but the Receipts and Disbursements page doesn't show him as having paid anything in. (??!!) Apparently, we are supposed to believe that he was a sponsor or supporter who advanced a total of $825 in cash, which is $9743.25 in today's dollars, but his contributions were not recorded anywhere in the accounting?! Those guys sure had some funny methods of keeping books. Anyway, no matter how we look at it, there is something very wrong here, something wrong to the tune of $9743 in today's dollars. If Mr. von Arx paid that money in, then it went somewhere that the books don't show. Where? Into whose pocket? Was there really a "Mr. von Arx"? [Yes, see the letters.] Was this large payment to "Mr. von Arx" just one of Bill Wilson's alter-egos making a withdrawal? Or did Mr. von Arx really advance $825 in cash, and Bill figured that it was about time that he got paid again, so he pocketed the money instead of putting it into the kitty and recording the transaction? [Probably the latter.]

And while we are looking at that balance sheet, note that below the name "Wallace von Arx" there is an F. E. Miller who also advanced $200. (That's $2362 in Y2K dollars.) But his money is also not shown as receipts on the Receipts and Disbursements page either. Where did that money go? This "financial report" has as many holes in it as a piece of Swiss cheese.

The furniture expenditure is excessive, and unbelievable. Bill Wilson described the office as "our little cubicle of an office at 17 William Street, Newark". Well, $2834 (in year 2000 dollars) for a used desk, a used table, a few old chairs, and maybe an old filing cabinet to go into that "little cubicle" is obviously grossly inflated, obviously untrue. Somebody is padding the expense account... Still, I'll credit this money to Hank, not Bill. One biographer of Bill Wilson says that Henry Parkhurst got this money; that 'Hank' had scrounged up some old furniture from his other business and sold it to Works Publishing. The story is that, after Hank relapsed, he came around drunk, demanding payment for the furniture a second time, and Bill Wilson gave him $200 for it in a combination deal that also required that Hank sign over his 200 shares of "Works Publishing" (really, the "100 Men Corporation") stock. (So Hank really got $200 for his shares of stock...)1

The "Wm. Cochran" item is highly deceptive, an outright lie. The text of the report explains that William Cochran was paid back $400 of his original $1000 investment, but that Mr. Cochran generously donated that refund to The Alcoholic Foundation. Well, the moneys of The Alcoholic Foundation and "Works Publishing" (or the "100 Men Corporation") were all mixed together here, so the money should never have really left the company at all. It should have just moved from the left-hand pocket to the right-hand pocket. Notice that the General Expenses item was simply split evenly between the two companies. But that $400 was not applied to The Alcoholic Foundation's half of the general office expenses, which is what should have been done with it. So where did the money go? How about, "Bill Wilson's pocket"?

And speaking of general office expenses, both The Alcoholic Foundation and "Works Publishing" (or the "100 Men Corporation") managed to rack up the equivalent of $9668 each, (in year 2000 dollars,) in postage stamps and bubble gum expenditures? Huh? For 15 months of operation?

Specifically, the report lists "postage, stationery, telephone, office supplies, car expense, proofreading, book returns, box rentals, printing, commissions, incorporation expense." The accountant just split all such expenses between "Works Publishing" and The Alcoholic Foundation, which is grossly inappropriate. Was The Alcoholic Foundation printing and requiring proof-reading? No, "Works Publishing" (really, the "100 Men Corporation") was printing the book. Were they both incorporated in the same legal procedure? Not likely. Did The Alcoholic Foundation pay commissions? For what? It didn't sell books, or anything else, "Works Publishing" (or the "100 Men Corporation") did. It looks like the excessively large "office expenses" of Works Publishing were being masked by assigning half of them to The Alcoholic Foundation even though they didn't share a lot of those expenses. But the Alcoholic Foundation didn't reimburse "Works Publishing" (or the "100 Men Corporation") for those expenses... It would have been illegal for the for-profit corporation "Works Publishing" (really, the "100 Men Corporation") to be paying all of the office expenses of the non-profit corporation The Alcoholic Foundation. That is the felony called "raiding the assets of a corporation" — cheating the stockholders of "Works Publishing" or the "100 Men Corporation".

In any case, those numbers look padded. $19,300 (in year 2000 dollars) in small miscellaneous office expenses for an impoverished little three-person office that was supposedly operating on a shoe-string budget for only fifteen months? Remember that those office expenses did not include the high-priced items like rent or salaries. This was just pencils, paper, stamps, the telephone, car expenses, etc., and maybe the cost of incorporation. (The corporation named "Works Publishing" was not incorporated until 1940. The "100 Men Corporation" was never incorporated.) For a large part of the fifteen months in question, this was mostly just two or three people sitting in the office, writing, editing, and typing a book. And for part of that time, they were totally broke, and the business was shut down, and spending nothing. Read the quotes further down this page...

When we add up the "Bill Got" column, the sum is $8394.62. That is money that Mr. Wilson might have stuffed into his pockets. Multiply that by 11.8148 to translate it into year 2000 dollars, and that is $99,180.76. Not a bad haul for a down-and-out alcoholic. Maybe that explains how he could drive a Lincoln while he was "unemployed and dead broke."

Now, in truth, I suspect that he got less than that, probably only half or two-thirds of that, filched here and there, which is more in line with what the anonymous author figured out by his own methods of calculation. But that is still a lot of money. And Henry Parkhurst might have gotten part of the missing money. Bill Wilson and Henry Parkhurst also had another business, Honor Dealers, which was a gasoline-buying cooperative, which was going broke. Some of the missing moneys might have been sunk into that financial black hole.

There is still one more large dangling item here: the text of the financial report says that the new financial managers, Herbert Taylor, President, and Horace Crystal, Vice-President, who took over after Bill bankrupted the business, had to sell more stock and also borrow $1000 to cover expenses, just to stay in business until they could sell a bunch of books. (That's how there could be $828 left in the bank account after Bill said that all of the money was spent.) But that money does not appear anywhere in the Receipts and Disbursements page. So that new money was covering invisible expenses, which were not listed above, like Bill Wilson's hand... Or, if the new money really did go to pay for a bunch of the expenses listed above, like the printer's invoices — so that they could get the books from the printer — then it was only because somebody had already taken an equal amount of the old money that was supposed to pay for those same expenses...

Obviously, that whole financial report is false, and a big cover-up.

page 11:

I reminded Jerseyites at the Convention of early meetings in Upper Montclair and South Orange and in Monsey, New York, when Lois and I moved over there about the time the A.A. book came off the press in the spring of 1939, after the foreclosure of the Brooklyn home of her parents where we had been living. The weather was warm, and we lived in a summer camp on a quiet lake in western New Jersey, the gracious loan of a good A.A. friend and his mother. Another friend let us use his car. I recalled how the summer had been spent trying to repair the bankrupt affairs of the A.A. book, which money-wise had failed so dismally after its publication. We had a hard time keeping the sheriff out of our little cubicle of an office at 17 William Street, Newark, where most of the volume had been written.
      We attended New Jersey's first A.A. meeting, held in the summer of 1939, at the Upper Montclair house of Henry P., my partner in the now shaky book enterprise. There we met Bob and Mag V., our great friends-to-be. When at Thanksgiving snow fell on our summer camp, they invited us to spend the winter with them at their house in Monsey, New York.

Again "AA Comes of Age" gives us the answer, between the lines — but it's not easy for a casual reader to discover.

Printing cost for the 4,730 big books was $2,414 (including $825 for book plates). Had Bill paid Mr. Blackwell's invoice, ($5,778 - $2,414 =) $3,364 would have still been left in Bill's hands. But Cornwall Press' invoice was not paid, because Bill Wilson had stolen and spent a great deal of the money on himself.

Mr. Blackwell asked Bill's bank and the police for help. As a result of that, Wilson lost his house and went "underground" as a bankrupt homeless person.

page 173:

      Then, on May first [1939], fresh calamity fell upon 182 Clinton Street. Lois and I had been living in a house which belonged to her parents before their death. The bank had taken it over and rented it to us for a nominal sum. The mortgage was so big the bank had found great difficulty in selling the place, so we had been able to stay there several years. But at this moment they found a purchaser and we had to get out. From its four floors the old brick house disgorged its furniture into a moving van. The warehouse had to pay the mover, since we could not. All our worldly goods were in hock with the warehouse-man, and they were to stay that way for two years more. Where could we go?
      Friends rallied around. A small fund, just about the first money our Foundation ever had, was set up as the "Lois W. Home Replacement Fund." To this, surrounding A.A. families began to make tiny contributions. Small, of course, because everybody was broke. Out of this, the Trustees began to pay Lois and me $50 a month. A newer member, Jack C. loaned us a battered Lincoln automobile. But where would we live? The question was settled by Howard and his mother, who owned a summer camp on a remote lake in western New Jersey. Here we stayed until snow flew in November. This interval gave us the needed opportunity to revive the bankrupt book project.

We learn that bankers were more effective than police officers in Bill's case. They took over the house and sold it, throwing Wilson out. However, he continued to live at other people's expense. Despite being broke, he managed to drive a Lincoln automobile and could draw $50 a month. This convenient sum (comparable to $1500 in 1999) was sneaked out of "tiny contributions" from people, who were themselves "broke".

The inflation calculator says that $50 in 1939 is equal to $591 in the year 2000. Nevertheless, it was a livable wage for 1939, low, but liveable, especially when you aren't paying rent or utilities.

Bill and Lois moved in with Henry Parkhurst on April 26, 1939, when the bank foreclosed on the 182 Clinton Street house.

page 179:

      As noted earlier, Lois and I moved to the home of Bob and Mag in Monsey, New York, to spend the winter of 1939 and the early spring of 1940. A little after this we moved to a friend's apartment in New York City, then briefly to a room in Greenwich Village, and finally to A.A.'s first clubhouse, "The Old Twenty-Fourth," where we remained until the spring of 1941. The contributors to the "Lois W. Home Replacement Fund" kept up their good work. Thus we were comfortable enough, and our happiness grew as we watched A.A. unfold.
      One sad incident marred the early spring of 1940. Not knowing where any of us might live in the future, we had chosen Box 658 at one of New York's downtown post offices as the most central point of the whole metropolitan area, Long Island and New Jersey included. It now seemed right for us to establish a small office near this box. Backed by the book stockholders and by Ruth, I made this proposal. Henry, whose job took him into western New Jersey, objected violently.
      He wanted to take the book business and Ruth wherever he went. His job was not going too well, and he was on what we nowadays call a "dry bender." The more we insisted the more adamant and violent he became. He was heavily beset with other problems, too. At length he broke down completely and went on a terrific bender after four years of sobriety. He never again showed any real sign of recovery, and he went on drinking until his death recently. Considering what he had done for the book, and the further fact that he was one of our first New York members, this was hard to take.

Those $50 a month withdrawals continued until spring, 1940. Wilson did practically nothing but sneak money out of others and passively "watch AA unfold".

Bill puts the conflict between him and Henry merely on the level of jealousy. In spite of being married to Lois, Bill tried to hit on Ruth, even though she was in love with Hank, and was considering marriage with him.

But there was more. Hank also had other objections: Hank worked for a living. Bill Wilson was just a free-loading parasite at that time.

Notice how Bill Wilson was once again using the psychological trick of Hiding Behind Others. When Bill sponged money off of the other A.A. members, it wasn't for him, Bill said, it was for Lois. It was for the "Lois W. Home Replacement Fund".

So why didn't Bill Wilson just go get a job and rent an apartment for his wife Lois? Why was it the job of the other alcoholics to supply Lois with a home?

In her book on how to live with a narcissistic spouse, Nina Brown wrote:

Your partner may have high expectations that you will take care of his personal needs. What is expected is that you will fulfill many parenting and nurturing functions, so that your partner can remain free to pursue personally interesting things.
Loving the Self-Absorbed: How to Create a More Satisfying Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner, Nina W. Brown, Ed.D., LPC, NCC, page 78.

And it looks like Bill Wilson expected the other A.A. members to support him and his wife too.

Bill described the plan to move the book business to a downtown New York office as mere practicality, not a scheme to get both the book money and Ruth away from Hank...

It sounds like Bill Wilson drove Hank Parkhurst right out of A.A..

Hank had good reason to be angry and disappointed, and "object violently." He had worked hard to make both A.A. and the book a success. Then he found that his "partner" and fellow A.A. member was trying to double-cross him and steal the book and the book money. Hank had every reason to not want to turn control of the book project over to Bill, since Bill had already stolen and spent so much money once... And Bill was not the sole author — forty or fifty people from Akron and Cincinatti to New York had worked on the book.

Doctor Bob's daughter, Sue Smith Windows, wrote and submitted to the German courts that are dealing with Big Book copyright disputes a notarized statement where she states that Bill Wilson refused to give Henry Parkhurst credit for writing the "To Employers" chapter. That, and Bill's stealing of the copyright to the book, were two of the factors that led to the split between Wilson and Parkhurst.

But Bill wrote only that Hank went on a "dry bender", and "had problems." Yes, problems like not wanting to give all of his work and all of the money to Bill. Those were problems, all right. Bill "found it hard to take" when Hank quit A.A. and relapsed, ending four years of sobriety, and died drunk.

Feeling guilty, Bill? Did you confess that one to your sponsor, Bill? How did you make your Ninth Step amends on that one? Was your performance there a contributing factor to your 11-year-long fit of deep depression that started a few years later?

page 187:

      Now to flash back for a moment to the spring of 1940. Over Henry's strong objections, we had moved from the tiny cubicle of an office in Newark to one slightly larger at 30 Vesey Street, New York City, next door to our downtown post office box.

The conflict led to separation. But what did Hank Parkhurst complain about?
page 187:

      The affairs of Works Publishing, however, were still in pretty sketchy shape. It had never been incorporated, and the only evidence of its existence were the stock certificates that Henry and I had manufactured, the books in the warehouse, and the canceled checks that gave a rough idea of how the money had been spent. Four hundred

[continued below]

Time and again: there were no "stock certificates" at that time. There were only subscriptions. Repeating a lie does not transform it into truth. Real "stock certificates" were only issued after June 1940, after Works Publishing was incorporated.

Note: "manufacturing" stock certificates for a nonexistent (unincorporated) corporation and selling them is felony securities fraud. Bill Wilson was a self-proclaimed "stock broker" and "stock analyst", so he probably knew full well what kind of a crime securities fraud is...

And yet, in the quote at the top of this web page, from page 171 of the A.A.C.O.A. book, Bill wrote "Our stockholders were already loaded for every share they could take; they had had it."

Oh? They were loaded with what? Well, here, page 187 says, "stock certificates that Henry and I had manufactured."

As our anonymous author has pointed out, there were no stock certificates. Bill Wilson was just making up stories again... There were just "One Hundred Men Corporation" stock subscription forms, which were no more "official" or valuable than the subscription forms that you find in magazines, inviting you to subscribe...

But Bill just kept repeating the same lie. See the second quote down.

page 188:

shares of stock, to be equally divided between Henry and me, had never been issued and could not be issued, under our original agreement, until the cash subscribers had received all their money back. When they heard that the book was making money, some of the cash subscribers, including even Charlie Towns, began to get restless. They wanted to know why all of the profits of the book were being spent to finance a Headquarters for A.A.

Now we come closer to the reason:

Charlie Towns had good reason to be asking why Bill Wilson was spending all of the book income on an A.A. headquarters. That was not part of the original agreement, the stock prospectus, that Bill Wilson claimed that he was honoring here. It was, to put it simply, another crime, felony fraud again: raiding the assets of a corporation. It was cheating the investors, the stockholders, out of the money that was due them, by diverting the profits to another business that was owned by someone else. It's a well-known racket, nothing new, and is definitely against the law. Paying the expenses of another business is a common way to accomplish raiding the assets of a corporation. It doesn't matter whether the second business is a non-profit dedicated to a good cause, it is still felony fraud, cheating the stockholders of the first corporation.

And while we are talking about "the original agreement", whatever happened to the "One Hundred Men Corporation", in which Bill and Hank had actually sold the stock?

page 174:

Among our new prospects a couple of the more prosperous variety had just turned up. Henry went after them, brandishing his pad of Works Publishing stock certificates. They did not want any stock, but they would take promissory notes signed by the defunct publishing company and personally endorsed by Henry and me. Quite unbelievably, Henry extracted $500 from them.

If Henry Parkhurst was brandishing a pad of anything, it would have been a pad of stock subscription forms for The One Hundred Men Corporation.

Also note how Wilson was delighted that Hank managed to get some "prospects" to loan money to a "defunct" company. Isn't that called fraud? Isn't that a felony?

Narcissistic vampires ... boast about how they take advantage of just about everybody.
Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, Albert J. Bernstein, Ph.D., pages 135-136.

Charles Bufe, in Alcoholics Anonymous, Cult or Cure?, took this slant on the subject of the stock:

One indication of their financial irresponsibility can be found in how fast and loose they played with Works Publishing's stock. Lois Wilson flatly states that Honor Dealer's secretary, Ruth Hock, "was paid, when paid at all, with book stock." And Bill and Hank simply issued certificates to pay her (thus devaluing those owned by the Works Publishing investors).

Even if all of this was done in a technically legal manner (which seems highly unlikely), it would have been fair neither to the investors who had put $5000 into Works Publishing to finance publication of the "Big Book," nor to Charles Towns or Agnes who had loaned them money for living expenses. As well, since Bill and Hank apparently never bothered to incorporate Works Publishing, they could well have been guilty of unauthorized sale of securities (the stock), a criminal offense. And by selling stock in a company with no assets, they quite possibly violated the Blue Sky laws, designed to protect investors from fraud.

One indication that Bill and Hank might have known that they were engaging in illegal activity can be found in the afterword of sorts, titled "The Alcoholic Foundation," in the back of the 400 multilithed copies of the "Big Book" produced in January 1939. In it, they mention neither the loans nor the $5000 raised from sale of stock when they touch on the finances of the "Big Book's" publication. Instead of acknowledging the loans and stock sale, they state: "This volume is published by the Works Publishing Company, organized and financed mostly by small donations of our members." Unless they knew (or at least suspected) that their financial dealings were illegal, it's difficult to see why Bill Wilson and Hank P. would have written and published this lie about the finances of Works Publishing.
Alcoholics Anonymous, Cult or Cure?, Charles Bufe, 1998, pages 42-43.

William G. Wilson in 1949

(Bufe seems to have overlooked the detail that Wilson and Parkhurst sold stock in The One Hundred Men Corporation, not Works Publishing. But The One Hundred Men Corporation was never incorporated — it just sort of quietly vanished — so the comments about violations of securities laws still hold true.)

On top of all of this, Bill Wilson stole the copyright of the Big Book when he filed for the copyright, claiming sole authorship of the book, when the book really had at least 50 authors, thus breaking his promise to all of the co-authors that the book would belong to the group. And then Bill blackmailed AAWS into giving him and Dr. Bob royalties for life in trade for that copyright, thus breaking his promise that the profits would go to "The Alcoholic Foundation".

Note that Bill Wilson was not supposed to be getting any royalties, and neither was Dr. Bob. The original deal was that Bill was to be paid $1000 cash to write the opening chapters of the Big Book, just as contract labor, with no royalties to accrue. See the prospectus. (Bill actually got $1558 for the work, and then he seems to have stolen a lot of other money to go with it.) All profits from sales of the book were supposed to go to the stockholders of the One Hundred Men Corporation. But since Bill and Henry Parkhurst each owned 1/3 of the stock in the One Hundred Men Corporation, they were still in a position to benefit handsomely if the book sold a large number of copies. Still, no royalties were supposed to be paid to any of the 32 authors. The royalties were supposed to go to The Alcoholic Foundation. That was the original deal. But Bill changed the deal after he had stolen the copyright and could blackmail the fellowship into giving him more money.

'Supporting Bill Wilson' became the biggest "office expense" of the A.A. headquarters.

Only Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith got any royalties for the Big Book. No other author, not Henry Parkhurst or anyone else, got anything at all. Henry Parkhurst wrote two chapters of the Big Book, "To Employers" and "The Unbeliever", plus the detailed outline for the whole book, while Dr. Bob wrote just one chapter, his own short autobiography, but Henry still got no royalties, not a penny. But he did own 200 shares of "Works Publishing" (or the "100 Men Corporation"), which was one-third of the whole company, shares which would eventually be worth many millions of dollars, when the book sold in large numbers for many years...

Police detectives and investigators have sayings like "Follow the money" and "Who profits?". The French say, "Qui en profite du crime en est coupable," which means, "Whoever profits from the crime is guilty of it."

Henry "Hank" Parkhurst
One biography of Bill Wilson suggested that Henry Parkhurst was responsible for all of the "Works Publishing" (or the "100 Men Corporation") money disappearing. If that is so, how is it that Bill Wilson ended up getting all of the money? There was no doubt in Henrietta Seiberling's mind: Henrietta Seiberling wrote that Bill Wilson took the money. Doctor Bob's daughter Sue Smith said the same thing too — that Bill took the money, and all of the credit for writing the book, for himself.

And, on top of that, Henry Parkhurst ended up getting only $200 for his shares of "Works Publishing" (or the "100 Men Corporation"), because Bill Wilson conned him out of those shares when Henry was drunk and begging for money.

How could Bill Wilson do that to his friend? What happened to "unconditional love"? Or any kind of love? How could Bill Wilson take everything away from his old friend "Hank", strip him down to nothing, and leave him to die drunk and broke? — Which is what happened to Hank.

(Then, to add insult to injury, Bill Wilson collected royalties on Henry Parkhurst's work, like the To Employers chapter, for the rest of his (Bill's) life.)

Hank's resentment was compounded by what he took to be Bill's enrichment at his own expense. Early in 1940, when the Alcoholic Foundation was buying up all shares in Works Publishing Company, Hank refused at first to cooperate. But when he showed up "completely broke and very shaky" at the New York office one day, Bill took advantage of Hank's condition and cajoled him into signing the necessary papers. In return Hank received $200, ostensibly in payment for office furniture.
      This turned out to be a mistake of huge financial proportions — on the same order of folly as Esau's selling his birthright to his brother Jacob for a mess of pottage — for "it was not long after this incident that Bill was granted a royalty on the book, similar to the one that had already been voted for Dr. Bob. While this royalty was at first very modest, it eventually became substantial and provided both Bill and Lois a lifetime income." Understandably, Hank always felt he had been cheated out of "any future share in the book's profits" (PIO, 236).
Bill W. and Mr. Wilson; The Life and Legend of A.A.'s Cofounder, Matthew J. Raphael, pages 137-138.

William Griffith Wilson
Mind you, Henry "Hank" Parkhurst was an old friend. He was the first alcoholic that Bill Wilson recruited in New York City, so he was New York's A.A. Number Two, or Number One, depending on whether you count Bill Wilson. His original date of sobriety was either October or November 1935, so he had been dry in A.A. for four years. Bill and Hank were such close friends that Bill and Lois had moved in with Hank Parkhurst on April 26, 1939, after the bank foreclosed on the 182 Clinton Street house that Lois Wilson's parents used to own. Hank was the friend they turned to when they were homeless.

Did Bill Wilson try to help his old friend Hank when Hank was in trouble? Did Bill try to sober him up, and get him back on track, like they show A.A. members doing for each other in the movies? No, Bill Wilson just took all of Hank's Hundred Men Corporation (or Works Publishing or whatever they called it) publishing company stock away from him for a pittance, and left Hank to die drunk and penniless. Which Henry Parkhurst did. And then Bill complained about how much it bothered him that Hank had relapsed and was gone — that "it was hard to take".

How about how hard it was for Hank to take?
Why is it always all about how Bill Wilson feels?

Bill Wilson really was a piece of work..
What a prima donna Bill was.

Narcissistic vampires believe they are so special that the rules don't apply to them. They expect the red carpet to be rolled out for them wherever they go, and if it isn't, they get quite surly.
      They don't wait, they don't recycle, they don't pay retail, they don't stand in line, they don't clean up after themselves, they don't let other people get in front of them in traffic, and their income taxes rival great works of fiction. Illness and even death is no excuse for other people not immediately jumping up to meet their needs. They aren't the least bit ashamed of using other people and systems for their own personal gain. They boast about how they take advantage of just about everybody.
Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, Albert J. Bernstein, Ph.D., pages 135-136.

Nan Robertson reported in her book, Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous (page 76), that way back in the early days, while Parkhurst and Wilson were writing the Big Book, Henry Parkhurst had written a memo to Bill Wilson, accusing him of trying to become the "Grand Poohbah of Alcoholics Anonymous." Apparently, Bill Wilson didn't take criticism well. His eventual response was to get rid of Henry Parkhurst — to reduce him to nothing. Again we see Bill Wilson's narcissistic personality disorder at work — Wilson just couldn't stand the least little bit of criticism, and he got revenge on those who criticized him.

On another web site, we find a page about Henry Parkhurst and the birth of the Big Book. The story there white-washes Bill's behavior in this way:

But Hank became very hostile toward Bill. Problems developed between them over the way Hank was setting up Works Publishing Co., as a for profit corporation, with himself as President. As a result of the feedback from group members, Bill listed himself as the sole author of the Big Book as a means of counter-balancing this.

There were other problems over money, and over Ruth Hock. Hank wanted to divorce his wife, Kathleen, and marry Ruth, and when Ruth decided to go with Bill when he moved the A.A. office out of Honor Dealers, Hank was furious. Bill paid him $200 for the office furniture (which he claimed he still owned, but which had been purchased from him earlier), in exchange for Hank turning over his stock in Works Publishing, as all the others had done. Hank then went to Cleveland to try to start problems for Bill there.

What a cover-up. Somebody is really spouting the standard party line. These are the facts:

  1. It was Bill Wilson who wanted the book-publishing company to be a for-profit company. He had talked constantly about how their unnamed "group of anonymous alcoholics" had to make some money somehow, by having paid alcoholism-recovery missionaries or something, because Bill was broke. It was Bill who had sold the other alcoholics on the idea of making money off of a book, and then using that money, he said, to finance an Alcoholic Foundation. The other alcoholics were very cool to the idea at first, but Bill eventually convinced them. The other A.A. members elected Hank as President of the corporation, a fact which obviously really irritated Bill.

    Bill Wilson himself wrote about his promotional schemes:

    Dr. Bob very much liked the idea of a book. But when it came to paid missionaries and profit-making hospitals he was frankly dubious. Promoter that I was, I shared few of his fears. I felt that we would have to have money and maybe a lot of it.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 145.

  2. Undoubtedly, there was friction between Henry Parkhurst and Bill Wilson. Both seem to have had dominant alpha-male personalities. But to say that Hank was guilty of autocratic empire-building sounds too much like psychological projection. It was Bill Wilson who ended up being the Czar and High Priest of Alcoholics Anonymous. And it was Bill Wilson who ended up being a dangerous psychopath who sentenced people to an alcoholic death for daring to disagree with his religious proclamations.

  3. To say that Bill listed himself as the sole author of the Big Book to protect the book from Henry Parkhurst is a laugh. That's like saying that Bill Wilson had to steal all of the money to keep Henry Parkhurst from stealing it. What evidence is there that Bill was urged to take sole ownership of the copyright by "group members"? Show me the documentation. And if Bill was being so honest, why did he use a phony company name on the copyright form?

    Big Book Copyright, front side
    Original Big Book copyright certificate, front side.

    Big Book Copyright, back side
    Original Big Book copyright certificate, back side.

    The real evidence is that Bill promised everyone that the book would be owned by the whole group — Bill had to promise that to everybody, repeatedly, to get them to agree to do the book and to write their stories — and then Bill broke that promise. Doctor Bob's daughter, Sue Smith Windows, says that some of the members were very upset by Bill's betrayal, and one of them, the author of "ACE FULL...SEVEN ELEVEN", demanded that his story be removed from the book when he learned of Bill's chicanery.

  4. If Bill had to steal all of the money to keep Hank from getting it, why didn't Bill give it all back after Hank left A.A.? Follow the money. Who profits? Hank died broke; Bill died rich. Bill gave all of the royalties money to himself and Dr. Bob, and then, after the death of Dr. Bob, just to himself. Bill didn't really have to keep all of the money for himself just to keep Hank from getting it, did he? Especially not after Hank had died.

    And remember that Bill Wilson wasn't even supposed to be getting paid any royalties at all. The deal was that he was contract labor, to be paid a flat rate of $1000, for writing the opening chapters of the Big Book. Bill wasn't supposed to get a lifetime income out of it, but that's what he ended up taking for himself.

  5. It says that "Hank then went to Cleveland to try to start problems for Bill there." What does that mean? That Hank went to Cleveland and told Clarence Snyder the truth about what Bill Wilson was doing? Probably.

  6. Doctor Bob's daughter, Sue Smith Windows, wrote in a sworn, notarized statement, that Bill Wilson refused to give Henry Parkhurst credit for writing the To Employers chapter, and also stole the copyright, illegally and fraudulently claiming to be the sole author of the book, when he had, in fact, written very little of it by himself. She also said that Bill took the money that had been raised for printing the Big Book.

  7. Henrietta Seiberling wrote that Bill Wilson took the money, and tried to take the book.

  8. Several of the early A.A. members, including Clarence Snyder, complained about Bill Wilson's financial dishonesty. Bill's henchmen in New York rationalized and covered up his behavior. In a letter to Clarence Snyder from The Alcoholic Foundation, July 7, 1944, the Alcoholic Foundation trustees argued:

    The original agreement stipulated that the 35 cent royalty which would have been paid by a commercial publisher to Wilson be granted [to] The Alcoholic Foundation. This however was changed by Wilson and Parkhurst who in 1940 donated their contingent two thirds interest in Works Publishing to The Alcoholic Foundation. As Mr. Parkhurst had entirely withdrawn as manager of the book enterprise both he and Mr. Wilson thought The Foundation should control the book. Feeling grateful for the part Dr. Smith had taken they stipulated that the royalty payable to The Foundation be turned over to Dr. Smith and his wife Anne, for their lifetime.
    A letter to Clarence Snyder from The Alcoholic Foundation, July 7, 1944, page 2.

    That is just plain old wrong. Bill Wilson was never entitled to any 35 cent royalty. He was not the sole author of the book, or even the principal author. He did not write the book, or even half of the book. That same letter says that more than 50 A.A. members worked on it. Bill Wilson was just hired contract labor, entitled to no royalties. The original agreement said that the authors' royalties would go to the Alcoholic Foundation, and that the publishing company's profits would of course go to the stockholders. Bill couldn't just arbitrarily change that agreement after the fact — not legally — especially not after a lot of company stock had been sold under the original agreement.

    And it didn't matter how "grateful" Mr. Parkhurst and Mr. Wilson felt towards Dr. Smith — they did not have the legal right to give the stockholder's money to Dr. Smith for life. Wilson and Parkhurst didn't own any royalties that they could give to Doctor Bob.

    Furthermore, Henry Parkhurst didn't agree to any of that. He was gone, relapsed, busy dying drunk. Bill Wilson was just putting words into Hank's mouth. (Bill Wilson was once again using the propaganda trick of Hiding Behind Others.)

    The money to Dr. Bob looks suspiciously like a big pay-off for complicity in Bill's crimes. Dr. Bob told the Akron members not to make a fuss about Bill's financial dishonesty — "for the good of the Fellowship" — and then Bill Wilson gave Dr. Bob an income for life. None of the other book co-authors got a penny.

    Doctor Bob's daughter, Sue Smith Windows, wrote:

    Rather than argue with, and possibly embarrass Bill Wilson, my father chose not to expose Bill for his devious ways for the good of the Fellowship.
          One of the authors of a personal story that appeared in the original manuscript (ACE FULL...SEVEN ELEVEN) from Akron asked that his story be removed from the book prior to publication after finding out about Bill's personal financial aspirations from the sale of the book. It was revealed that Bill and Ruth Hock already publicly distributed the multilith manuscript and sold it for $3.50. A part of the approximately 400 copies were not sold. Neither my father's copy nor any of the other copies I have ever seen or heard of had been stamped "Loan Copy," or bore any such similar statement. The relating report in AA Comes of Age (page 165) is fraudulent and dead wrong. Many of the Ohio members were also upset but were told by my father that for the good of the Fellowship not to further hinder publication of the book.
    A notarized statement from Doctor Bob's daughter, Sue Smith Windows

    So after Doctor Bob told the other members not to make a fuss about Bill Wilson's financial dishonesty, Bill cut Doctor Bob in on the stolen money.

    Notice that Sue Smith Windows just declared that Bill Wilson published a multilith (like mimeograph) edition of the Big Book that contained neither a copyright notice nor any statement that it was just a pre-publication "loaner copy". That invalidated the copyright on the Big Book right there. The copyright was forever lost, invalidated, forfeit, and gone. The Big Book went into the public domain right then and there.

  9. If the fight between Henry Parkhurst and Bill Wilson had occurred in a vacuum, with no surrounding circumstances, it might be possible to believe that Bill was honest and noble and Hank was dishonest and underhanded. However, this story did not occur in a vacuum.
    • We have all of the rest of the history of A.A., and the literature of A.A., to go with it.
    • And we have all of the surrounding documentation that refutes Bill's claims, and refutes the A.A. members' apologies for Bill.
    • We have the statements of Doctor Bob's daughter, Sue Smith Windows.
    • We have the statements of Henrietta Seiberling and Clarence Snyder.
    • We have the illegal sale of stock in, and the strange disappearance of, the One Hundred Men Corporation.
    • We have the disappearance of the Big Book publishing fund.
    • We have Bill Wilson taking the copyright of the Big Book for himself, illegally and fraudulently claiming that he was the sole author on the copyright application form.
    • We have Bill Wilson paying himself three times for the same work — writing the opening chapters of the Big Book:
      1. First, Bill was paid $1558 when he was supposed to get $1000 for writing those chapters.
      2. Next, Bill helped himself to the Big Book publishing fund.
      3. And then Bill used the stolen copyright to force the Alcoholic Foundation to pay him royalties for life.
    • We have plenty of evidence of Bill's brain-damaged delusions of grandeur, his arrogant, domineering and manipulative personality, his callous treatment of other people, including his wife Lois, his religious bigotry, his love of Buchmanism and the fascist Oxford Groups, his habitual lying and deceit, his hypocritical philandering, and his eventual self-promotion to the status of High Priest of a religious cult.
    There is very little reason for us to believe that Bill Wilson told the truth about any of the Big Book project.

Works Publishing Stock Certificate.

Note that the people who signed it were Ruth Hock, Secretary/Treasurer, and Herbert Taylor, President. That was the new staff who assumed control of the publishing business after Bill Wilson ran the business into the ground.

This stock certificate was issued on the 20th of July, 1940, which was after Henry Parkhurst had gone, and after Bill Wilson had been removed from management of the business venture because of the disappearance of the publishing fund. And it was also after Bill Wilson had stolen the copyright of the Big Book and registered it in the name of "Works Publishing", which prompted the more honest A.A. members to incorporate a new company called "Works Publishing, Inc.".

A final take on the stock issue: When the publishing venture proved profitable, Bill and "the trustees" asked that the stockholders sell their shares back to Works Publishing for whatever people had paid for them; that is, at no profit. The rationale behind this was that the Alcoholic Foundation wanted to keep all of the stock of the publishing venture "in the family." Meaning: those people who had supported this venture from the very beginning, and trusted this bunch of newly-sober losers, and had given them that last full measure of devotion — all of the money in their wallets — well, those people were not really "family" any more. They didn't rate being allowed to own stock in the publishing company any more, now that the company was actually profitable.

They sure rated in the beginning, when the venture was desperate for cash. They sure rated in the beginning when it was an extremely risky venture, likely to go broke. They sure rated after Bill took and spent all of the money, and the company had to sell more stock to stay in business. But when the book started to sell, and the venture proved profitable, and there was money to be shared, those courageous, generous, early supporters were no longer quite "part of the family", and they were no longer welcome at the table.

Nice, huh?

In the beginning, to get people to buy the stock, the prospectus had bandied about large numbers for the returns that the investors would enjoy for each $25 share purchased:

By June first the subscription would have been returned. Then, if the following sales are reached the profit per share would be:
15,000 volumes first year — per share return after money back $10.00
25,000 30.00
50,000 75.00
100,000 150.00
Although it seems ridiculous, one estimate has been made of half a million volumes within two years time. Should this come, over nine hundred dollars per share would be returned.  

So the potential investors were even teased with the possibility of making $900 from a $25 investment. But when push came to shove, the investors were cheated. They got no share of the profits, none at all.

That is also a kind of stock fraud. How it works is, you sell a bunch of stock shares or stock subscriptions to people, and go into business with the money. If the venture proves profitable, you refuse to share the profits with the stockholders — you cancel the stock issue, and just buy their shares back for whatever they paid for them. On the other hand, if the business venture fails, and goes broke, well then, of course, you never even think about buying back the stock and giving people their money back. You let them take the loss.

It's a "Heads I win, Tails you lose" kind of deal. You make someone else take all of the risk of loss, but they have no chance of sharing in the profits if the venture is a winner.

That kind of stock fraud is also against the law. Again, William G. Wilson was supposedly a "stock broker" and a "securities analyst". He must have known all about that stuff. It was his job to know. That's why the SEC licenses stock brokers — so that brokers have to know what they are doing.

So Bill had to know that such behavior was felony stock fraud, but he did it anyway, and got away with it.

And note that Bill Wilson was again hiding behind other people, masking his true intentions by using The Alcoholic Foundation as a screen. His declarations that The Alcoholic Foundation should own all of the stock of "Works Publishing" sounds innocent enough on the surface, even unselfish and generous, since Bill was even donating "his own stock" (his allotment of stock in the now-defunct and nonexistent "One Hundred Men Corporation", remember?), but it was just another scheme for Bill Wilson to get his hand into the cookie jar yet again (since he was now barred from ever running Works Publishing Inc.):

  • All of the Works Publishing stock went to The Alcoholic Foundation, so The Alcoholic Foundation got all of the profits from the book sales,
  • and then most of the book profits went from The Alcoholic Foundation to Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith; ultimately, mostly to Bill Wilson. "Supporting Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith" was the biggest "office expense" of The Alcoholic Foundation. By 1944, Bill was getting $320 per month, which is $3789 per month in Y2K dollars. Not bad for going to a few meetings and promoting A.A. with a few speeches. And the numbers kept going up. Now they are millions per year.
  • Bill Wilson could blackmail The Alcoholic Foundation into giving him the money, because he had filed for the copyright of the Big Book in his own name, so he owned the copyright, and The Alcoholic Foundation just had to have that copyright to be able to continue publishing the book. And Sue Smith Windows says that her father, Doctor Bob, told the other members not to make a big fuss about Bill's dishonesty because it would hurt the fellowship. That was very understanding of Dr. Bob. Was it just a coincidence that Bill then cut Dr. Bob in on the stolen royalties? (And only Dr. Bob?)

The people who gave up their Works Publishing stock didn't know what the real arrangement would end up being — they were just asked to forego their profits in order to "help The Alcoholic Foundation."

The official A.A. history book PASS IT ON tells this story:

      Now that the book was beginning to sell, some of the subscribers began to demand a share of the profits. There were 49 subscribers. Bill and Hank each held a third of the stock, and Ruth had also received shares, in lieu of pay. Early in 1940, Bill and the trustees decided that the book should belong to A.A., not to the individuals who had subscribed for shares. By issuing some preferred shares, and obtaining a loan from the Rockefellers, they were able to call in all outstanding shares at par value of $25 per share. Most of the stockholders were delighted to come out even; some even donated all or part of the money to the Alcoholic Foundation.
      But Hank resisted all their pleas to turn over his one-third ownership (200 shares) in Works Publishing to the foundation. "One day, completely broke and very shakey, he turned up at the Vesey Street office," said Bill. "He pointed out that most of our office furniture still belonged to him, particularly the huge desk and overstuffed chair."
      That gave Bill an idea. He proposed that the foundation buy the furniture for $200 if Hank would then turn in his Works Publishing stock. After some prodding, Hank finally consented, and signed the necessary papers.
      But he resented Bill's persuading him to turn over his shares. To make matters worse, it was not long after this incident that Bill was granted a royalty on the book, similar to one that had already been voted for Dr. Bob. While this royalty was at first very modest, it eventually became substantial and provided both Bill and Lois a lifetime income.
      Hank's son said that Hank always felt that he had been treated badly. He thought Bill made a deal with the foundation that excluded Hank from any future share in the book's profits. What clouds the entire issue is the fact that Hank's drinking had put a wall between Hank and many of the members who eventually supported royalty payments for Bill.
'PASS IT ON', The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. staff, 1984, pages 235-236.

So Hank didn't get paid for his work because he went out and got drunk? That wasn't in the contract.

Note that "Early in 1940, Bill and the trustees decided that the book should belong to A.A., not to the individuals who had subscribed for shares."
Bill and "the trustees" had no right to make any such decision. They didn't own the book; the stockholders did. The book and the publishing company already belonged to the stockholders, including Henry Parkhurst. The Alcoholic Foundation had already promised the profits to the stock subscribers, to get them to buy the stock in the first place. Changing the deal later and giving the profits to someone else, like Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob, was fraud — cheating the stockholders out of the money that was owed to them.

It is easy to understand how Henry Parkhurst felt that it looked bad that shortly after he was cheated out of any and all dividends and royalties from the book, Bill Wilson was given an income for life.

It's easy to see how Henrietta Seiberling could write that she was fed up with Bill Wilson and his schemes.

By the way, what did Ruth Hock finally get for her "stock certificates"? (They would be worth millions now.) We know that Bill Wilson conned Henry Parkhurst out of his share of the stock, giving Henry $200 for some furniture and the stock certificates1, but what payment did Ruth Hock get for her shares, finally? Was she asked to just hand over her pay for all of that work, "for the good of the fellowship", and get nothing in return? Apparently so. There is no record of her ever getting paid real money.

So in the end, Bill Wilson got all of the book royalties, all of the money, all of the fame and glory, all of the women, and a big house in the country and a Cadillac car to drive around in. The other A.A. members got nothing.

"Putting Something Over"

Pulling the wool over someone's eyes and putting something over on someone describe the behaviors of conniving, manipulative, destructive narcissists. These people are dedicated to taking advantage of others in any way possible in their search for reassurance of their superiority. They revel in their successes and can become very angry and hurt if you suggest that there is anything wrong in the tactics they use to achieve their goals. They, of course, can do no wrong, and if they use what you are terming as unfair tactics, it is only because that is what everyone else is doing, and therefore they are justified in using these tactics.
Loving the Self-Absorbed: How to Create a More Satisfying Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner, Nina W. Brown, Ed.D., LPC, NCC, page 120.

A final note: Now, perhaps, we know a few of the real reasons why the trustees of AAWS (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.) and the GSO (General Services Organization) keep so many of the historical documents and records of A.A. locked up and hidden, and unavailable to any historian, scholar, curious member, or bothersome critic... The real history of A.A. is pretty sordid... And the real story of Bill Wilson is simply outrageous.

It is no wonder that the Hazelden "autobiography" of Bill Wilson says:

There will be future historical revelations about Bill's character and behavior in recovery that will be interpreted, by some, as direct attacks on the very foundation of AA.
Bill W., My First 40 Years, "William G. Wilson" (posthumously ghost-written by Hazelden staff), Hazelden, 2000, page 170.

But we still haven't seen those revelations, after all these years. What could they still be hiding in those sealed archives, that we haven't already figured out?

Now, finally, is this really the kind of organization that we want judges, parole officers, "therapists" and "counselors" to force people to join?

See Henrietta Seiberling's opinion of Bill Wilson.

Also see GSC51 (pdf) == AA GS Conference report from 1950, where Bill Wilson helped himself to even more money. See a discussion of this document here.

And Randy had some good comments, too.


1) Bill W. and Mr. Wilson, The Legend and Life of A.A.'s Cofounder   Matthew J. Raphael, 2000, pages 137-138.


The Stock Prospectus for the 100 Men Corporation

The copyright of the "Big Book" Alcoholics Anonymous, where Bill Wilson fraudulently claimed to be the sole author of the book, as well as owner of a sole proprietorship publishing company, "Wm. G. Wilson, trading as Works Publishing Co.".

Works Publishing Financial Statement, June 1940.

Bill Wilson's Last Will and Testament, leaving ten percent of his estate to his favorite mistress, Helen Wynn, and the other ninety percent to his wife Lois.

Lois Wilson's Last Will and Testament, where the royalty money for all of Bill's books leaves the A.A. fellowship forever.

Original Works Publishing Company name change document, page 1.
Note that this is the legal document for changing the name of "Works Publishing Inc." to "Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing, Inc.". There is no documentation for the name change from "One Hundred Men Corporation" to "Works Publishing Inc.".
Original Works Publishing Company name change document, page 2.
Original Works Publishing Company name change document, page 3.

Bill Wilson's royalty agreement of 1963 with A.A.W.S., Inc.

Bill's 1941 Memo (PDF) about bringing more money into the A.A. headquarters.

Cleveland, 1944: Clarence Snyder's objections

Henrietta Seiberling's letter. — a history of the Big Book. This is a good history in a lot of ways, and has a lot of good facts and details, but is a sanitized version of the history — it was written by faithful believers — and it does not mention a single negative fact, and it has a rationalization for everything wrong.
See the April dates of importance in AA History list.
April 26, 1939: Bill and Lois move in with Hank Parkhurst after bank forecloses on 182 Clinton Street.
April 11, 1941: Bill and Lois finally found a home, Stepping Stones.
(They lived in many other places between those two events.)

The Little Red Book     Hazelden staff
Hazelden Foundation, Center City, Minnesota, 1957, 1986.
ISBN: 0-89486-004-6
Dewey: 362.2928 L778 1986
This book is actually just what it sounds like: a clone of the Communist The Little Red Book of Chairman Mao. This Little Red Book is full of slogans and instructions for the faithful A.A. party member, like instructions to use the police and judges to force more people into Alcoholics Anonymous.

Bill W.     Robert Thomsen
Harper & Rowe, New York, 1975.
ISBN: 0-06-014267-7
Dewey: 362.29 W112t
This is a good biography of William G. Wilson, even if it is very positively slanted towards Mr. Wilson, because the author knew Mr. Wilson and worked beside him for the last 12 years of Mr. Wilson's life. And rumor has it that this book was prepared from autobiographical tapes that Bill Wilson made before he died. So expect it to praise Mr. Wilson a lot. Still, this book will also tell you about some of Bill Wilson's warts, his fat ego, his publicity-hound behavior, and his years-long "dry drunks"...

Bill W. My First 40 Years     "An Autobiography By The Cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous"
(This is allegedly Bill Wilson's autobiography, supposedly published anonymously, but really written by Hazelden Foundation staff, and clearly attributed to Bill Wilson.)
Hazelden, Center City, Minnesota 55012-0176, 2000.
ISBN: 1-56838-373-8
Dewey: B W11w 2000
This book was reputedly assembled by ghost writers at Hazelden from the same set of autobiographical tapes of Bill Wilson that Robert Thomsen used for his book.

Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson     Francis Hartigan
Thomas Dunne Books, An imprint of St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, 2000.
ISBN: 0-312-20056-0
Dewey: B W11h 2000
Francis Hartigan was the secretary of and confidant to Bill Wilson's wife Lois. This book is pretty much a white-wash and tells the whole story from Bill's point of view. But it does contain a few surprises, like the chapter "The Other Woman" which details Bill's love affair with Helen Wynn, and hints at all of his other affairs where he cheated on Lois, both before and after sobriety, all of his married life.
      Note the interesting fact that Lois Wilson had her own private secretary. That doesn't quite jibe with the published image of Bill and Lois as a couple of desperately poor people who were always struggling just to survive. The A.A. propagandists fail to tell you that Bill Wilson managed to arrange A.A. finances so that he and Lois lived like royalty in their A.A.-supplied house, while driving an A.A.-supplied Cadillac car and being supported in comfort for the rest of their lives by the Alcoholics Anonymous organization, with private secretaries and mistresses, even. So much for the much-ballyhooed "unselfish, constructive action", "abandoning self-seeking", and "no thought of the profit motive" that Wilson always promoted (for others).

Bill W. and Mr. Wilson — The Legend and Life of A.A.'s Cofounder     Matthew J. Raphael
University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, Mass., 2000.
ISBN: 1-55849-245-3
Dewey: B W11r 2000
This book was written by another stepper — the name "Matthew Raphael" is a pen name — and it generally praises Bill Wilson and recites the party line about most things, but it also contains a bunch of surprises, like detailing Bill's sexual infidelities, his and Bob's spook sessions — talking to the 'spirits' in seances through the use of Ouija boards, spirit rapping, clairvoyance, and levitation — LSD use, and publicity-hound megalomania.

The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous     Dick B.
Paradise Research Publications, Inc., Box 959, Kihei, Maui, HI 96753-0959, 1992, 1998.
ISBN: 1-885803-17-6
Dewey: 362.2928 B111a 1998
See Dick's web site at:
He has a good selection of books about the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Also see more history at:

Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age     "anonymous", really Bill Wilson
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1957, 1986.
Harper, New York, 1957.
ISBN: 0-91-685602-X
LC: HV5278 .A78A4
Dewey: 178.1 A1c
This is Bill Wilson's version of the history of Alcoholics Anonymous. It suspiciously differs from known history here and there.

'PASS IT ON'; The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world     "anonymous", really A.A.W.S. staff
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1984.
ISBN: 0-916856-12-7
LC: HV5032 .W19P37x 1984
LCCN: 84-072766
Dewey: 362.29/286/O92
This is the official, council-approved version of the history of A.A.. Strangely enough, there is some very interesting stuff in here, including chapter 16, which describes Bill's spook sessions and seances, talking with the spirits of the dead, and communicating with spirits through spirit rapping and the Ouija board. See pages 275 to 285.

Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure?     Charles Bufe, 1998.
See Sharp Press, PO Box 1731, Tucson AZ 85702-1731
ISBN: 1-884365-12-4
Dewey: 362.29286 B929a 1998
(This is the second edition; it has noticeably more information than the first edition. The first edition is: ISBN: 0-9613289-3-2, printed in 1991.)
This book is now free on the Internet, at:

Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous     Ernest Kurtz
Hazelden Educational Foundation, Center City, MN, 1979.
ISBN: 0-899-486065-8 or ISBN: 0-89486-065-8 (pbk.)
LC: HV5278
LCCN: 79-88264
Dewey: 362.2/9286 or 362.29286 K87 1979
This is a very pro-A.A., toe-the-party-line history of Alcoholics Anonymous, but it is still a valuable resource for a wealth of historical facts and details.

Narcissism, Denial of the True Self     Alexander Lowen, M.D.
Macmillan Publishing Comany, New York, 1983, and
Collier Macmillan Publishers, London, 1983.
ISBN: 0-02-575890-X
LC: RC553.N36L38 1983
LCCN: 83-18794
This is a great book, a real classic. Dr. Lowen advances the idea that narcissism is not falling in love with one's self, but rather with a false image of one's self. That small subtle difference actually makes a very large difference. In the original Greek mythology, Narcissus died — starved to death — because he was obsessed with his own image and stared at it endlessly. But as Narcissus approached death, his real emaciated appearance could not have been very attractive. Narcissus was seeing an illusion, not his true appearance.
      Dr. Lowen advances the idea that narcissism is often caused by child abuse and prolonged humiliation and pain in childhood. The child adopts a persona where he feels no pain and is powerful and invulnerable. The child thinks, "When I grow up, I'll be so powerful and strong that no one can hurt me or humiliate me ever again." Then the child, who grows into adulthood, spends the rest of his life pursuing and defending an illusion. Narcissists are obsessed with defending and preserving their image — they can't stand it if somebody "makes them look bad" — they can't stand criticism. They deny their true feelings and put on a mask of unfeeling, because they imagine that it will keep them from being hurt again. Likewise, they completely disregard other people's feelings. They are obsessed with power and control, so that they can control the world around them and prevent anyone from humiliating them again. Narcissists are often extremely seductive and manipulative people, often charismatic charmers, and occasionally high achievers as well. They lie habitually, without giving it a second thought. They fear insanity.
      In other words, Dr. Lowen was describing Bill Wilson, the abused son of an alcoholic father and a neurotic mother.

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