Dr. Bob and A.A.
(Robert Holbrook Smith and Alcoholics Anonymous)
by Dick B.
Robert Holbrook Smith, M.D.
Cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous
“The Prince of All Twelfth Steppers”
Dr. Bob and A.A. (Robert Holbrook Smith and Alcoholics Anonymous). We start with A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob’s
boyhood years in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and the home in which was born on 297 Summer Street in St. Johnsbury.
Here you will find ongoing research, facts, and references pertaining to the Alcoholics Anonymous role of
Robert Holbrook Smith (affectionately known in the A.A. Fellowship and A.A. Groups and Meetings as “Dr. Bob.”
Dr. Bob’s youth in Vermont is filled with Christian education, Christian activities, and Christian practices
and principles. In St. Johnsbury, Vermont, Dr. Bob received what he called “excellent training” in
Christianity, the Bible, prayer, and meditation. Training by his parents—Judge and Mrs. Walter P. Smith—,
the North St. Johnsbury Congregational Church, its Sunday School, its Christian Endeavor Society, New England
Congregationalism, Revivals and evangelists, the YMCA, the St. Johnsbury Academy, and a community peopled by
citizens awakening to the need to bring people to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We’ll provide the
facts, the history, the research, and the resources so that you too can know the major religious role
Dr. Robert H. Smith played in the recovery movement and in A.A., anonymous fellowships, and 12 Step recovery
today. The site will frequently be updated and contains Christian links, archives, literature, Bible
resources, recovery resources, and factors that enable you to achieve the cure of alcoholism by the power of
God. Early AAs had a documented 75% to 93% success rate among seemingly hopeless, medically incurable, real
alcoholics who thoroughly followed the early A.A, spiritual recovery program and its path to a relationship
Dr. Bob of A. A.
Robert Holbrook Smith, M.D.
Cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous
"Prince of All Twelfth Steppers"
This Web Site Will
Tell you about the man who met Bill Wilson in 1935; proceeded with Bill to love and serve
(work with) others;
develop a program of basic ideas from the Bible; and lead the early A.A. pioneer fellowship in Akron--“Akron Group Number One,”--to cure of alcoholism by the power of God with a
claimed 75% success rate among “seemingly-hopeless,” “medically-incurable,”
“real” alcoholics. These were the A.A. pioneers in the original program (1935 to 1938) who thoroughly followed the path to a
relationship with God; learned and practiced the cardinal Christian principles of the “Good Book;” and widely proclaimed for the
first decade that they had been cured of alcoholism’s destructive curse by the power of God.
We join in the statement of Dr. Bob’s recently-deceased son “Smitty” that he wanted to restore the history
about his father and mother (Dr. Bob and Anne Smith) before it is too late. And—with alcoholism—“too late”
means at the cost of thousands of lives which could be saved—even today!
you will find on this website now and as time rolls on:
about Dick B.’s three, new forthcoming titles—The
Dr. Bob History Resource Volumes, Dr. Bob and Alcoholics Anonymous, and the Biography of Dr. Bob: “Prince of Twelfth
Recommended existing factually accurate and informative titles about Dr.
Bob—DR. BOB and the Good Old Timers;
RHS—the Grapevine Memorial on
Bob’s death; Dr. Bob and His Library,
3rd ed.; Anne Smith’s Journal,
1933-1939, 3rd ed.;
The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous,
Bob Smith and Sue Windows Children of
Cross-links and references to Dick B. talks and articles about Dr. Bob, Anne
Smith, and the original pioneer program developed in Akron between 1935 and
1938, and as it was detailed by Frank Amos to John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
- A synopsis
companion title explaining the organized details about Dr. Bob’s birth, Christian up-bringing,
Congregational Church, Sunday School, Bible studies, Prayer meetings,
Christian Endeavor activities,
Gospel meetings, required Daily Chapel, training and activities at St.
Johnsbury Academy, and about Dr. Bob’s parents,
the activities of Judge and
Mrs. Walter Smith,
and the Smith
family’s exposure to Christian revivals, evangelists,
YMCA outreach, and Christian meetings in the town.
Join us in funding
our important new A.A. history outreach
will add enormous quantities, strength, and value to the history
treasures already donated to, and located at the Griffith Library at the
Wilson House, not far away in East Dorset, Vermont—in fact, conveniently close to the home in which
Dr. Bob was born at 297 Summer Street in St. Johnsbury.
You’ll be able to
learn the new information about Bill Wilson’s Christian up-bringing at the
East Congregational Church in East Dorset,
grandfather Willie’s conversion experience in East Dorset, and his
own) Bible study, Sunday
revival and temperance experiences and required daily Chapel attendance.
links to Dick B.’s other websites, and sites with audio blogs, podcasts, and
links to those A.A. History Sites that freely provide accurate A.A. facts
Contact: Dick B.
PO Box 837
Kihei, HI 96753-0837
Join those who want to learn, study, support, and broadcast the news that
the program of early A.A.—derived largely from the ideas Dr. Bob learned as
a youngster—can provide a three-fold blessing to all those who still suffer:
- Abstaining from substance abuse and the temptation to become involved.
Relying on the power of the Creator for strength, guidance, and healing.
Giving that very message to the newcomer who faces death, insanity, or jail
if he or she continues on the self-destructive and seemingly insane path
that goes with a deadly addiction.
A.A. and Its Cofounder, Dr. Bob
It’s Time to Remember Again That
A.A. Had Two Founders
“Between 1940 and 1950, . . .
he [Dr. Bob] had treated 5,000 drunks at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron. . . .
So Dr. Bob became the prince of all twelfth-steppers. Perhaps nobody will
ever do such a job again.”
Bill W., The
Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, 34.
By Dick B.
© 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved.
Founders Day in Akron Is Around the Corner in 2012
Thousands of AAs and others
will soon gather in Akron, Ohio, to celebrate the founding there of
Alcoholics Anonymous in June of 1935. Hundreds of motorcycle riders will
pound down the streets on their way to the graveside of A.A. cofounder Dr.
Robert Holbrook Smith (Dr. Bob) and his wife, Anne Ripley Smith (rightly
called the “Mother of A.A.” by cofounder Bill Wilson.)
Hordes will pour into Dr.
Bob’s Home at 855 Ardmore Avenue—“where it all began.” (See Dick B., The
Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous.) They will see where Bill W. and
Dr. Bob met together night after night until the wee hours of the morning
over the summer of 1935 developing the program of recovery that became
Alcoholics Anonymous. They will see where Dr. Bob got sober after previously
turning to God in prayer for deliverance. They will see where Anne Smith
read from her chair in the corner of the living room each morning. Where she
read the Bible to Dr. Bob and Bill each day. Where she continued for years
thereafter to gather AAs and their families at the Smith home for morning
Quiet Time where she shared from her personal journal. (See Dick B., Anne
Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939.) Where she led the group each day in prayer,
Quiet Time, and Bible study. And where the AAs and their families often used
devotionals like The Upper Room, The Runner’s Bible, and My
Utmost for His Highest.
Documented history confirms
that the Book of James was the favorite book in the Akron A.A. “Christian
fellowship” for Bible study. So much so, that the Akron AAs had been assured
their Society and its forthcoming book would be called “The James Club.”
(See Dick B., The James Club and the Original A.A. Program’s Absolute
Essentials). A promise that gave way to the book’s eventual name,
Visitors to Dr. Bob’s Home
will also see about half of the immense library of books that Dr. Bob owned,
read, studied, and circulated. That portion was donated to Dr. Bob’s Home by
his son, Robert R. Smith. (See Dick B., Dr. Bob and His Library.) The
books that Dr. Bob owned were foundational in the extensive reading by the
Persistent admirers will also
take in other memorable locations—so very important to those who perceive
the importance of the “old-school” Akron program to the founding, growth,
and success of present-day A.A. They will drive past the T. Henry Williams
Home on Palisades Drive—where the original, “regular” Wednesday night
meetings were held. They will drive to and can now enter the Gate Lodge
located at the foot of the huge Seiberling Estate grounds. For it was there
that Henrietta Buckler Seiberling lived with her three children when she
introduced Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob to each other, after which occurred a
six-hour discussion that sealed the friendship and launched the Society.
(See Dick B., Henrietta B. Seiberling: Ohio’s Lady with a Cause.)
They may visit the gravesite. They may visit what used to be St. Thomas
Hospital where, in the 1940’s, Dr. Bob and Sister Ignatia helped 5,000
drunks recover. (See Mary C. Darrah, Sister Ignatia: Angel of Alcoholics
Anonymous). And they make take in the Akron A.A. Intergroup office where
still more important memorabilia and books can be seen.
All this temporal focus on
Akron once a year while there is an incessant outpouring of autobiographies,
writings, and comments by Bill W.; an incessant outpouring of films, TV
specials, and biographies of Bill Wilson; and an almost universal A.A.
recognition of the name Bill W.—while many do not know who Dr. Bob is, or
what role he played in the founding of A.A.
Now, there is a great deal of
information available which can make the Dr. Bob picture a live one. And we
will discuss this in the next article.
+ Last updated:
April 17, 2015
Dr. Bob Smith
Cofounder of A.A.
Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous
His Excellent Training in the Good Book
as a Youngster
from Chapters of
New Resource Title on
Be a Part of Something Great –
To the Glory of God
The Dr. Bob Core Library
Inventory at North Congregational Church,
St. Johnsbury, Vermont