Dr. Bob and A.A.
(Robert Holbrook Smith and Alcoholics Anonymous)

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"How well do you know GOD?"

Alcoholics Anonymous History

A new Dick B. website

Dr. Bob and A.A. (Robert Holbrook Smith and Alcoholics Anonymous) by Dick B. focuses on A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob—emphasizing his role in Akron in helping more than 5,000 alcoholics recover and his strongly-Christian upbringing in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

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 with God.

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!


Here’s what you will find on this website now and as time rolls on:

  1. Details 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 Steppers.”
  2. 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 the Healer.
  3. 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.
  4. A synopsis of, and 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, conversions, Gospel meetings, required Daily Chapel, training and activities at St. Johnsbury Academy, and about Dr. Bob’s parents, explaining the activities of Judge and Mrs. Walter Smith, and the Smith family’s exposure to Christian revivals, evangelists, conversions, YMCA outreach, and Christian meetings in the town.
  5. Join us in funding our important new A.A. history outreach – which 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.
  6. You’ll be able to learn the new information about Bill Wilson’s Christian up-bringing at the East Congregational Church in East Dorset, his grandfather Willie’s conversion experience in East Dorset, and his (Bill W.’s own) Bible study, Sunday School days, revival and temperance experiences and required daily Chapel attendance.
  7. Direct links to Dick B.’s other websites, and sites with audio blogs, podcasts, and radio talks.
  8. Direct links to those A.A. History Sites that freely provide accurate A.A. facts and history

Contact: Dick B.
PO Box 837
Kihei, HI 96753-0837
(808) 874-4876

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:

  1. Abstaining from substance abuse and the temptation to become involved.
  2. Relying on the power of the Creator for strength, guidance, and healing.
  3. 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.

Article One

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, Alcoholics Anonymous.

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 A.A. pioneers.

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.

Gloria Deo


+ Last updated:
April 17, 2015

Dr. Bob
Alcoholics Anonymous
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Dr. Bob Smith
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Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous

His Excellent Training in the Good Book
as a Youngster
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