AA History Collection – The Dick B/Shoemaker Papers

The Dick B. Shoemaker/A.A. Collection
The Archival Notes of Dr. Jared Lobdell

[A major portion of the Dick B. Shoemaker Collection was gathered together as described in the Dick B. comments below. Then, with the help of benefactors, it was given into the temporary custody of Ray Grumney, Archivist at Dr. Bob’s Home in Akron. Then it was turned over to Dr. Karen A. Plavan, Professor in Pittsburgh, who arranged for its deposit and present location in the “Shoemaker Room” at Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh. Placed there, with the permission of The Rev. Dr. Harold Lewis, Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh]

Except for the comments of Dick B. and the correction of errata, this paper was written by Dr. Jared Lobdell as an Archival Note – the following:

Archival Note I: The Dick B. Shoemaker/A.A. Collection
Our next contribution provides a brief look at an archival collection (not well known and recently relocated) which can supplement materials at Brown. We hope in subsequent issues to note other collections useful or adjunct to A.A. history, especially church-related collections.

[Comment by Dick B. in February, 2012:

Over many years of travels, investigations, interviews, visits, acquisitions, and research, my son Ken and I gathered the Shoemaker books, articles, pamphlets, Evangel issues, sermons, correspondence, news articles, pictures, tapes, and other paper from all over the United States.

Examples and their sources are materials from (1) Hartford Seminary, (2) Calvary Episcopal Church in New York, (3) St George’s Parish in New York, (4) Princeton Alumni Archives, (5) interviews of the leaders of The Pittsburgh Experiment, (6) interviews of the “golf club crowd” in Pittsburgh, (7) Calvary Episcopal Church archives in Pittsburgh, (8) interviews of friends of Sam Shoemaker in Pittsburgh, and the church archivist in Pittsburgh, (9) the Vicar of Calvary Church in New York, (10) the Rector of Calvary/St/ George’s Parish in New York, (11) Mrs. W. Irving Harris who turned over her entire Shoemaker collection to me, (12) Shoemaker’s older daughter Sally Shoemaker Robinson, (13) Shoemaker’s younger daughter Nickie Shoemaker Haggart, (14) L. Parks Shipley, Sr., (14) Rev. Harry Almond, (15) the personal journals of Sam Shoemaker, (16) comparative personal journal entries in the journal of James Draper Newton, (17) Episcopal Church Archives in Austin, Texas, (18) the library of James D. and Eleanor Forde Newton, (19) the library of George Vondermuhll, Jr., (20) the library of T. Willard Hunter, (21) Richard Ruffin, Executive Director of MRA, (22) the national headquarters of Moral Re-Armament in Washington, D.C., (23) interviews of Rev. Paul Everett, son in law of Norman Vincent Peale, and a former director of The Pittsburgh Experiment, (24) interview of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, (25) Shoemaker books and papers owned by Dennis Cassidy of Connecticut, (26) Shoemaker books and papers owned by Danny Whitmore of California, (27) interview and books from Dr. Morris Martin of the Oxford Group, who was personal secretary to Dr. Frank Buchman, (28) articles by Shoemaker in the A.A. Grapevine, (29) Faith at Work, (30) Shoemaker correspondence and papers located at Stepping Stones Archives, (31) Interviews, calls, and communications with British Oxford Group authors and activists—(a) Garth Lean, (b) Kenneth Belden, (c) Kenneth Belden’s son, (d) Michael Hutchinson, and (e) Several other British Oxford Group authors, (32) Shoemaker books, articles, pamphlets, photos and papers purchased by me or given to me by others, (33) listening to Shoemaker tapes, (4) Writings and exchanges between Shoemaker and Wilson, (34) the work of a doctoral candidate at St. Louis University, (35) the work of a doctoral candidate at Princeton University, (36) a large number of Oxford Group and other writings about Shoemaker.]

[Dr. Lobdell’s archival note continues: This note is based on a communication
from Dick B. as edited.

1. New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker,
and A.A. 2d ed Dick B.
This is Dick B.’s book on Shoemaker, his writings,
and his relationship with Bill Wilson and
Alcoholics Anonymous. There are useful appendices
and an extensive bibliography.

2. Other Titles by Dick B. pertaining to Rev.
Sam Shoemaker and A.A.
Dr. Bob and His Library, 3rd ed.
Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939
The Books Early A.A.s Read for Spiritual
Growth, 7th ed.
Good Morning: Quiet Time, Morning Watch,
Meditation and Early A.A.
The Oxford Group and Alcoholics
The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous
Making Known the Biblical History and
Roots of A.A.

3. Books written by Sam Shoemaker with date
published – fuller bibliographical description
in New Light on Alcoholism
A Young Man’s View of the Ministry, 1923
Beginning Your Ministry, 1963 (with jacket)
By the Power of God, 1954 (inscribed by
SHS, with jacket)
Calvary Church Yesterday and Today, 1936
Children of the Second Birth, 1927
Christ and This Crisis, 1943
Christ’s Words from the Cross, 1933
Confident Faith, 1932
Extraordinary Living for Ordinary Men,
1965 (with jacket)
Freedom and Faith, 1949
God’s Control, 1939 (with jacket)
How to Become a Christian, 1953
(with jacket)
How You Can Find Happiness, 1947
(with jacket)
How You Can Help Other People, 1946
(with jacket)
If I Be Lifted Up, 1931 (with jacket)
Living Your Life Today, 1947 (with jacket)
National Awakening, 1936 (with jacket)
One Boy’s Influence, 1925
Realizing Religion, 1921
Religion That Works, 1928
Revive Thy Church, 1948 (inscribed by SHS)
Sam Shoemaker at His Best, 1964
Steps of a Modern Disciple, 1972
The Church Alive, 1950 (with jacket)
The Church Can Save the World, 1938
The Conversion of the Church, 1932
(inscribed by SHS)
The Experiment of Faith, 1957 (with jacket)
The Gospel According to You, 1934
They’re on the Way, 1951 (with jacket)
Twice-Born Ministers, 1929
Under New Management, 1966
With the Holy Spirit and with Fire, 1960
(with jacket)

4. Important articles and pamphlets by
Act As If, October, 1954
A First Century Christian Fellowship:
A Defense of So-called Buchmanism by
One of Its Leaders, 1928
God and America, Gramercy Park, n.d.
How to Find God, 1957
Lord, Teach Us to Pray, 1977
Morning Radio Talk No. 1, 1945
My Life Work and My Will, circa 1930
Power to Become, 1944
The Breadth and Narrowness of the Gospel,
1929 (fragment)
The Way to Find God, 1935
Creative Relationships, 1946
Calvary Mission, n.d.
What the Church Has to Learn From
Alcoholics Anonymous, 1956

5. Symposia edited by, and with chapters or
material by Shoemaker
Faith at Work. NY: Hawthorne Books, 1958
Together. NY: Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1956
The Centennial History of Calvary Episcopal
Church Pittsburgh, 1955
The Guideposts Trilogy. NY: Guideposts
Associates, 1962
Steps to a New Beginning. TN: Thomas
Nelson Publishers, 1993
Get Going Through Small Groups. NY:
Guideposts, n.d.
Marriage is for Living. MI: Zondervan, 1968

6. Shoemaker articles on the A.A. Program
And so from my heart I say, Sept. 1948
The Spiritual Angle, October, 1955
The Spiritual Path of A.A., n.d.
The Twelve Steps of A.A., 1953
Those Twelve Steps as I Understand Them,
12 Steps to Power, 1983

7. Sam Shoemaker papers specifically
collected and copied by Dick B.

(a) Selected pages from the personal diary of
Rev. Sam Shoemaker for 1931, which discuss
the Firestone/Oxford Group/A.A. events
– 18 pages
(b) Selected pages from the personal diary of
Rev. Sam Shoemaker for 1935, which specifically
mention Bill Wilson and otherCalvary Church and Oxford Group leaders of
the period – 16 pages
(c) Morning Radio Talk by the Rev. Samuel
M. Shoemaker (Transcript): “Gems for
Thought,” a presentation of the American
Broadcasting Company Thursday, October 4,
1945 from 8:55 to 9:00 A.M., Eastern Standard
Time. Located by Dick B. in the
Princeton University Alumni Archives and
copied with permission
(d) A list of books and pamphlets by Oxford
Group writers and by Rev. Sam Shoemaker
and in the Calvary Evangel

8. Biographies of and biographical titles about
Sam Shoemaker
I Stand By the Door, by Helen Smith
Shoemaker, Wordbooks, 1967
The Breeze of the Spirit, by W. Irving Harris,
Seabury Press, 1978
And Thy Neighbor. . . , by Cecile Cox Offill,
Wordbooks, 1967

9 Calvary Church in Action, by John Potter
Cuyler, Jr. Fleming Revell, 1934
Kairos: Moments Remembered, by Griffin C.
Callahan, WV: 1999
Taking the Gospel to the Point: Evangelicals
in Pittsburgh and the Origins of the
Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation, by
Michael J. Sider, n.d.
Sam Shoemaker’s Theological Influence,
Ph.D. dissertation by Charles Knippel
No Outside Enterprises. Ph.D. dissertation
by Randolph G. Aitkins

9. Titles by Helen Smith Shoemaker (wife of
Rev. Sam Shoemaker)
The Secret of Effective Prayer
Prayer and Evangelism
Power Through Prayer Groups
Prayer and You

10. Bankers Box containing relevant magazines,
news articles, correspondence, interview
notes, personal journal copies, and
manuscripts pertaining to Sam Shoemaker
and A.A.
(1) Shoemaker’s grandson, Ben Rea – 2
(2) Shoemaker’s older daughter, Sally
Robinson – 1 page
(3) Shoemaker’s wife, Helen Smith Shoemaker
– 3 pages
(4) Mrs. W. Irving (Julia) Harris, who lived
in Calvary House, helped her husband,
Shoemaker, and Bill Wilson – resource – 19
(5) Episcopal Church Archives in Austin,
Texas: 230 items selected from 52 boxes of
Shoemaker correspondence, booklets, “materials
examined and copied with approval.”
(6) Calvary Evangel – recommended books
and articles – 8 pages
(7) Pittsburgh Experiment literature and
news articles – 20 pages
(8) Calvary Mission, first anniversary pamphlet
– 8 pages
(9) Calvary Evangel Articles by Rev. W.
Irving Harris – 5 issues
(10) Writings of Rev. W. Irving Harris,
Shoemaker’s assistant minister, Evangel
editor, and resident of Calvary House during
the 1930s. Wrote Shoemaker biography – 53
(11) Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation
literature and news
(12) Calvary Evangel articles by Shoemaker
– 8 issues, plus 16 page article on Calvary
(13) “Act as If” article by Shoemaker
(14) Four often-reprinted sermons delivered
by Shoemaker at Calvary Church, Pittsburgh
– 15 pages
(15) Princeton University Alumni Archives
on Shoemaker
(16) Article – “What the Church has to Learn
from Alcoholics Anonymous” by Shoemaker
(17) Six important articles and papers by
Shoemaker: (a) “The Way to Find God;” (b)
“Calvary Mission;” (c) Transcript of Bill
Wilson’s talk at A.A.’s 20th Anniversary
dinner as transcribed by Shoemaker; (d) “A
First Century Christian Fellowship;” (e) “My
Life’s Work and Will;” (f) “Lord, Teach us to
Pray.” – 60 pages in all.
(18) Transcript of Sam Shoemaker’s address
to A.A.’s International Convention at Long
Beach, California – original and edited 12
pages in all.
(19) Shoemaker’s 6 articles on Alcoholics
Anonymous and its Twelve Steps: (a)
“Twelve Steps to Power;” (b) “Those Twelve
Steps as I understand them;” (c) “And so
from my heart I say;” (d) “The Twelve Steps
of A.A.;” (e) “Power to Become;” (f) “The
Spiritual Angle.” – 19 pages in all
(20) Several special Oxford Group materials
from Episcopal Church Archives, copied
with permission – (a) Loudon Hamilton’s
article on Some Basic Principles of Christian
Work; (b) Wilfrid Holmes-Walker’s article
on “The New Enlistment;” (c) Bishop
Carey’s article on “The Group System and
the Catholic Church;” (d) Henry B. Wright’s
article on “Secret Prayer;” (e) Loudon
Hamilton’s description of A First Century
Christian Fellowship – the Oxford Group; (f)
Victor C. Kitchen’s Evangel article, “Points
West.” – 37 pages in all.
(21) Personal Notes of Dick B. from his
interviews at Ft. Myers Beach, Florida with
James D. Newton alone and also with Newton
and Shoemaker’s younger daughter
Nickie Haggart specifically reviewing parallel
diary entries in Newton’s and
Shoemaker’s diaries of Shoemaker/Firestone
events of 1931 and of the Akron/Firestone/
Oxford Group events of 1933 – 6 pages
(22) The History of Faith at Work, by Karl A.
Olsson, M.D. A five part historical series
detailing the various aspects of Shoemaker’s
work and accomplishments: (1) “Rooted in
the 19th Century, FAW Grew From a Series of
Births and Rebirths;” (2) “Frank Buchman,
the Oxford Group and the Four Absolutes:
Honesty, Purity, Unselfishness and Love;”
(3) “Sam Shoemaker and Faith at Work;” (4)
“An Organization Emerges;” (5) “The Later
Years – Changes to Challenges.” 11 pages in
(23) Sam Shoemaker’s letter to Bill Wilson,
dated January 22, 1935 little more than a
month after Bill got sober in Towns Hospital,
congratulating and thanking Bill for helping
the Chemistry Professor (Breithut) and
having been guided to help Oxford Group
worker Jim Williams. Signed by Sam, original
at Stepping Stones, “copied with approval”
(24) Printed letter, dated November 1, 1941,
signed by Sam Shoemaker and his Associate
Rector J. Herbert Smith, explaining to the
Parishioners of Calvary Church the termination
of the use of Calvary House as “national
headquarters for Moral Re-Armament.
Original at Hartford Seminary Archives,
“copied with permission”
(25) Typed letter from Calvary Rectory,
dated November 4, 1941, signed by Sam
Shoemaker, addressed “Dear Friends,”
confirming belief “as firmly as ever in the
principles of the Oxford Group,” and reminding
them that they and any of their friends
“are always welcome at Calvary Church and
Calvary House.”


About mauihistorian

Uses pen name Dick B.: Writer, Historian, Retired attorney, Bible student, CDAAC, and active and recovered A.A. member with over 25 years of continuous sobriety. Published 42 titles and over 650 articles on the history of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Christian Recovery Movement. www.dickb.com
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