The Dr. Bob Core Library at St. Johnsbury, Vermont

An article titled as follows was just published by “Orange”:

“The Dr. Bob “core” library on display at North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury, Vermont

Submitted by JR Harris on Fri, 09/14/2012 – 11:46″

The writer totally ignores the thousands of historical books, pamphlets, papers, and manuscripts gathered and placed in this church library.

In fact–though criticizing the library–the writer mentions only a few titles, but nothing about their contents. He omits mention of almost all the library materials and saracastically hints that the contents were used to indoctrinate Dr. Bob’s sponsees–the Dr. Bob who was long long dead when these books were gathered and were placed in the church of his family and his own boyhood days.

Here are the features that make this library so valuable to those who want to see, learn, know, and pass along the history of the life of A.A.’s cofounder Dr. Bob:

1. Nowhere are the details about Dr, Bob’s family, North Congregational Church, Sunday school teachings, sermons, YMCA connections, Christian Endeavor programs, or The Great Awakening of 1875 available for view by those seeking recovery. Except, that is, in this library.

2. The thousands of materials were gathered by Dick B. and Ken B. over a period of many years and then collated and presented free to the church, along with the product of a three-week intensive research of the church records, Young Men’s Christian Association activities, Sunday school teachings, creed, confession, sermons, leadership, Christian Endeavor Society, Congregational Church meetings in Vermont, St. Johnsbury Academy where Dr. Bob attended, the Court where his father served as judge, the town library, Dr. Bob’s House on Summer Street, and the special role played by the Fairbanks family in the erection of so many churches, buildings, and school facilities.

The details are, in part, covered not only on our website,, but also in our book Dick B. and Ken B., Dr, Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Bible as a Youngster in Vermont Dozens of free books have been placed in the library for taking by visitors, and they have served just that purpose. In addition, the library contains books about Dr. Bob, Bill, and Dr. Bob’s wife that have not been made available at Dr. Bob’s Home in Akron and were not accepted at Dr. Bob’s boyhood home in St. Johnsbury.

3. The writer failed to do anything but discuss a few of the books, refer to our website after essentially saying there was little there, and ignore the contents of the large resource volumes which contain newspaper articles, biographies, church records and documents, academy records and documents, YMCA records and documents, Christian Endeavor works and documents–something the writer simply didn’t even mention in connection with Dr. Bob’s deep involvement in Christian Endeavor.

4. We just completed a 10 day workshop visit to St. Johnsbury, to Manchester, to East Dorset, to Rutland, to Burlington, to Emerald Lake, to Northfield, and had a team of some 14 long-sober Christian AAs assist us in gathering hundreds of more documents. In fact Jim H. (archivist from Washington) has already posted the more than 600 photos online, and we posted the link on Furthermore, we have just published a book on the Bill Wilson, Bob Smith, Ebby Thacher, Lois Wilson, Rowland Hazard, Shep Cornell, Cebra Graves, Wilson Family, Griffith Family, Burnham (Lois’s) family, Thacher family, and the various churches and academies attended. The book is Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W., Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont.

5. As with the 23, 900 books and papers that were donated by my benefactors to the Griffith Library at the Wilson House in East Dorset, Vermont, the books there are accessible, free to view, easy to study in comfortable surroundings, and available to visitors. The same is true for the Dr. Bob Core Library.

6. The attempt to minimize the importance of these two great historical repositories of information about both cofounders as well as the history and roots of early A.A. is not something new. For example, a few years back a tiny group of a.a. history lovers visited the church and reported there was nothing there of significance. So too with this current naysayer who appears never even to have visited the Dr. Bob Core Library on Main Street in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

Contempt prior to investigation, says the Big Book, is an everlasting guarantee of ignorance.

Don’t miss these valuable Vermont resources on the basis of some article like the one just posted by my friend “Orange” and submitted by some person I’ve never heard of. History is not history until someone studies it, learns it, and accurately reports. The same is true of library contents. And St. Johnsbury Vermont is loaded with historical materials well stewarded, indexed, and readily available.

Gloria Deo


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.
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