Dr. Bob’s Wife Anne, “Mother of A.A.” and Anne’s Journal

Alcoholics Anonymous History
Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939
A.A.’s Principles of Success

By Dick B.

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Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939

Anne Smith – Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939: A.A.’s Principles of Success by Dick B. – Anne SmithUndoubtedly the most forgotten, least quoted, and least understood of early A.A.’s six major spiritual roots is Anne Smith’s Journal. Anne Ripley Smith was the wife of A.A.’s co-founder, Dr. Bob. She was called by A.A.’s other co-founder, Bill Wilson, a “founder” of A.A. and the “Mother of A.A.” It was she who read the Bible daily to Dr. Bob and Bill during the summer of 1935 when Bill was living with the Smiths and the spiritual recovery principles of A.A. were being developed. It was she, beginning in 1933, who recorded the basic ideas from the Bible, the Oxford Group’s life-changing program, the Quiet Time practices, the Christian literature, and the practical ideas for depending upon God that became part and parcel of the A.A. Twelve Steps and A.A.’s Fellowship. Anne assembled these in her journal from 1933 to 1939. She read from this journal and used it as a basis for discussion from A.A.’s earliest Quiet Time days at the Smith home in Akron. Anne was declared to be the one who gave Bill W. and Dr. Bob a much needed “spiritual infusion.” She attended all pioneer meetings. She acted as house-mother, nurse, evangelist, counselor, and employment agent for A.A. pioneers and their families. To know what Anne Smith wrote and was teaching is to know the real heart of A.A.’s spiritual ideas and program. This was the program that set the stage for the astonishing 75% to 93% success rate in Akron and Cleveland for “medically incurable” alcoholics who really tried and recovered. It was a program that put God and His Word first!

Foreword by Bob S., son of Dr. Bob & Anne Smith; co-author, Children of the Healer.


“My mother, Anne Smith, studied, knew, and believed in the Good Book, as did my father, Dr. Bob. She recorded in her workbook the spiritual principles she shared so often with the many alcoholics and their wives that she helped.”

Sue Smith Windows
Daughter of Dr. Bob and Anne Smith
Co-author, Children of the Healer

“Dick’s book is a ‘page-turner’ for those of us in A.A. who want to know and understand the origins of its spiritual principles.”

Earl H.
Oklahoma City

“A valuable analysis of the thoughts and teachings of the wife of A.A.’s co-founder, Dr. Bob.”

Mel B.
Author, New Wine: The Spiritual Roots of the Twelve Step Miracle

“Dick B. has painstakingly researched the…notebook Anne kept so faithfully, and, in doing so, has made the spiritual depth of that astonishing, lovely person available to all of us.”

Robert Smith
Son of Dr. Bob and Anne Smith
Co-author, Children of the Healer

Paradise Research Publications, Inc.; 180 pp.; 6 x 9; perfect bound; 1998; $22.95; ISBN 1-885803-24-9


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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