A.A. History Lovers
The leading international webgroup for the study
of Alcoholics Anonymous history and archives
Winchester Cathedral, where Bill W. had a profound experience of the feeling of
the divine presence in 1918 -- and then turned his back on it and walked away
The AA History Lovers webgroup has over 2,500 members from all over the earth including the United States, Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Mexico, Belgium, the Scandinavian countries, Australia, and India, to name just a few of these far flung lands. But the actual number of people who are affected by the webgroup is far higher. There are many who read the group's postings on a regular basis without having signed up on the membership list, since anyone who has a computer and access to the internet can read all the messages. Enrolling on the membership list is only necessary for posting messages. And many of the group's readers forward some of the postings on to their friends, or reprint their contents in local AA newsletters, or put up copies on their own websites.
95% of the people who have authored the best books on AA history are members of the AAHistoryLovers, as are 95% of the top archivists, rare book specialists and other historical researchers in the field. In addition, over the years, the Archivists at the Alcoholics Anonymous GSO in New York City have also regularly been a member of the AAHistoryLovers, although because of their position, they have usually refrained from public comments on the postings.
So the AAHistoryLovers has gained a reputation as the most dependable single source of historical information about AA. If you want to find out what the real experts say -- the most knowledgeable and competent scholars and researchers in the field -- the AAHistoryLovers will give you the best-documented and most up-to-date information known. And it will also be one of the first places to publish news about newly discovered documents and facts, along with notices of the most recent publications on AA history.
One of the world's largest archives
of AA historical material
The collected messages of the AAHistoryLovers forms one of the largest single bodies of good AA historical material gathered in one place, an incredible accomplishment carried out by a number of the world's best AA historians and archivists. All the messages from the first eleven years (2002-2012) have now been gathered together into computer files which can either be downloaded or read on line.
Here at the end of 2012 we are getting close to the end of the line, in terms of people who knew the original founders of AA at first hand. In fact, the AAHL was started in large part as a last-ditch effort to glean as much information as possible from these people while we could still sit at their feet and listen to them talk, and ask questions. The next generation will be forced to rely solely on documents and audio recordings.
MS Word files (.docx files) -- can be read by most modern word processors:
These files were taken straight from the Yahoo group files, and still contain
all of the HTML mark-up language used to display them on web browsers
Standing in the sunlight of the spirit in Winchester Cathedral and
feeling what Bill Wilson experienced back in 1918 when he was a
young artillery officer: the primordial awareness of the sacred and
the holy, that sense of contact with a fourth dimension of existence
which lay at the heart of his spirituality.
March 16, 2000 - March 16, 2012
The group was originally started by Nancy Olson under the name AAHistoryBuffs, see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AAHistoryBuffs/. March 16, 2000 was the founding date given in the left-hand column of the home page. The first still-surviving messages were put on their Message Board on March 21, 2000. (Nancy went through both the AAHB and the AAHL on occasion, deleting messages that were on trivial topics, or simply repeated earlier messages, or were later shown to have gotten their information badly wrong.)
But in Spring 2002, Nancy changed her e-mail to another provider, and then discovered to her horror (a) that the Yahoo group system would not recognize her new e-mail address, and (b) that her old e-mail provider would not give her that old address back. So no one could any longer gain access to the management section of the Buffs, and keep the group operating properly.
So she started the AAHistoryLovers, and then she -- along with Fiona Dodd, of County Mayo in Ireland, who has done an extraordinary amount of work on the AAHistoryLovers over the years -- selected the most important Buffs messages, and copied and pasted them into Lovers messages.
Our present work on
archiving all this material
A program called PG Offline has just been used to download all of the first eleven years of AAHistoryLovers messages, from 2002 to 2012. They were downloaded in tabular form as Microsoft Access data files. Mail merge was then used to transfer this tabular data to continuous MS Word files, producing ten MS Word documents, one per year, each one around a thousand or so pages long.
Unfortunately, these messages were still full of the kind of web page coding used for HTML files and other similar online documents, to such a point that many sections were nearly totally unreadable. So another program, called Detagger, then had to be used to strip all of this HTML coding out of the messages.
These documents are still extremely lengthy, and sometimes have the lines broken up in ways that makes them difficult to read. This is the result of literally tens of thousands of extraneous line breaks, which will have to be removed by hand. But once this has been done, these documents should be only about half as long in terms of number of pages, and far easier to read.
The important thing is that they have now been preserved for posterity in a form that will be useful to those future generations. I earnestly hope that the major AA archives all around the world will download these files and store them on a CD disk or some other permanent storage device, to help make sure that later centuries will still be able to read and use this material.
G.C., moderator of the AAHL
January 21, 2013
return to A.A. Historical Materials Part 2
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