A.A. Meetings in Akron and
Cleveland 1938-1942


Glenn F. Chesnut

Also search under the following common variants and misspellings: Glenn Chesnut, Glen Chesnut, Glen Chestnut, Glenn Chestnut, Glen F. Chesnut, Glenn F. Chestnut, Glen F. Chestnut, Glenn C. South Bend

Glenn C., South Bend, Indiana, A.A. Meetings in Akron and Cleveland, Glenn F. Chesnut
Glenn F. Chesnut, A.A. Meetings in Akron and Cleveland  1938-1942, August 2017, ISBN 978-1947-7783-44, vi + 280 pp., paperback $6.80 U.S.


How old-time A.A. meetings were
conducted back in the early days


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The first part of this book describes how meetings were held (citing eyewitness accounts from that time) and what was being taught in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in Akron and Cleveland during the formative period that stretched from 1938 to 1942 -- starting the year before the Big Book was published, when A.A. was beginning to gain a stable structure -- and continuing past the break with the Oxford Group, all the way down to 1942, where the Akron Manual gives us a marvelous picture of the way meetings were being conducted by that point, and also tells us what the Akron group had decided new alcoholics should read and learn to understand the spiritual aspects of the program.

The book continues with a section on the list of ten books that the Akron Manual recommended that all their new people read, including Emmet Fox’s Sermon on the Mount, Henry Drummond’s book on 1 Corinthians 13, James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh, and Abundant Living by E. Stanley Jones.

The last part of the book gives a detailed account of the four different spiritual traditions that early Alcoholics Anonymous drew upon, and what the early A.A. people learned from each of these traditions, as well as the way they incorporated these ideas into A.A. teaching: (1) the Oxford Group, (2) early American frontier revivalism, (3) the New Thought ideas found in Emmet Fox’s book on the Sermon on the Mount, and (4) the classical Protestant liberalism of The Upper Room (the little meditational book which A.A. people read every morning from 1935 all the way down to 1948) with its emphasis upon feeling, intuition, simplicity, and the religion of the heart.

It was that inner spirit which taught the A.A. movement to reject rigid doctrines and dogmas, to turn away from the world of soaring Gothic cathedrals and authoritarian religious leaders dressed in ornate robes, and to refuse to allow material wealth to contaminate the realm of the true spiritual life.


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Table of Contents



Part I. The Documents

1. The Combination of Four Different Spiritual Traditions
2. Akron: February 1938, Oxford Group meeting at T. Henry and Clarace Williams’ home
3. Dr. Bob and Clarence Snyder in the Hospital: February 1938
4. Cleveland A.A. meetings May - November 1939
5. The 1942 Akron Manual: the end of Oxford Group practices
6. Early Akron Member J. D. Holmes: Memories from 1936–1938
7. Bill Wilson -- Cleveland A.A. and the break with the Oxford Group
8. The Appendix in the Second Edition of the Big Book: 1941
9. Bill Wilson in the NCCA Blue Book
10. The 1942 Reading List in the Akron Manual: Part One
11. The 1942 Reading List in the Akron Manual: Part Two

Part II. Four Different Spiritual Traditions
12. Early American Frontier Revivalism
13. The Oxford Group
14. A Brief Note on the Protestant Fundamentalist Movement
15. Classical Protestant Liberalism Part One:
         The Enlightenment and Schleiermacher
16. Classical Protestant Liberalism Part Two:
         Bushnell and Harnack
17. Classical Protestant Liberalism Part Three:
         The Upper Room
18. Emmet Fox: Sermon on the Mount and New Thought
19. Emmet Fox: His Life
20. Emmet Fox: Influence of Hinduism and the Doctrine of Karma


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