Founders Day in Minnesota
|Every year from 1944 to 1947, there was a two-week gathering in Minnesota called Founders Day. Dr. Bob was there, along with other key people. The central figures were those who were considered to be founders of A.A. groups in the Midwest. The last year the affair was held, about eighty people were invited, half of them one week and the other half the next week. Dr. Bob spent a lot of the time playing bridge, which was a good time to chat with him, and also went on walks.|
Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, 1980), pp. 299-300, describes these annual gatherings.|
Ed Webster, author of The Little Red
Book, was one of the early A.A. leaders who
attended these Minnesota gatherings
Jack H. (Scottsdale, Arizona) says that Ed Webster and Barry Collins, who were responsible for writing and publishing The Little Red Book, would be there, and that this is one of the places where Ed obtained, not only Dr. Bob's input, but also suggestions and comments from a number of other major A.A. leaders about what should go in that book. Ed did the writing, while Barry helped him print and distribute the book (they called themselves the "Coll-Webb Co., Publishers" on the title page).
The early editions of The Little Red Book certainly provide one of the best sources we have for the kind of things which newcomers were told about the program in the early days in many of the cities in the upper midwest.
Here are some interesting photographs taken at the 1946 Founders Day gathering at Kare Phree Pines, Minnesota, provided by Archivist Jim D. from Holt, Michigan, and the Lansing Archives. This first photo shows Barry Collins on the right, the one who helped print and distribute The Little Red Book. His wife's name was Corinne. That is Dr. Bob on the left of course, and the man in the middle is Earl Treat, the founder of A.A. in Chicago.
Some of the other photos taken at that Founders Day gathering give interesting candid shots of Dr. Bob and Anne Smith, along with a number of the other people present at the Minnesota campground that year.
Dr. Bob playing horseshoes
Someone put a Mexican sombrero on Anne
Smith's head and then took this snapshot. She
was clearly amused and having a good time.