Photos of 
Richmond Walker

  Richmond Walker was the second most published author in early A.A. His little black meditational book, Twenty-Four Hours a Day, was surpassed in importance only by the Big Book itself. He was born on August 2, 1892, in Brookline, a suburb of Boston. He got sober when he joined the newly-founded A.A. group in Boston in May, 1942. He eventually began making Daytona Beach, Florida, his principle residence. The A.A. group there asked him to put the book together, and sponsored its publication. The first edition was produced in Daytona Beach in 1948, on a printing press in the county court house, and distributed from Rich's basement. He died on Mar. 25, 1965, with twenty-two years of sobriety.  

  Rich was also the author of For Drunks Only: One Manís Reaction To Alcoholics Anonymous (1945) and The 7 Points of Alcoholics Anonymous (1956). But it was Twenty-Four Hours a Day which took A.A. by storm. The eleventh step said, "Sought through prayer and meditation [1] to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for [2] knowledge of His will for us and [3] the power to carry that out." Rich produced the most helpful book ever produced for explaining how to carry out all three parts of that step.  

A.A. history: Richmond Walker's first book, For Drunks Only

Rich's first book, which came out in 1945

A.A. history: Richmond Walker, author of Twenty-Four Hours a Day

The best-known photo of Richmond Walker

  Rich was born on August 2, 1892, in Brookline, a suburb of Boston, into a very wealthy and politically influential family. He began his serious drinking at the age of twenty, when he was halfway through Williams College. By 1932, his business career -- which had started out as a huge success -- had been destroyed by his drinking. In 1939-1941 he managed to get sober for a while in the Oxford Group, but then went back to drinking. During that period a small A.A. group was established in Boston, but until May 1942, Rich refused to have anything to do with it.  

A.A. history: Richmond Walker's family

The Walker family:  Rich is on the back row, fourth from the right;  his wife Agnes is sixth from the right.  Rich's
father and mother are seated in front of him.  His father (who was friends with both President Theodore Roosevelt
and President William Howard Taft) served in the Massachusetts state legislature and ran for governor twice.

The Walker family's political importance: Massachusetts Statehouse, looking down on Boston Common

Rich's father was a major political power in the Massachusetts Statehouse,
which we see here looking down in majesty on Boston Common

  The story of Boston A.A. began when Mrs. Marty Mann took Paddy K. to Blythewood Sanitarium, where Harry Tiebout, M.D., was the psychiatrist directing the program. They got Paddy sober and he eventually went to Boston, to see if he could form an A.A. group there.

Paddy K. met Burt C. through the Jacoby Club, and the two of them held the first A.A. meeting in Boston on Wednesday, November 13, 1940. By March of 1941, their little A.A. group was meeting every Wednesday at the Jacoby Club quarters on 115 Newbury Street, just west of the Public Gardens and Boston Common.

A.A. history: Jacoby Club located just west of Boston Common and the Public Gardens

Boston Common and the Public Gardens

Alcoholics Anonymous history: first A.A. group in Boston met in the Back Bay area

The elegant Back Bay section of Boston, where the first
A.A. group began meeting in the Jacoby Club quarters

  The Emmanuel Movement and the Jacoby Club, founded in Boston in 1906 and 1909, were enormously popular movements which had thirty years of impressive success in treating alcoholics. Like Alcoholics Anonymous, they were also based on fellowship among recovering alcoholics and involved a synthesis between lay psychological counseling and spirituality. See Richard M. Dubiel, The Road to Fellowship: The Role of the Emmanuel Movement and the Jacoby Club in the Development of Alcoholics Anonymous.  

Early Alcoholics Anonymous history: Commonwealth Avenue in Boston

Commonwealth Avenue, near the site of the earliest A.A. meetings in Boston

  In the same way that A.A. in Akron and New York started out meeting with the Oxford Group, and was strongly influenced by Oxford Group ideas, A.A. in Boston started out meeting with the Jacoby Club, and was strongly influenced by their ideas. The big difference was that -- no matter how many useful things A.A. got from the Oxford Group people -- the Oxford Group almost never managed to get any alcoholic sober for very long (one to three years was the most they were usually able to achieve), whereas the Jacoby Club was able to achieve long term continuous sobriety among its members.

The Boston A.A. group was not only responsible for most of the other A.A. groups that later sprang up in New England, it also had a shaping influence on Florida A.A., via Richmond Walker.

Richmond Walker's wife Agnes Walker          Richmond Walker, author of the A.A. meditational book Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Rich and his wife Agnes from the family portrait
(he was a big, brawny man who had been a football
player at Williams College)

Richmond Walker's older brother Joe Walker

Rich's older brother Joe (seated) with his second
wife (the young woman in the dark dress standing behind
his left shoulder). Rich felt that he always "played second
fiddle" to his highly successful older brother.

  The Boston A.A. group did not make a full break from the Jacoby Club until 1942, shortly before Rich joined their group. In May of that year, Rich (who was now 49 years old), walked through their doors, and never drank again. He had finally reached bottom: his wife Agnes sent a lawyer to tell him she was through with him, his father had just died (attending the funeral seems to have had an enormous effect on him), and he was constantly in and out of hospitals by that point because of the physical effects of his drinking.

He eventually began making Daytona Beach, Florida, his principle residence. In 1948, at the request of the A.A. group there, he took the little cards he was carrying in his pockets, containing useful prayers and meditations, and printed them up in book form as Twenty-Four Hours a Day. It rapidly became the second most important book in early A.A., second only to the Big Book. Rich continued speaking to A.A. groups and spreading the message until his death on Mar. 25, 1965. He was 72 years old, had been sober for the past twenty-two years, and had served the program with all his heart and soul.