Category Archives: Memorabilia

The Big Book: The Original Working Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous

Sale Date: Saturday, May 5, 2018 – 10:45 AM

Profiles in History is proud to announce its historic auction will commence. The original typed working manuscript for The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is back on the auction block. It will be going under the hammer on May 5th in Los Angeles.

A lawsuit commenced by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (A.A.W.S.) prevented the sale from taking place last year. That lawsuit is now concluded and as part of a settlement a Stipulated Order was entered by the Court which states as follows:

A.A.W.S. irrevocably waives and surrenders any and all rights or claims it has or may have to possession, ownership of, or title to the 1939 “Printer’s Copy” also known as the “original working draft” manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous (the “Manuscript”), based upon a certain 1979 letter from Barry Leach or otherwise and that Roberts has the right to transfer, auction, or otherwise sell the Manuscript at his sole discretion without being subject to any claim or encumbrance by A.A.W.S.

The 161 typed pages are filled with hand written edits by the founders, some by William Griffith Wilson, aka, Bill W. It belonged to Lois Wilson, Bill’s widow. It is one of the best selling books of all time, over 30 million copies have been sold since 1939. It has been translated into 43 languages. The Library of Congress ranks it the number one non-fiction book that shaped America.

In “The Book That Started It All,” a facsimile edition of this manuscript published by Hazelden, an essay succinctly states the extraordinary importance of the present manuscript: “Amid the wealth of literature on Alcoholics Anonymous, you have in your hands the greatest treasure of all, the beginning of it all, the charter of the Fellowship.”

Best-selling AA historian and author, Dr. Ernest Kurtz, said, “Not only is this Manuscript the most important nonfiction manuscript in all history, I consider it right up there with the Magna Carta because of the personal freedom it has provided so many millions of alcoholics!”

It is estimated to sell for $2,000,000 – $3,000,000.