Smith (Robert Holbrook, Dr. Bob) papers

The collection consists of over five thousand items, including two hundred books, dozens of pieces of memorabilia, and several hundred manuscripts (original and photocopied) and photographs once the property of "Dr. Bob," the legendary co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. The collection was purchased in November 1999 from Sue Smith Windows, Dr. Bob's daughter and donated by Esmond Harmsworth, James Abernathy, Christopher Ohrstrom, Mark Ohrstrom, and Richard Ohrstrom. Books, all from Dr. Bob's personal library, deal with religious and spiritual topics as well as the problems of addiction and recovery. Manuscripts include the notes of Dr. Bob's wife, Anne, who jotted down the spiritual principles that eventually influenced the AA movement's twelve steps; a looseleaf binder containing the mimeographed instructions on how to set up an AA meeting sent out to chapter secretaries; and some pages of Dr. Bob's letters and notes. Among the notable items in this collection are the coffee pot that Dr. Bob and Bill W. first used to sober up in 1935.

Visitors should note that there is no permanent display of materials from the Dr. Bob Collection, although the memorabilia can be paged upon request.

NOTE: Researchers using this collection are asked to abide by the Anonymity Guidelines for the Brown University Library AA Collections.

Format(s): Books, Pamphlets, Manuscripts, Museum Objects, Graphics, Documents
Library: John Hay

Access to the collection:

Online Finding Aid (BAMCO):
Guide to the Robert Holbrook Smith papers

Online Catalog (JOSIAH):
Individual records for most printed materials available on JOSIAH

Other Online Access:
Research Guide: Alcohol and Addiction Studies: A Guide to Resources at Brown
Publication: Alcoholics Anonymous founder�s archives acquired by Brown (GSJ)
Publication: Archive of Recovery (BAM)
Non-brown Web Page: The Science of Addition (Library of Congress)

Related Collections:
Kirk Collection
NCADD Archive
Anti-Saloon League Collection
Snyder (Clarence H.) Collection
Kurtz (Ernest) Collection
Heath (Dwight B.) Collection

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