Alcoholics Anonymous & History of AA

 Last updated:
January 20, 2011

Alcoholics Anonymous History
A.A. History Brief: Oxford Group

Dick B.
© 2011 Anonymous. All rights reserved.

Where My Oxford Group Evidence Came From

As soon as I learned that the Oxford Group was a major source of A.A. ideas, I began going directly to its own literature to see exactly what the program was and how it might relate to Alcoholics Anonymous.

I was able to befriend and communicate with a large number of Oxford Group leaders, activists, and writers. These included Garth Lean, Frank Buchman’s biographer. Dr. Morris Martin—Frank Buchman’s personal secretary. Also James Draper Newton and his wife Eleanor Napier Forde (Newton)—long-time activists and personal friends of Frank Buchman and Rev. Sam Shoemaker. Kenneth Belden, Michael Hutchinson, and R.C. Mowat in Great Britain. Richard Ruffin—MRA Executive Director in America. Harry Almond, Ruffin’s predecessor. George Vondermuhll, Jr., Treasurer of MRA in America. T. Willard Hunter—long-time Oxford Group employee and writer. Mrs. W. Irving Harris—who was (with her husband) an activist and a keeper of the book stall for the Oxford Group in Calvary House. The entire Shoemaker family—Mrs. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., Sally Robinson Shoemaker, and Nickie Haggart Shoemaker.  L. Parks Shipley, Sr., Richard Hadden, Michael Henderson, James Houck, and Frederick Watt.

This array of well-informed Oxford Group people furnished me with many references, books, articles, magazines, and films—as well as a great many personal recollections. I purchased many Oxford Group books and articles. I was given many by the foregoing people. And then came the opportunity and time to obtain almost every piece of Oxford Group material that existed in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.

From the following, I either acquired all of their Oxford Group literature or important items I did not already have. The number of books, articles, pamphlets, magazines, manuscripts, pieces of correspondence, and other relevant items exceeded 25,000. These came, in large part, from:

George Vondermuhll, Jr., of Connecticut (now deceased): his entire Oxford Group archives—some 500 items.

T. Willard Hunter, of Claremont, California (now deceased): his entire library.

James D.  Newton and Eleanor Forde Newton, of Ft. Myers Beach, Florida  (both now deceased): a pick of their entire collection of Oxford Group, Shoemaker, and MRA books, articles, and pamphlets

Mrs. W. Irving Harris, of New Jersey (now deceased): all of the Shoemaker books and many Oxford Group pieces.

Richard Ruffin, of Washington, D.C.: many of the older Oxford Group books and pamphlets in the library of Moral Re-Armament in Washington, D.C.

Garth Lean, England (now deceased): copies of all his books.

Kenneth Belden, England (now deceased): copies of all his books.

Morris Martin: copies of his books

Dennis Wayne Cassidy (now deceased), A.A. historian and speaker: his entire library of Oxford Group, Shoemaker, and relevant A.A. books, pamphlets, and pictures.

Danny Whitmore of Palmdale, California, A.A. Historian: his entire library of Oxford Group, Shoemaker, and relevant A.A. books, pamphlets, and pictures.

Where This Historical Treasure Trove Is Available Today

  1. At the Griffith Library (in the house where Bill Wilson was raised), East Dorset, Vermont. Ozzie Lepper (Manager of the Wilson House) built an entire library of A.A. historical literature and proposed calling it the Dick B. Library. While that proposal was declined by me, I was able to have several benefactors donate sufficient funds to ship and locate at the Griffith Library some 23,900 items.
  1. At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Akron, Ohio—the church to which Dr. Bob belonged at the time of his death, and the church of which Rev. Walter Tunks was rector in the 1930’s. A small library containing a portion of my Oxford Group, Shoemaker, and other A.A. historical books was established through funding by a number of benefactors.
  1. At Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, Ohio—the last church of which Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr. was rector. A library was established in the Shoemaker Room at the church; and two benefactors enabled all of my Shoemaker papers to be lodged in that room.

The purpose of these libraries was to make accessible and available for viewing almost every Oxford Group and Shoemaker book and writing—all being relevant to A.A. history and important article.


Dick B., Making Known the Biblical History and Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous: A 16-Year Research, Writing, Publishing, and Fact-Dissemination Project. 3rd ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2006)

Dick B. The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living That Works, new rev. ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1998)

Gloria Deo


Dick B.'s son Ken
P.O. Box 837
Kihei, Hawaii
Tel.: (808) 276-4945
Fax: (808) 874-4876

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