NEW YORK - The Books and Manuscripts department at Sotheby’s has a long and impressive record of selling social and cultural history. For example, in 2004 Sotheby’s sold the original working draft of “The Big Book,” the founding document of the Alcoholics Anonymous organization, for $1.4 million. Established in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous now counts over 2 million participants worldwide. Coming up as lot 84 in our 5 December sale of Fine Books and Manuscripts is the first draft of the Twelve Traditions, from Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Developed by William Griffin Wilson through correspondence with AA groups in the Northeastern United States in the early 1950s, the document was adopted by the organization during their first International Convention in Cleveland in 1950.
Twelve Traditions, from Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions will be offered in the Fine Books and Manuscripts sale on 5 December.
The concepts of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions have been utilized by countless groups dedicated to helping sufferers cope with addictive behaviors. The inscription by Bill Wilson on this present document confirms that it is the first draft of the Twelve Traditions, “For Fred G. – First draft of tradition essays – ever. Bill, Bedford Hills, May / 52.” The mutual aid fellowship that is Alcoholics Anonymous has changed countless lives, and the Traditions were designed to ensure the health and longevity of the organization as well as support its mission.
Speaking of his hopes for the Traditions, Wilson writes on page three: “By faith and by works we have been able to build upon the lessons of an incredible experience. These live today in the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, which – God willing – shall sustain us in unity for so long as he may need us.”