Box 459 Grand Central Annex
New York 17, N. Y.
August 8, 1960
Dear Rosa and Jim,
Very sincerely I
feel not a little badly that the Convention gave you, and perhaps
other very old timers, an unhappy experience because of the lack of
When you wrote
me, not too long before the Convention, about the possibility of an
old timers meeting, I did check this up. The schedule was then
in pretty air-tight shape, so far as the official sessions went.
Perhaps I should have followed this thing through more fully, trying
to get some sort of informal meeting together. As you know, Hank
got awfully sick just prior to the Convention. This threw added
burdens on me. I must confess to neglect and forgetfulness - at
least to some extent.
As a matter of
fact the Convention ran a little bit behind several thousands, we
don't know just how much yet. There was always a question of how
many people we could bring long distances pre-paid, and on what ground
we could fetch them. In this connection, I did [not] give you
and Rosa much thought because you near by. But I did think a
good deal about Henrietta Seiberling and Bob Oviatt in Akron, both of
whom preceded you, I think A.A. wise. Admittedly, I did not
think of Clarence. Probably this is because he has always
disapproved of conventions and all of the doings of the New York
headquarters - off and on he has had us under bitter attack for years.
I didn't mean to let that effect [sic] me, but subconsciously
maybe it did.
In any case, you
will surely remember that I tried to give all possible credit in
"A.A. Comes of Age" to you, Bert, Dorothy, Clarence, and a
great many others.
time at my disposal, I did not see how you people could have been
introduced in either of my talks. In the first one I could only
show the bare beginnings of A.A. In the second one - which was
altogether too long - I had to dwell on the development of the
Traditions. I really don't see where you folks would have fitted
in - at least to the satisfaction of the audience in that respect.
Naturally I had to bring in
Ebby because despite his lack of soberiety [sic] he was at the very
beginning. Sister Ignatia was certainly due for a bow after all
these years. After all, she and Smith ministered to 5,000 drunks
- a number far greater
than you and I ever thought of touching ourselves.
this connection I also felt not a little sorry that Henrietta wasn't
invited. There was not only the question of cost. Though
she has been extremely friendly during the last two or three years, it
must be remembered that she has never cared for the convention idea
and indeed, was against the whole New York headquarters operation for
many years. For several reasons she wasn't invited. Maybe
that was a mistake. I know that, for one, I was damn sorry she
wasn't there. However, I wasn't the entire boss of this whole
undertaking, by any means.
I don't know
whether you and Dorothy got to say anything at those Alkathon
meetings. Some of them were very outstanding indeed, and
apparently rated much higher in many A.A. minds than any of my
efforts. If you were not invited this [is] surprising indeed,
considering how prominent you, especially, have been out on the Coast,
well known to everybody. If this was an omission, it
certainly gives me cause for wonder, as doubtless it does you. However,
those arrangements were all made by the Coast people.
Nevertheless I suppose if I had been thoughtful enough about it -
which I wasn't - I might have taken pains.
I guess the
upshot of it is that life never gives quite the deal we would like.
On one hand, you say that you suffer from lack of recognition,
and I can say with certainly equal fervor that I greatly suffer from
Mr. and Mrs. James Burwell
4193 Georgia Street
San Diego, California