Online Archives Exhibits

We invite you to explore our online exhibits below. They emphasize some of the events, individuals and works that shaped A.A.'s beginnings. We hope this material will inspire interest and spread understanding of Alcoholics Anonymous.


The Start and Growth of A.A.

The history of A.A. began in the United States, spread to Canada, and then went worldwide. A.A. presence now exists in more than 180 countries. Following is a short history about the start of A.A. and some of its key contributors.


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The Story Behind Jack Alexander's Article

On March 1, 1941, The Saturday Evening Post published  “Alcoholics Anonymous: Freed Slaves of Drink, Now They Free Others." The article became a major turning point in Alcoholics Anonymous’s history.



Sister Ignatia

This special nun cared for thousands of alcoholics for decades of her life. Sister Ignatia (1889-1966) was beloved by all who were associated with or helped by her. She was often referred to as the “Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous.”


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A.A.'s 10th Anniversary Celebration

In June 1945, a historic gathering took place in Cleveland, Ohio. It commemorated A.A.’s tenth anniversary. Over 2,500 members of Alcoholics Anonymous attended the two-day event. Members came from 36 states, two Canadian provinces, and Mexico.


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The Twelve Traditions

In April 1946, Bill W. wrote an article for the Grapevine entitled “Twelve Suggested Points for A.A. Tradition.” This was an early presentation of what would become known as The Twelve Traditions.



Sam Shoemaker

Bill W. once wrote in the AA Grapevine that “Dr. Sam Shoemaker was one of A.A.’s indispensables. Had it not been for his ministry to us in our early time, our Fellowship would not be in existence today.”


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Awards and Recognition

In its 85+ year history, Alcoholics Anonymous has received various awards and recognition. These acknowledge the significant influence that A.A. has had on society.


See a Timeline of A.A. History

Decade by decade, our movement has grown larger. Learn more about significant events that have happened in the last 85+ years of A.A.