History of A.A.

Since its beginnings in 1935, the success of Alcoholics Anonymous has sparked interest. A.A. members, professionals and the general public want to learn more about A.A. and how it works to help alcoholics. Here we have collected historical information thanks to the General Service Office Archives. You can explore online exhibits and also find resources for more learning here.

85+ Years of Helping Alcoholics

How did a meeting between a New York stockbroker and an Akron surgeon lead to a global movement? How did the A.A. Fellowship get started in the U.S.? Who were some of the people important to the growth of A.A.? If you are looking for a short write-up of the history of Alcoholics Anonymous, start here.


Visit the online A.A. timeline and learn about our long history

Go back to the origins of A.A. or see what happened in a particular decade or year. You’ll find lots of rich detail in the A.A. timeline, which includes both text and images.

GSO Archives

The General Service Office Archives is dedicated to exploring A.A. history. Since formally opening in 1975, it has served both members of the A.A. Fellowship and the general public. The GSO Archives helps individuals with an interest in discovering A.A.’s roots and its growth around the world.

Individuals and interested professionals can visit the GSO Archives in New York City. We also offer online exhibits and a timeline of A.A. history here on our website.

At the Archives, you can explore items including:

  • published materials such as books, newsletters, reports and more
  • unpublished materials such as correspondence, meeting minutes, manuscripts and more
  • images marking our long history
  • sound and video recordings of our founders and others


Visit the GSO Archives page to learn more. 

Resources on A.A. History

A.A.'s Conference-approved books are a wonderful resource for learning about Alcoholics Anonymous. Our books explain how A.A. started and how the Steps and Traditions evolved. Also covered is how the A.A. Fellowship grew and spread overseas. Other historical resources are available in the A.A. Literature area of our website also.

A.A. History Books_Our Great Responsibility_Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age_As Bill Sees It