Alcoholics Anonymous (1938)

Original Manuscript Edition

This work is featured in the Feb 2018 Substance Dependence Treatment Review

This book is the pre-publication draft manuscript, original manuscript, or so-called Multilith Edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. There were 400 mimeographed copies made in December of 1938, which were sold for $ 3.50 USD ($ 60 USD in 2018, after inflation). The money was used to help fund the printing of the first edition, and also to receive feedback on the manuscript before the official first printing. Many of these books were returned with editorial notes. There were few changes between the original manuscript and the first edition, which was published in 1939.


Personal Stories

  1. The Doctor's Nightmare, page 1
  2. The Unbeliever, page 7
  3. The European Drinker, page 12
  4. A Feminine Victory, page 17
  5. Our Southern Friend, page 21
  6. A Business Man's Recovery, page 29
  7. A Different Slant, page 33
  8. Traveler, Editor, Scholar, page 34
  9. The Back-Slider, page 39
  10. Home Brewmeister, page 43
  11. The Seven Month Slip, page 47
  12. My Wife and I, page 49
  13. A Ward of the Probate Court, page 53
  14. Riding the Rods, page 56
  15. Ace Full - Seven - Eleven, page 62
  16. The Salesman, page 66
  17. Fired Again, page 69
  18. The Fearful One, page 72
  19. Truth Freed Me!, page 74
  20. Smile with Me, at Me, page 75


This work is in the Public Domain in most countries. The original manuscript did not have a copyright notice on it, which means it immediately went into the public domain in the United States.

When the Berne treaty came into force in March 1989 in the United States, other Berne treaty signatories might be obliged to provide copyright at the minimum standard of the Author's Life + 50 years (which would be January, 2022). However, Canada, the United Kingdom, and most other countries either have specific exclusions, or do not recognize or enforce copyright that has expired in the country of origin. There are third party countries which may enforce copyright if the work is not under copyright in the originating country.

Currently, Germany is the only known country which has legal precedent on enforcing copyright that had expired in the country of origin. In Germany, the copyright is enforced based upon an earlier treaty which supercedes copyright law, and in the United States.

This is the same case with the first (1939) and second (1955) editions of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. Those two works originally had copyrights, but they were not renewed in the United States, as was required at the time, and so they are in the Public Domain in all countries except for Germany.

This work is featured in the Feb 2018 Substance Dependence Treatment Review