Henrietta Seiberling - without her would be no AA in this world

This is an 8 page (4 pages/2 sided) letter from Henrietta Seiberling to Clarence Snyder written on Friday, July 31st and postmarked August 1, 1952 from Akron, Ohio. The back flap of the envelope states - GATE LODGE NORTH PORTAGE PATH AKRON, OHIO interesting to note it was called Gate Lodge rather than Gate House which is usually used in AA literature. This is one of about 6 letters to Clarence from Henrietta that we have. Here is the transcription of that letter from Henrietta's handwriting. Also attached are copies as scanned from the original letter.
Letter from
Henrietta Seiberling

(She introduced Bill W. to 
Anne and Dr. Bob Smith in 1935)

Click on envelope to magnify
To Clarence H. Snyder
"The Home Brewmeister"
in the story section of
the big book

Founder of the very first group
that called itself "AA"
Letter page 1 - Click to magnify

                         Friday, July 31st, 1952 
Dear Clarence, 

It was such a happy surprise to get your 
letter - I have wanted to answer it long before 
this but have been "burning daylight" 
as the old saying goes. 

My Dorothy & I drove here from New 
York July 4th & she had 3 weeks here only 
& I had been notified by the Seiberling brothers 
& sisters that they felt they should rent my 
house, as we are here so little, so John & his 
wife & baby came as soon as I could get it 
opened & ready, & Mary & her husband came 
from Chicago for a week; all to go over & col-
lect their belongings, piling up for 29 years. 
So you can imagine that I've stayed away 
from pen & paper. 

I drove back to New York Sunday with 
Dorothy - car loaded with things & Fred picked 
me up & drove me back Tuesday. I see 
John off next week & then, as usual, Henrietta 
really will tear into things - & finish up -

It was a terrific blow - the thought 
of not having this sweet little place to come to 
& enjoy the beauties of nature, trees, birds, sun-
shine, & quiet & to be with 

Letter page 2 - Click to magnify 
so many good friends. & at first, I didn't know 
how to take it - so I just surrendered it & asked to
be shown what to say + what to do + put myself out 
of the picture entirely & let God show me - after 
a few days, I think I was guided to have the 
right attitude & wrote my brother-in-law a letter 
to which he responded the next day, with many 
thanks & much appreciation. & since we've been 
back I feel a warmth of affection from Fred's 
brothers & sisters, that in the end, means more than 
even my haven of my own joy & tranquility. 
& so God works things out for us always & 
I realize that we have to have things like that 
to make us turn to Him & rely completely on Him. 
"The branch that beareth not fruit, He cuts off 
but He purges the branch that beareth fruit" 
so it "will bear more fruit." I realized that it was 
just another challenge to meet, so that I would 
rely more completely on His direction, & I knew 
that relying on "His direction, I would "never 
be misled" I may work something out, renting 
the house furnished or move the furniture here 
to the Big House & I can stay there when I 
want to I know. 

I was so interested to think of your being 
in Georgia & seeing Roland & Dorothy - They 
are such dear wonderful 

Letter page 3 - Click to magnify 
real people & I think we can be so grateful to 
our Maker for   giving us a fel-
lowship with so many all over. all with 
the same purpose in life & trying to live the
same quality of life.

Last night, Bill Van Horn & Mickey came 
over and got me & we picked up Bill Dotson, who 
now lives near King School, &we went out to Stow 
where I led the little group in a meeting - It 
was just like old times at T. Henry's - Every 
one felt they could get up and talk & you could 
feel that we were really gathered together in 
His Name & we had the real fellowship of the 
"Holy Spirit" that was left in the world, so 
we would never "be comfortless" - Bill Dotson 
said he had been to Albany, Georgia to speak. 
I told him that I had your letter & they were 
so glad to get news of you & spoke of you in the 

I feel very sure that God has His Guiding 
Hand on our works, It looked for a while as 
if Bill Wilson would like to crowd God out 
but we know that it is up to us to seek more & 
more of God's power to help other people to know 
this way of Life & our fellowship. You certainly 
are doing your part & thank 

Letter page 4 - Click to magnify
God, all those who have glimpsed the real vision
are doing theirs. The joy of it is, to me, that those 
who have only been offered "the stone," are so 
eager & grab at the "bread," that we know we 
have to offer - as you say, it is appalling how 
little they have been offered by the would be 
"elder statesman" - but the 12 steps & the
fact that, as Stanley Jones say, wherever man 
opens his mind to God, He reveals himself - 
they have helped the groping AA's -who have 
been denied so much of the real "bread" -
& given the "stone" of Bill Wilson's designs.

But, Clarence, I have made one big whale of 
a surrender of Bill & his schemes - 
& all thought of him & the possibilities of what 
harm he could do just left me in the most 
amazing way. I don't have to try to "not think 
of him" again, I just don't - He is completely 
consigned to God by me & I know He can 
handle him - We will be closely knit - 
even with his taking the money & trying to take the book. I am sure he will need our pity 
& compassion because he has put himself 
apart from the real fellowship - 

Letter page 5 - Click to magnify 
more and more I see that the 16th Chapter of Luke that I 
read in answer to my asking to 
understand Bill & what he was doing, illuminated 
the situation - He has put himself with the 

"children of darkness" - he has his henchmen &
ingratiates himself with those in the dark - 
Let us keep ourselves "children of the Light" 
& keep serving God, instead of "Mammon." 
Bill has made his choice - Read the chapter over.

I heard talk in Missouri 2 years ago about 
his connection with Sheen* but I don't imagine 
it is so.  He imagines himself all kinds of things.
His hand "writes" dictation from a Catholic 
priest, whose name I forget, from the 1600 period who was in Barcelona Spain - again, he told Horace Crystal**, he was completing the work that Christ didn't finish, & according to Horace he said he was a reincarnation of Christ. 
Perhaps he got mixed in whose reincarnation 
he was. It looks more like the works of the 
devil but I could be wrong. I don't know what 
is going on in the poor deluded fellow's mind.

He must be wistful. He asked Bill Dotson if he 
knew where I was & Bill said "on Park Ave" & 
he said "Have you seen her" ?


* Bill did begin taking instruction with Bishop Sheen to 
convert to becoming Roman Catholic but 
didn't complete the instruction.
** Horace was a leading member of The Alcoholic Foundation 
(AA General Service Board Inc. ) and Vice-President of Works 
Publishing, Inc., New York. (now AA World Services, Inc.)
Letter page 6 - Click to magnify 
I learned from a Texas friend that a Chaplain 
in the prisons said the only way they really reached 
prisoners was thru Alcoholics Anonymous, even for 
the non alcoholic - so besides such things as 
that, Bill & his schemes pale into insignificance 
for us - I am sure.

        We can stand by & see him claim the "glory" 
if we can keep the "power" to help transform 
lives - Thank God, you & so many others are 
still doing that.

I imagine Selma* will like the South. 
They are dear people & I hope you like the new 
situation. (*Clarence's 2nd wife)

I realize that what may seem the 
"closed door" of my idyllic little place here, 
may be the opening of many more doors &
vistas, so maybe it is a release for me to go 
around & see more people - anyway we, all 
know & I felt confidant of that, for which I am 
grateful that we are equal to anything in 
Him who strengthens us.

Bill Van Horn had his "purging" the other 
day. The cute little boy's "mother" had been taking a 
course at Kleet normal & little

Letter page 7 - Click to magnify 
Billy was thru his school &Bill planned to go on 
a fishing trip with him & he came home one 
night & found she had taken off. He learned 
she went to California. The little boy was the 
apple of Bill's eye, but he will "bear more fruit" 
for this last challenge to meet & he seems to 
know that "bearing fruit" is what we are here for.

He is going to take me up to Cleveland to their
Luncheon group some time. Maybe in the course 
of time, I'll meet Ed Howe. But it's like the 'father 
who seeth in secret,' that matters. Just so we 
keep His Guidance, which is so very real, I know 
nothing else really matters, as you know too.

Do let me know what's going on with 
you, Clarence - I'll probably be here until the 
middle of September, at least.

It is unnecessary to say "keep up your 
good works." You do that anyway, but I am 
very grateful for such true people as you &
Selma & Bill Van Horn & Roland & all. We'll 
have our own "Grapevine," "underground" but 
from "overhead" - God has been good to us to 
give us a glimpse of such a little "colony of 

Letter page 8 - Click to magnify 
as Paul calls it - Annabel & Wally go to the King 
School still - Ernie Galbraith was there & so 
many of the "faithful." John Cluffs led; Marie 
Bray appeared (remember them?) Bob Graham 
died & so did poor Ernie Springston, if you 
remember him. I saw Henry Schwering in 
N.Y. - Bill Dotson* brought him over. Bill W. 
wouldn't let him in the "convention."

Goodby, Clarence. Your good work 
speaks always of you to so many. It is a 
great joy to think of, isn't it.

As ever Faithfully

* Bill Dotson was a lawyer in Akron, Ohio. His story 
is in the book "Alcoholics Anonymous". Look for
"AA Number Three".