Ed Webster, a founding member of the Nicollet Group of Minneapolis began teaching “Twelve Step Study” classes to other members of the local fellowship in 1942. By 1946, The Grapevine reported that according to the group’s records, 75% of its members achieved recovery. This phenomenal success was attributed in large part to Ed’s contributions. Ed and Barry Collins, another founding member of Minneapolis A.A., decided to collect the lectures in a small publication originally titled The Twelve Steps but later nicknamed “The Little Red Book.”
Though never officially a part of the A.A. canon of conference-approved literature, The Little Red Book was endorsed by both Dr. Bob, who had a hand in its writing, and by Bill W. Bill W. wrote Barry Collins about the Minneapolis book in November 1950:
The Little Red Book does fill a definite need and has wide circulation. Therefore, its usefulness is unquestioned. AA has a definite place for such a book. Someday I may try to write an introduction book myself which I hope might complement favorably with The Little Red Book. Here at the Foundation we are not policemen; we’re a service and AAs are free to read any book they choose.
This month’s offering from the Archives is a letter dated May 31, 1949 from Bill W. to Ed Webster thanking him for his contribution to the fellowship.