Robert Holbrook Smith was born on August 8th 1879 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. After graduation
from Dartmouth College in 1902, he completed his medical training at Rush Medical School in Chicago.
While attending college, he became a steady drinker; a situation
that progressed until his recovery. In 1915 , some 17 years after he had first met her, he
married his high school sweetheart Anne Ripley and brought her to Akron. Even though he became
a successful surgeon, he continued to struggle with alcoholism.
In 1935 Dr. Bob met Bill Wilson, a New York businessman and entrepreneur who was struggling with
his own alcoholism. The two immediately became close friends, with Bill showing Dr. Bob how he,
Bill, with spiritual help, was finally able to recover from the effects of alcoholism,. Dr. Bob
had his last drink on June 10, 1935, and that is considered to be the founding date of Alcoholics Anonymous.
In 1939 the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, written by Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob and other early members of
our fellowship was published, and the fellowship that came to be known as Alcoholics Anonymous
was born. Dr. Bob was called the "Prince of Twelfth Steppers" by Bill Wilson because he personally
treated more than 5000 alcoholics without charge. Also, it was in Dr. Bob's home that some of the
basic ideas essential to the A.A. way of life were developed.
Dr. Bob always said that A.A.'s fundamental ideas came from the study of the Bible and that
he personally did not write or have anything to do with the later writing of the 12 Steps.
In Dr. Bob's mind, the Steps in their deepest essence simply mean "love and service."
Dr. Bob died on November 16, 1950 in Akron, Ohio after 15 years of uninterrupted sobriety.
Ever a self-effacing and humble man, he might be astonished, and we feel very pleased, to
realize that Alcoholics Anonymous has become a world-wide organization that continues to
help so many helpless alcoholics begin and continue along the Road of Happy Destiny.