Bill Pittman 1947 ~ 2007
Bill Pittman

Dear Friends:

It is with great sadness that we share the news that William L. Pittman died suddenly on Friday, November 9, 2007 at his home in Center City, Minnesota. He was 60 years old.

Preceded in death by parents Marilyn and William. Survived by brother Mark (Nancy) Pittman, sister Mary (Tom) Legeros; nephews Matt (Kris) Pittman, Brad Pittman and Taylor Legeros; cherished aunt Eudora (Dot) Jenkins; Cousin Joe (Carol) Jenkins, Katherine Jenkins; Uncle William (Ardiss) Rendell; Cindy Rendell. Bill was a beloved brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend.

Raised in Saint Paul, Bill graduated with honors from the University of Minnesota and held advanced degrees from UMass Boston and NYU in applied sociology and archival methods. For the past 28 years he was an historian, author and publisher of over 15 books about AA recovery and alcoholism. Bill was an advocate of Alcoholics Anonymous and The Twelve Step Community. Early in his career he worked for the AA Grapevine and the AA Archives at the headquarters in New York City. After that, he helped to found Glenn Abbey Books in Seattle, Washington, which published books about recovery from alcoholism including some of his first books:

"Stepping Stones to Recovery," by Bill Pittman, (Seattle, Washington: Glen Abbey Books, 1988)

"The 12 Step Prayer Book" by Anonymous, (Seattle, Washington: Glen Abbey Books, 1990)

"Beware the First Drink! The Washingtonian Temperance Movement and Alcoholics Anonymous" by Leonard U. Blumberg with William L. Pittman, (Seattle, Washington: Glen Abbey Books, 1991)

Glenn Abbey Books Stepping Stones to Recovery 12 Step Prayer Book Beware the First Drink Glenn Abbey Books


He was co-author with Charlie Bishop Jr. of "To Be Continued" The Alcoholics Anonymous World Bibliography 1935-1994" in two editions in 1989 and 1994.

Volume One Volume Two

Bill returned to Minnesota in the early 1990's and in 1993 founded the Hazelden-Pittman Archives, a major repository of historic pamphlets, books, tracts and other materials on alcoholism dating back to 1790. During the 10 years he was with Hazelden, he founded the Hazelden-Pittman Archives Press and was instrumental in the publication of many books about AA pioneers. He also worked as their Director of Historical Information. Charlie Bishop Jr. recalled that he left Hazelden "to go fishing".

Among the many other books Pittman wrote and co-authored are: "AA The Way It Began," Bill Pittman, Seattle, Washington: Glen Abbey Books, 1988; reissued eleven years later as "The Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous" (Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden, 1999)
"AA The Way It Began" started out as a thesis he wrote for his B.S. degree in Alcohol Studies and Alcoholism Counseling at the University of Minnesota (June 1983), entitled "Alternative Explanations for the Beginnings of Alcoholics Anonymous, 1934-1939." He was around 36 at the time. This was at the beginning of his career as an author (and later publisher) of books on AA history. Nell Wing and Ernest Kurtz both helped Bill in the revision of this thesis as he was turning it into a book.

"Drop the Rock: Removing Character Defects," by Bill Pittman and Todd Weber, (Seattle, Washington: Glen Abbey Books, 1993)

AA the Way it Began Drop the Rock

Among the books he published by other authors through the Hazelden-Pittman Archives Press were:

"Women Pioneers in 12 Step Recovery," by Charlotte Hunter, Billye Jones, and Joan Zieger, 1999

"Key Principles of Successful Recovery: The Basic Tools for Progress, Growth, and Happiness," by Mel B. and Bill P., 1999

"The Soul of Sponsorship: The Friendship of Fr. Ed Dowling, S.J., and Bill Wilson in Letters," by Robert Fitzgerald, S.J., 1995

"Courage to Change: The Christian Roots of the Twelve-Step Movement", Compiled and edited by Bill Pittman and Dick B. 1994

Women Pioneers in 12 Step Recovery Key Principles of Successful Recovery The Soul of Sponsorship Courage to Change

There would have been no way that a great number of major books on AA history could have gotten published -- and none of us would even have known about these discoveries, and the fascinating material they uncovered -- without Bill's efforts.

"My Search For Bill W." By Mel B. (Hazelden-Pittman 2000)

The reprint of the 1933 Oxford Group book titled "What is the Oxford Group" and the modern interpretation called "Practice these Principles". (Hazelden-Pittman 1997)

"The Little Red Book Study Guide" by Bill P. (Hazelden-Pittman 1998)

"Harry Tiebout: The Collected Writings" Authors: Bill Pittman, Damian McElrath, Harry Tiebout (Hazelden-Pittman 1999)

"Ebby: The Man Who Sponsored Bill W." By Mel B. (Hazelden-Pittman 1998)

"Mrs Marty Mann: The First Lady of Alcoholics Anonymous" By Sally Brown and David R. Brown (Hazelden-Pittman 2001)

"Sister Ignatia: Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous" By Mary C. Darrah,( 2nd edition, Hazelden-Pittman 2001)

"Silkworth: The Little Doctor Who Loved Drunks" By Dale Mitchel (Hazelden-Pittman 2002)

Practice these Principles Little Red Book Study Guide Harry Tiebout: The Collected Writings

My Search for Bill W. Ebby, The Man Who Sponsored Bill W.

Mrs Marty Mann, the First Lady of Alcoholics Anonymous Silkworth, The Little Doctor Who Loved Drunks Sister Ignatia: Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous

Bill enjoyed fishing immensely. Often he would sit on the deck of his home overlooking a lake and watch the eagles fishing. He had two cats, "King" and "Princess," and lots of bird feeders. The cats lost out every time.
As a historian he visited the International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1990 in Seattle. At the big Sunday spiritual meeting with about 48,000 in the King Dome, he wryly remarked to a friend "pretty big meeting, maybe they should split it up."

He was passionate about uncovering, collecting, writing, preserving and passing on the history of Alcoholics Anonymous since August 14, 1979.

His work for the history of AA took him across the United States making good friends along the way in Seattle, California, Ohio, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida, New York City, Massachusetts and Vermont. He also leaves behind many dear friends in Saint Paul, Lindstrom and Center City.

Bill left his urban beginnings behind and spent recent years enjoying the rural countryside. He loved the peacefulness at his home in the woods. He was an avid fisherman and bird watcher. Many will remember his unique sense of humor. Billy was a gentle soul. We like to think that he's just "gone fishin."

A celebration of Bill's life was held on
Saturday, December 1st, 2007 at 1:00 PM at
The Retreat

1221 Wayzata Blvd East
Wayzata, Minnesota, 55391
952.476.0566
Click here for the program from the celebration.

In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to
The Wilson House

P.O. Box 46
East Dorset, Vermont 05253
802.362.5524

The Retreat
1221 Wayzata Blvd East
Wayzata, Minnesota, 55391
952.476.0566

Hazelden - Fellowship Club
680 Stewart Ave
St. Paul, Minnesota, 55102


Funeral arrangements will be handled by
Grandstrand Funeral Home 651.257.4000

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