Archives

Archives Committee

Purpose

Consistent with A.A.’s primary purpose of maintaining our sobriety and helping other alcoholics achieve recovery, the Archives of Alcoholic Anonymous will:

  • Receive, classify, and index all relevant material, such as administrative files and records, correspondence, and literary works and artifacts considered to have historical importance to Alcoholic Anonymous.
  • Hold and preserve such materials.
  • Provide access to these materials, as determined by the archivists in consultation with the trustee’s Archives committee, to member’s of Alcoholic Anonymous and to others who may have a valid need to review such material, contingent upon committee to preserve the anonymity of our member’s.
  • Serve as a resource and laboratory to stimulate and nourish learning.
  • Provide information services to assist the operations of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Promote knowledge and understanding of the origins, goals and programs of Alcoholic Anonymous.

Mission Statement

Pursuant to AA’s primary purpose of maintaining our sobriety and helping other Alcoholics to achieve sobriety, the archives of Alcoholics Anonymous adopts the following mission statement: “To receive, classify and index all related material, including but not limited to administrative files, records, correspondence, literary, and artifactual works considered to have historical import to Alcoholics Anonymous. To hold and preserve such material, making access possible, as determined by the present archivist in consultation with the archives committee, to members of Alcoholics Anonymous and those of the public who may have a valid need to review said material, such access to be provided only during business hours and with a mindful view toward the anonymity of our members.”

The Archives repository welcomes visitors. As the Archives does not keep regular office hours, visits are by appointment only.

Covid-19 and the Archives Repository 

During times of physical distancing we regret to inform you that the BC/Yukon Archives Repository will remain closed to in person tours. To compensate for the closure we hope you will enjoy viewing the archives repository via a narrated virtual tour. The power point presentation was created by Panel 63 Archives Committee for the International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia 2015. 

Basic Committee Functions

The Archives committee is responsible for establishing policies, budgets and procedures. Through its group conscience, it undertakes and maintains final responsibility and authority for the use of the Archives. In all of its actions, the Archives committee needs to be guided by A.A.’s primary purpose. Thus, if non-A.A. friends are asked to serve on the committee, which may be desirable due to their interest and special knowledge or expertise, they ought to be people who are thoroughly familiar with our primary purpose, as well as our A.A. Traditions.

One of the most important functions of the Archives committee is to establish a Collection Scope, defining and describing what your Archives will and will not collect, and why. These parameters will guide the archivists in gathering material of historical significance and will reduce the amount of time and space spent collecting and preserving relatively insignificant materials.

History Timeline of the BC/Yukon Area

To view the timeline for BC/Yukon Area 79 please click here: https://bcyukonaa.org/area-79/appointed-members/archives/archives-timeline/

Your BC Yukon Area 79 Collection Scope is as follows:

The BC Yukon Area 79 focus is on local A.A. history within the confines of our area boundaries. Histories and information within the scope of our collection focuses on our local AA groups and its members, our Districts, local AA Intergroup offices, as well as our Area 79 Quarterly and Assemblies. Any information or history from an event, workshop or conference that is linked to our General Service Structure (National and regional AA Conferences) will also be collected.

Archives does not seek to acquire collections beyond the level of history. Donations to our repository will require a Deed of Submission form to be filled out with each submission. All forms must have a phone number attached so that we can contact the donor for future reference or if the item needs to be returned. We cannot at this time accept donations outside of our scope. We will however strive to work with donors and where the collection would be a better fit in a different archives collection, archives will work with the donor to place it in the appropriate repository.

We do not engage in the buying and selling of archives material.

Committee Chair

The Archives Committee Chair is an appointed position on the General Service Committee. For more information about the duties and responsibilities of the Chairperson, please see the Job Description below.

Contact the Archives Chair

For those wishing to submit their resumes for either an elected or appointed position on the Area 79 General Service Committee, please download the suggested service resume form Service Resume. The link will reroute you to our elections section of our website. The use of the resume form is not mandatory for either elected positions or appointed positions. However, its use does assist both the candidate and the Fellowship in several ways. These include the provision of consistent information in an organized way and assisting candidates in adhering to time limits for presentation of resumes.

To let your name stand for an appointed position please see: Elections Page

Further Information

See below for some additional information that may be helpful.

Resources for local A.A. Archivists and A.A. Members

The following pdf documents are available for download from the “Resources for local A.A. Archivists and A.A. Members” page on A.A.’s World Services Website

  • Archives Workbook
  • Archives Guidelines
  • The A.A. Archives
  • Oral History kits

Documents for Collecting History

The following history collection documents are available here:

Other Related Archives Documents:

The Archives repository welcomes visitors. As the Archives does not keep regular office hours, visits are by appointment only.
Please send a request by emailing the Area 79 Archives Committee Chair

Archives Committee Chair: Job Description

From the pamphlet “The A.A. Archives”:

How do A.A. Archives help carry the message of recovery?

“The collective experience of the past reminds us of how little hope there once was for the suffering alcoholic — and how far we’ve come, thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous. And as we painstakingly sort out fact from fiction, we ensure that our original message of recovery, unity and service will continue undiluted and true.”

As is any job as a chairperson for a committee, this one is always busy and provides a rich and rewarding experience, especially for a person with an interest in our history.

Duties

  • Take responsibility for prioritizing and guiding the projects for the two-year term.
  • Pack, and ship when necessary, archive kits for travel assignments for GSC members.
  • Be available for members wishing to come into the archives to find material for projects, presentations, coming events and archives repository tours
  • Keep up with the cleaning of the archives room.
  • Process incoming archival material.
  • Do a monthly inventory of supplies, workbooks, contents of archives kits and forms. Continually make sure that all are updated.
  • Work with the archivist to maintain the archives collection
  • Continue to recruit archives volunteers, assign projects and meet with them on a regular basis.
  • Check contribution cans when archive kits are returned, and forward money to treasurer.
  • Inform the Area 79 website chair of any changes in hours of operation for the archives room.

Duties Common to all GSC Members

  • Attend and participate in all regularly scheduled General Service Committee (GSC) meetings (held in Vancouver on the first Wednesday of each month). Meetings could also be held virtually when necessary.
  • Reply to email, telephone and written questions. Willingness to learn and develop computer/technical skills as necessary.
  • Attend and participate in all quarterlies and assemblies in-person or virtually as required.
  • At each quarterly, assembly and GSC meeting, provide reports on activities since the previous event.
  • Chair appropriate committee at quarterlies and assemblies. Assist with venue set up and tear down.
  • Maintain contact with district and local committee chairs.
  • Maintain contact with district committee members (DCMs) assigned to GSC member’s committee.
  • Submit regular monthly expense reports to the treasurer.
  • Participate in preparation for the General Service Conference by reviewing and summarizing the assigned agenda background material, providing information to DCMs, chairing the committee meeting at the Pre-conference Assembly, and providing the committee’s recommendations to the assembly and delegate.
  • Facilitate workshops.
  • Participate on Ad Hoc committees as required.
  • Be available for travel assignments, including taking Area 79 archives and/or Grapevine kits to A.A. events.
  • Review www.bcyukonaa.org content as it relates to the member’s position, providing updates and new materials to the website chair as needed.
  • Prepare and assist for transition of your position at end of your rotation. Ensure flash drive is updated regularly and provided to Secretary annually.
  • Maintaining blue boards/display boards and literature supplies for travel events.

Further Considerations

The time commitment required is substantial and will vary from position to position, and also with the particular skills possessed by the member. Generally, some time will be spent every day to check and respond to emails and phone messages. Some jobs have workloads that are heavier at certain times than at others.
It is encouraged that you speak with members of the GSC (current or past) to ask more specific questions if you wish to put your name forward for a position.
General Service Committee membership may sound demanding, but, as we so often find in A.A., the rewards are far greater than time and effort put in.

Archivist: Job Description

The archivist serves BC/Yukon Area 79 by “keeping the record straight”. By collecting, preserving and sharing important historical elements, the archivist helps to carry the message of sobriety to present and future generations, ensuring, as Bill W. said, “that myth does not prevail over fact”. The archivist is appointed to a three- to five-year term.

Archivist as A.A. member:

  • is an A.A. member, at least two years sober, who is willing to learn our Traditions as they pertain to the archives, especially our tradition of anonymity;
  • has a special interest in our history;
  • has a willingness to acquire skills and information on archival procedures through education or consultation with other professionals in the field.

Archivist as historical gatherer:

  • determines which items have historical significance and are worth keeping, and which are of dubious value and should be rejected or discarded (examples can be found in the archives workbook);
  • collects a variety of historical materials, including documents, correspondence, administrative files (such as group attendance lists), artifacts and memorabilia with the understanding that all materials are donated and none are paid for;
  • arranges to add oral histories by audio-taping old-timers.

Archivist as custodian and conservationist:

  • conserves old audio tapes by transferring them to digital formats, preserves old documents by removing tape and using non-acidic paper;
  • adds collected items to the inventory list and indexes them by groups or series according to GSO archives workbook guidelines;
  • manages a current showcase of archival material in the intergroup office;
  • responds to requests from the membership for group or individual information, donations of material or visits to the archives;
  • seeks outside professionals for help when necessary.

This is a volunteer position open to A.A. members with easy access to the lower mainland archives office. Candidates are ratified by the General Service Committee. (Note: there are other volunteer positions available within the archives room for anyone wishing to be a part of the archives.

To contact the archivist, email the archives committee chair at archives@bcyukonaa.org***

Welcome to the wonderful world of Area 79’s archives

There is much to do and many hands make for lighter work. Below are some brief descriptions of a few of the areas in which we could use some help. The repository is situated in Vancouver and most of the positions require you to go into the office, which limits them to lower mainland members, but there are a few duties that long-distance members can do.

All positions would work under the guidance of the Archives Chair and Archivist.

Archives Volunteer Opportunities

DATA ENTRY

This requires someone to work with the archivist and help enter catalogued items, their location, a brief description and a few other pertinent details into a master database. We are working to get a complete inventory into this master database. Minimum computer skills and access to the Greater Vancouver Intergroup office would be required.

SCANNER

This person would focus on scanning fragile material (both photos and documents). Some technical knowledge for touch-up and manipulation would be required, i.e. to remove last names on documents, size photos, etc.

LISTENING PERSON

Someone to listen to cassette tapes and identify them. Ideally for an in-town person, but may be set up for an out-of-town person. Also, someone is needed to listen to reel-to-reel tapes to identify them. This person would need to live in town.

MOVIE PERSON

We have a box of 8mm home movies that need to be viewed and documented. Ideally these would also be transferred to VHS. We have the projector — and we would have to have a group conscience as to whether these could be loaned out for someone from out of town to do.

TYPISTS, WRITERS AND READERS

Histories are being collected from members and districts in the forms of speaker tapes, written experiences and filled-out questionnaires. These need to be first transcribed (typed into the computer so we have a digital copy). Then information needs to be compiled, and written into a suitable form for eventual publishing. Lastly we need a reading committee to help edit and make recommendations. These positions are very suitable for out-of-towners and may be done via email or regular mail.