Wit's End

Bill Wilson's writing studio, which his wife Lois called "Wit's End" and Bill referred to as "the shack," was built by Bill with the help of a friend around 1948. Among other notable objects inside is the very desk that the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions was written on at Stepping Stones and chapters of Alcoholics Anonymous (known as "The Big Book") were written on in Newark.

Other important works by Bill such as A.A. Comes of Age were written in Wit's End along with hundreds of letters, speeches, articles and documents.

Thanks to the generosity of 234 contributors, including a crucial early gift from the 3Bs Foundation and a matching gift challenge from the Goodnow Fund, Stepping Stones raised $50,000 from Oct. 2015 to Oct. 2016 for the Studio's preservation. Projects identified by architect Stephen Tilly are now under way to fortify the building itself. To contribute to preservation, Archives, or o give general support, click here.

Bill's Desk

This desk originally belonged to Hank P., the A.A. member who was as eager to have a book written as was Bill. Hank offered Bill space in his office in New Jersey. There, Bill wrote much of the book Alcoholics Anonymous sitting at this desk. Bill later bought the desk from Hank (who later insisted that Bill never paid him for it; Bill refused saying he paid once but not twice). It is assumed that the desk was first placed in the main house and brought to the studio after its completion.

Cigarette burns can be seen on the top rim of the desk, where Bill would put them and forget about them.

The west wall of the studio includes a fireplace and a sign above it that reads "But For The Grace of God".

The photograph to the right shows Dick Richardson, the Rockefeller Foundation trustee who was one of A.A.'s early friends. "Uncle Dick" and Bill Wilson were very close. Bill must have admired him very much, as it is the only one of two photos of friends in the studio. The crucifix on the wall and a cane leaning against the fireplace belonged to another close friend, Father Ed Dowling. These were given to Bill upon the priest's death.

Atop three filing cabinets along the east wall is a U.S. map dotted with pins charting A.A.'s growth through the 1960s. According to Nell Wing, the map was originally located in the A.A. office in New York City. She and other staff members would ceremoniously place the pins on the map when they were informed that a new group or meeting had been formed. Prior to 2013 the map was preserved through the support of Friends of Stepping Stones.

A photograph on the left wall is of Bill's lifelong Vermont friends, Charley Ritchie and Mark Whalon. Above it is the painting commonly known as the "Man On The Bed" painting, which the anonymous artist originally named "Came to Believe." (Painting copyright Grapevine)

The south wall contains some items placed there during Bill's lifetime and some placed by Lois after his death. One is a $25.00 Works Publishing, Inc. stock certificate. Bill and others hoped to finance the publication of Alcoholics Anonymous by sales of the certificates. The stock plan was unsuccessful, and the certificates were later purchased back.

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