The Emmanuel Movement
and the Jacoby Club




Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Boston, where the Emmanuel Movement (an important precursor of Alcoholics Anonymous) was founded in 1906 by the Rev. Elwood Worcester
The Emmanuel Movement was begun in 1906 by the Rev. Elwood Worcester at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Boston, which is located at 15 Newbury Street, where this avenue runs into the Boston Public Gardens at its east end. The gardens, together with Boston Common, form a vast open area of green grass and beautiful flower beds right in the heart of downtown Boston.


The Emmanuel Movement was an attempt to combine spirituality with a kind of simple lay psychotherapy. But it began simply as a medical mission carried out by two clergymen, the Rev. Elwood Worcester and Dr. Samuel McComb, which focused on the treatment of tuberculosis in Boston's slums. A weekly gathering allowed for fellowship among the people who came to them. When they added a "Class for the Treatment of Mental Disorders" with the help of Dr. Isador H. Coriat, a psychiatrist, they began moving into new areas of work. They soon discovered that a substantial number of these impoverished men were alcoholics, and began to develop special techniques for working with them.


Emmanuel Episcopal Church is located where Newbury Street runs into the Boston Public Gardens
Boston Common and the Public Gardens


It was found that it was the combination of spirituality, very simple psychological treatment, and fellowship all three which got people sober and kept them off the bottle. The similarities to the later Alcoholic Anonymous movement were substantial.

The Rev. Elwood Worcester, founder of the Emmanuel Movement, which successfully treated alcoholics and was an important precursor to Alcoholics Anonymous
ELWOOD WORCESTER was born in Massilon, Ohio, May 16, 1862; on Aug. 7, 1894, he married Blanche Stanley, the daughter of Bishop Rulison. He was an Episcopal clergyman in Boston, Massachusetts. He prepared for college in Rochester, New York, and earned his A.B. degree from Columbia College in 1886. He was a student at General Theological College in New York in 1887 and at the University of Leipzig (where he earned an A.M. and a Ph.D. in 1889). He was also awarded a D.D. from Hobart College. He was Professor of Philosophy and Chaplain of Lehigh University, 1890-96; Rector of St. Stephen’s Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1896-1904; then Rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Boston.

He was the founder of the Emmanuel Movement, the motive of which was to bring into effective cooperation the physician and the psychologically trained clergyman with their special knowledge and aptitudes in recognizing the effects of mental states on physical states, and in an effort to improve the conditions of human life generally, a large part of the work being devoted to the sick. In conjunction with Dr. McComb he held health conferences every Wednesday evening besides giving much of his time during the week to interest those in need of moral and spiritual uplift.

He was the author of Religious Opinions of John Locke; The Book of Genesis in the Light of Modern Knowledge; Religion and Medicine; The Living Word; The Christian Religion as a Healing Power; and Religion and Life.

Courtenay Baylor began working with Father Worcester in 1912, focusing solely on those with alcohol problems, and became the other key leader in the movement in later years. What was of special importance to A.A. was Baylor's influence on Rowland Hazard.
Dubiel shows in this book, that although A.A. tradition said that Hazard was a patient of the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung for a year in 1931, he could have spent two months with Jung at most during the course of that year, and even that would have been difficult, based on his study of the Hazard family papers.

But in the period immediately following the publication of this book, two other researchers, Amy Colwell Bluhm, Ph.D., and Cora Finch, working independently, established that Rowland actually arrived in Zurich in May 1926 (five years earlier than the traditional A.A. date). See Bluhm's article "Verification of C. G. Jung’s analysis of Rowland Hazard and the history of Alcoholics Anonymous" in the American Psychological Association's journal History of Psychology in November 2006 and Cora Finch's long account of Rowland Hazard's life and struggles with alcoholism at stellarfire.org. Other than the re-dating however, Bluhm's and Finch's work corroborated the A.A. tradition that Rowland Hazard was Carl Jung's patient for a considerable length of time, and the two of them discovered a good deal of detail about Rowland's relationship with Jung and the general background. Jung ended up telling Rowland that he had never seen alcoholics of his type recover until they became willing to commit themselves to the spiritual life. Since Rowland was a typical alcoholic, however, it took him seven more years of denial and misery -- as he continued to refuse to take Jung's prescription seriously -- before he met Courtenay Baylor from the Emmanuel Movement and began seeking a spiritual solution to his alcoholism.

Courtenay Baylor, Emmanuel Movement, alcoholism therapist who treated both Rowland Hazard and Richard R. Peabody, important figure in early Alcoholics Anonymous history

COURTENAY BAYLOR  --  The only surviving photo of Baylor, the famous alcoholism therapist from the Rev. Elwood Worchester's Emmanuel Movement, who had both Rowland Hazard and Richard R. Peabody as his patients, and was thus an important indirect influence on early Alcoholics Anonymous.

Baylor was the author of Remaking a Man: One Successful Method of Mental Refitting (1919).

Photo discovered by Mitchell K. in September 2012, after spending years looking for a verifiable likeness of Baylor in countless archives and libraries.

In this book, Dubiel shows how Hazard had to be hospitalized for his alcoholism in February and March of 1932, and then from January 1933 to October 1934 was again in bad shape and unable to carry on his business activities. But then he explains how Courtenay Baylor became Rowland Hazard's therapist in 1933, and continued to work with him through 1934. It was under the influence of Baylor's Emmanuel Movement therapy (with its combination of spirituality and simple lay therapy) that Hazard actually began to recover. Hazard was also attending Oxford Group meetings, but his family was paying Baylor to be his regular therapist.

In August 1934, of course, Hazard helped rescue Ebby Thacher from being committed to the Brattleboro Asylum, and three months later, in November 1934, Ebby visited Bill Wilson in his kitchen, in the famous scene recorded in the first chapter of the Big Book.

Bill W. was also influenced by Richard R. Peabody, author of The Common Sense of Drinking. Peabody was another of Courtenay Baylor's patients. After recovering, Peabody began trying to treat alcoholics himself. His system was a secularized and intellectualized version of the Emmanuel Movement method, with the spiritual component removed, and with no understanding on his part of the importance of fellowship among recovering alcoholics. Alcoholics were to get sober by practicing a rigid self-control and bringing their feelings and emotions under the control of reason. But his book did have an effect on Bill W.'s thought.


The first Boston A.A. group met at the Jacoby Club's 115 Newbury Street address, a few blocks south of here, and was strongly linked to the Jacoby Club
"Comm Ave" (Commonwealth Avenue)


In 1909 the Jacoby Club was launched by Emmanuel Church member and prominent rubber merchant Ernest Jacoby. He organized what he called "men meeting men" meetings in the church's basement. They were originally designed as informal auxiliary meetings for people who were affected by drinking problems to meet and help each other. The group grew rapidly and separated from the Emmanuel Movement in September 1913. For the next several decades it sought down-and-out men and put a special emphasis on fellowship as a path to recovery.

In 1940, Paddy Keegan came to Boston to start the first A.A. group in that city, and linked his Boston work with the Jacoby Club. The weekly A.A. meeting was at first held at the Jacoby Club's 115 Newbury Street address. This was slightly west of the Public Gardens, and a few blocks south of Commonwealth Avenue, with its tree-filled park running down its entire length. Ruth Hock at the New York A.A. office put Boston alcoholics in contact with Lawrence Hatlestad, the man who was running the Jacoby Club's program for alcoholics, giving them his address and telling them to go see Hatlestad.

The little A.A. group did not seek quarters of its own until June of 1941, when it moved just a little further west on Newbury Street, to 123 Newbury. It was not until the next year, 1942, when the A.A. group moved four blocks further west to 306 Newbury Street, that they began to totally distance themselves from the Jacoby Club.

It was at this point, in May 1942, that a Boston businessman named Richmond Walker came to his first A.A. meeting and got sober. Six years later, in 1948, Rich published (on his own)* a little A.A. meditational book called Twenty-Four Hours a Day, which quickly began sweeping the country. He is the second most highly published A.A. author (only Bill W. is more widely published), and is of enormous importance to A.A. history. For many years there were probably more A.A. members who owned a copy of Rich's little black book than a copy of the Big Book itself.

Rich had been educated in the same mix of ideas there in Boston which had produced the Emmanuel Movement and the Jacoby Club, and the A.A. "old-timers" who first introduced him to the program had (most of them) started out in the Jacoby Club. So in his book, Rich stressed the same three central necessities for recovery: spirituality, "re-educating" our subconscious minds, and drawing on the healing power of fellowship among recovering alcoholics.


*As a note, Richmond Walker's book had nothing to do with the Hazelden Foundation, which was not even started until 1949, the year after he first published the little volume. Hazelden, which was still not much more than a big farmhouse on a Minnesota farm, volunteered to take over printing and distributing the book in 1954, when Rich finally became overwhelmed by the task of printing and mailing out over ten thousand copies of the book every year all by himself. The real influences on Rich's meditational book came from the Jacoby Club, the Oxford Group, New Thought, nineteenth century interpretations of Kant and Plato, and of course above all the early A.A. tradition itself.


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