William Griffith Wilson ("Bill W.") and Robert Holbrook Smith ("Dr. Bob S.") founded what would eventually be known as Alcoholics Anonymous. Wilson, a New York stockbroker, had recently overcome his ruinous alcoholism after speaking with a friend who'd sworn off drinking in exchange for religion and witnessing "a great white light" in his hospital room. He joined a Christian movement called the Oxford Group, which led to his meeting Smith in Akron, Ohio. Wilson, who knew from one of his doctors that alcoholism was at least in part a physical problem, spread the word to the struggling surgeon, who had his last drink on June 10, 1935, the founding date of AA. Smith died in 1950, and Wilson whom Aldous Huxley called "the greatest social architect of our century" died in 1971.
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