Henrietta Buckler Seiberling

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Henrietta Buckler Seiberling
Henrietta Buckler Seiberling.jpg
BornMarch 18, 1888
DiedDecember 5, 1979(1979-12-05) (aged 91)
Alma materVassar College

Henrietta Buckler Seiberling (March 18, 1888 – December 5, 1979) was a member of a Christian Fellowship group named the Oxford group. She and others of the Oxford group helped found Alcoholics Anonymous.

Early life[edit]

Born in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky to Judge Julius A. Buckler and Mary Maddox, Seiberling spent her childhood in Texas. She remained in Texas until she went to Vassar College to receive her A.B. degree with a major in music and a minor in psychology, as she was a gifted pianist.[1] While serving as a lieutenant in the Ohio National Guard, she met her husband Fredrick Seiberling. They married in 1917 in Akron, Ohio, and had three children.[2][3]


Though Seiberling herself was not an alcoholic, she believed as a Christian that it was her responsibility to solve social problems. Seiberling began the “alcoholic squad" of the Oxford Group Movement. In their first case, Dr. Bob Smith admitted that he was a secret drinker, marking the first time the Akron Oxford Group prayed together to help someone through alcoholism.[4] Although the majority of the Seiberling family were members at a Lutheran church near their house, she was not. Seiberling was more of a "student of the bible," rather than a "church-goer."[5]

The Oxford Group came along when Henrietta's marriage to Fredrick Seiberling was crumbling. Her daughter Dorthy said that "It gave her a new focus, and helped her see that there was more to life than marital problems."[6] Henrietta grew closer to Bob and Ann Smith, and would call Ann everyday to talk about the comfort they both received through the Oxford Group.[6] The Oxford Group's beliefs inspired some of the early practices of Alcoholics Anonymous as founded by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith along with others. Henrietta Seiberling and her husband were devoted supporters of Alcoholics Anonymous, opening their home to it members and also leading meetings of the Oxford Group for those who were interested to attend.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Her son, John F. Seiberling, was a Representative in the United States Congress from Ohio and a member of the Democratic party. Seiberling also had 2 daughters, Mary S. Huhn and Dorothy Seiberling Steinberg, who was a deputy editor for the New York Times Magazine.[8]

Death and legacy[edit]

Seiberling died in New York City on December 5, 1979. On her gravestone is an inscription familiar to both the Oxford Group people and to the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous: "Let Go and Let God."[9]


  1. ^ "A Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous". The Washington Post. 8 December 1979. ProQuest 147036426.
  2. ^ "American National Biography Online". www.anb.org. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  3. ^ "BRIDE OF LIEUT. SEIBERLING.: Miss Henrietta N. Buckler of New York Weds in Akron, Ohio". The New York Times. 12 October 1917. ProQuest 99858807.
  4. ^ "Henrietta Buckler Seiberling, 1888-1979 | Akron Women's History". blogs.uakron.edu. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  5. ^ Nelson, Daniel (2009). A Passion for the Land. Kent, Ohio, USA: The Kent State University Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-60635-036-2.
  6. ^ a b Robertson, Nan (1988). Getting Better. New York, NY: William Morrow and Company. pp. 51–52.
  7. ^ B, Dick (2006-06-30). When Early Aas Were Cured And Why. Good Book Publishing Company. ISBN 9781885803948.
  8. ^ "Henrietta Seiberling, 91, One of Founders of A.A.". The New York Times. December 6, 1979. ProQuest 123897655.
  9. ^ B, Dick (2011-12-01). The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous. First Edition Design Pub. ISBN 9781937520397.