In 1969 the scribing of the Text and Workbook was finished by Helen Schucman and co-scribe Bill Thetford. This resulted in what is referred to as the ‘Urtext’. The pages stand about 2 feet high when placed in a stack. At this time a lengthy process of retyping the Course began. Bill Thetford was adamant that no changes be made other than correcting the typing errors and removing specifically personal material. Jesus designated Bill to be the one in charge of all changes.
In the Spring of 1972 the dictation of the third volume, Manual for Teachers, began. In September 1972 the retyping of the text was completed. The transcribing of the third and final volume, the Manual for Teachers, was completed.
Ken Wapnick was included in the group of six people who received a copy of the 1972 manuscript. In approximately six months, after becoming a close friend of Helen’s, at the end of 1973, Ken encouraged her to work with him to edit the document in order to make it more ‘printer ready’. Ken describes, in his own words what transpired at this time:
“I commented to Helen and Bill that I thought the manuscript needed some additional editing. Some of the personal and professional material still remained, and seemed inappropriate for a published edition.” Absence From Felicity” CH 12 “The Editing”.
This was the editing project which Ken and Helen finished in a little over a year, i.e. in the spring of 1975.
Judith Skutch met Helen, Bill, and Ken after the editing project had been completed. The manuscript was typed one final time by an elderly Maryknoll Sister and was ready for its journey into the public arena as a trimmed down and publication ready A COURSE IN MIRACLES [ACIM].
However, the 1972 manuscript, before it was edited, had been seen by only a few people. Helen and Bill sent a copy to Hugh Lynn Cayce, Edgar Cayce’s son, at the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.). Eventually, the manuscript was stored in the A.R.E. library where it was discovered, put into digital format, and placed on the internet by persons unknown.
After the HLC manuscript was discovered on the internet in 1999, it came as quite a surprise to the Course Community.
[It should also be noted that the Urtext, which is the rough, original typing from shorthand notes, was obtained legally from the Library of Congress by the parties being sued: Endeavor Academy and CIMS. A copy was illegally leaked by outside parties.]
This 1972 manuscript was not legally able to be published until the copyright on the 1975 edition was ruled null and void in 2003.
When the Course was found to have been placed in the public domain, that ruling also applied to the predecessor renditions.
We are just happy that we have the freedom NOW to read any version that we choose. When “Absence from Felicity” was published by Kenneth Wapnick we longed to read the special messages and the original manuscript and the Urtext [very first typing before HLC] and now we can.
We hope that this answers a lot of your questions and if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us. ♥
~ Course in Miracles Society