Old-Timey Sex Counselor and Angel's Wife(?) Subject of New Bio


Philadelphia-born Ida C. Craddock was a 19th century writer and free thinker who claimed to be married to a man from “the world beyond the grave,” spoke to him by Ouija board (the first Gchat) and promoted “ecstatic bliss.” Mavericky!

Craddock was also the first woman ever to be recommended for admission to the University of Pennsylvania by the school’s faculty, but the school rejected her because of her femaleness. She subsequently taught stenography, which is for ladies and is proper, but her curiosity and (we’re guessing, based on personal experience) only-child status drove her into more eclectic vocations where she could be herself. In her case, those fields were sex counseling—”She emphasized ‘strict male self-control’ and unbridled (if bridal) ‘female passion'” and promoted enjoyable married-people sex, says the Wall Street Journal—and the deal with the dead husband, whom she named Soph.

You can read more about Craddock in Heaven’s Bride: The Unprintable Life of Ida C. Craddock, American Mystic, Scholar, Sexologist, Martyr and Madwoman, a new biography by Harvard Divinity School professor Leigh Eric Schmidt. Totally going to look this one up at the library (my angel-husband took all my money in the divorce, leaving me nothing for book purchases).

An Eccentric Evangelist for Ecstatic Bliss [Wall Street Journal]

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin