Autobiographies

HELEN'S LINKS:  BiographyCurriculum Vitae  |  Significant Dates | Autobiography
Bio by Ken Wapnick  Interview with Helen | Helen's Poetry
BILL'S LINKS:  BiographyCurriculum Vitae  |  Significant Dates | Autobiography
| Interview with Bill  |  Memorial Service

 Preface Biographical Sketch

Dr. Helen Cohn Schucman

Helen Cohn Schucman was born in New York City on July 14, 1909.  She grew up in a family that enjoyed an affluent lifestyle, including maid, cook, and full-time governess.  Helen spent most of her early years with her governess, well insulated from the rest of her family – parents Sigmund and Rose Cohn and brother Adolph, who was fourteen years older than she.

Even though Helen's parents were Jewish they did not practice Judaism.  Her father had no interest in religious matters, although her mother at times was involved in different spiritual movements and philosophies, particularly Christian Science.  Essentially, Helen was left to examine or follow whatever might appeal to her own religious leanings and notions.  Naturally curious as an adolescent about such things, this led her to informally explore Catholicism and Southern Baptist teachings, and at age twelve even to be baptized in a Baptist church.   Although Helen remained intrigued with Catholicism and would occasionally visit church, attend mass and light candles – activities she kept concealed from almost everyone – eventually she settled on a public and professional stance that wavered between agnosticism and atheism in dealing with God and religion overall.

Following high school, Helen graduated from New York University in 1935 with a B.A. degree, having studied literature, music, and language.  It was in college she met and married her husband, Louis Schucman, a compatible fellow student.  Louis opened a bookstore during the early years of their marriage and Helen worked with him there.  But in her early forties she grew increasingly restless about her own life, and with encouragement from her husband, returned to NYU to study psychology, earning a Ph.D. in 1957.

Helen held various prestigious positions in the academic world during her life, which included Associate Research Scientist, Instructor, Chief Psychologist at the Neurological Institute of the Presbyterian Hospital, and Associate Professor of Psychology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.  Until her retirement in 1976, she taught, did research, supervised clinical work, and collaborated in writing articles and chapters for professional journals and books.

Throughout her notable career in psychology, Helen emphasized the strict disciplines of research and scholarship and had little tolerance for "soft" interests like religion and spirituality.  Yet in 1958 when she met Dr. William Thetford – who became her boss and longtime, close friend – her life was inextricably changed.  Their joining together served as the catalyst for Helen to hear and take dictation from an inner Voice that began with the request: "This is a course in miracles, please take notes."

As "the reluctant scribe" of A Course in Miracles, Helen Schucman's name as its writer was not publicly revealed – as she had requested – until after her death, February 9, 1981.  Yet often when someone would learn that she had scribed the Course and would ask or challenge her about its content, she would frequently reply, "The Course speaks for itself."

Although Helen's name does not appear on A Course in Miracles, it does appear on a collection of her poems, written in the style of the Course, published posthumously as The Gifts of God by the Foundation for Inner Peace in 1982.


You will be able to purchase the electronic publications of the
Autobiography of Dr. Helen Schucman and the
Autobiography of Dr. William Thetford in the near future. 

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HELEN'S LINKS:  BiographyCurriculum Vitae  |  Significant Dates | Autobiography
Bio by Ken Wapnick  Interview with Helen | Helen's Poetry
BILL'S LINKS:  BiographyCurriculum Vitae  |  Significant Dates | Autobiography
| Interview with Bill  |  Memorial Service