The term 'involuntarily celibate' had been used in literature prior to the internet, and sometimes, but rarely used in a semi-academic way. It wouldn't be until the internet era that the term entered academia. Prior to the internet, the term, "involuntary celibate", was used in literature, including but not limited to, ''[[Antoine Banier|The Mythology and Fables of the Ancients, Explain'd from History, Volume 3]]'' in 1739, ''The Doctrine and Law of Marriage, Adultery and Divorce'', 1826, by Hector Davies Morgan, M.A, Volume Six of the British satirical magazine ''Punch'' in 1844, ''Family Herald Magazine'' in 1876, ''The Population Question According to T. R. Malthus and J. S. Mill'' by Charles Robert Drysdale in 1892, ''Virginia'' by Ellen Glasgow in 1913, ''The Building'' by Peter Martin in 1960, in detail in ''[[Blueprint for a Higher Civilization]]'' by [[Henry Flynt]] in 1975, ''Law and Liberation'' by Robert E. Rhodes in 1986, ''Criminal Tendencies'' by William O'Rourke in 1987, ''Human Sexuality: the search for understanding'' by David Knox in 1984, and ''Understanding Sexuality'' by Adelaide Haas and Kurt Haas in 1990. While never directly using the verbatim terms, "involuntarily celibate" or "incel," famous French author [[Michel Houellebecq]] has written about the topic vicariously through his many fictional works about [[involuntarily celibate]] and layless men. Famous English novelist and non-fiction writer George Orwell also briefly touched upon [[involuntarily celibate]] (without explicitly using the term) tramps in his book about the lives of the underclass, Down and Out in Paris and London, in 1933.
Some notable pre-internet people who were arguably incelibates include [[Ludwig van Beethoven]] who suffered serial rejection at the hands of women, [[Emily Dickinson]] who suffered from agoraphobia, [[Joseph Merrick]] aka the Elephant Man who suffered from severe face and body deformities, artist [[Van Gogh]] who was perpetually rejected and eventually pursued a [[relationship]] with a hooker, [[Van Gogh]]'s famous painter [[manlet]] friend [[Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec]] was severely mocked for being a [[manlet]] and eventually just chose to live in the brothel he frequented, [[Friedrich Nietzsche]] who was famously rebuffed by every woman he approached and died from
an STD he contracted from a hooker, [[G. H. Hardy]] a famous mathematician who couldn't bear looking at himself in the mirror and never held steady [[relationship]]s with women, bisexual actor [[Anthony Perkins]] who for most of his life had a pathological fear of women remaining a virgin (at least to women) at age 39, [[Ed Gein]] who Perkins had played in the movie Psycho was terrified of human contact and probably died a virgin, and English recording artist [[Nick Drake]] who suffered from extreme shyness of women<ref>https://pleasekillme.com/remembering-nick-drake/</ref> and in all likelihood died a virgin (according to most analyses). Famous folk-pop singer and pianist [[Daniel Johnston]] was also a well-known incelibate. He was diagnosed with severe schizophrenia, and his songs detail his life in and out of mental hospitals, and debilitating unrequited love for various women. He may be the only famous modern pop musician to be an incelibate.