Masons may be familiar with the name of this anti-Mason, simply because of the selling and publishing of anti-Masonic literature under his name for over a century. Cook's life would seem to position him nicely for his beginnings in this endeavor having married (in the mid-1800s) the daughter of Jonathan Blanchard who was strongly opposed to so-called 'secret societies' with a particular emphasis on Freemasonry.
In 1867, Cook entered the stationery and publishing business in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He was one of the organizers of the National Christian Association and his name appeared on the charter which was filed with the state.
Seeing the profit to be made from selling both Masonic and anti-Masonic material, he built a flourishing business selling such items under the name of "Ezra A. Cook Publications, Inc." and "Powner & Company"/"Charles T. Powner Company". The identity of Mr. Powner remains to this day elusive.
During the late 1800's and well into the middle of the 1900s, many Masons would buy books and pamphlets from Cook/Powner not realizing them to be anti-Masonic. Their anti-Masonic material was neatly interwoven with items from Masonic luminaries.
Although apparently under different ownership today, it was quite hilarious for this site's author to receive an e-mail from the Powner Company seeking joint venture advertising. Some folks just seem to salivate at the prospect of something they perceive to be anti-Masonic and jump at the opportunity to get on board!
Background information on this page taken from Alphonse Cerza's "Anti-Masonry: Light on the Past and Present Opponents of Freemasonry" published as the Transactions of the Missouri Lodge of Research, 1962 Volume.
This page last updated on 2 March 2004
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