Chapman Cohen

On this date in 1868, freethought advocate Chapman Cohen was born in Leicester, England, to Enoch Cohen, a confectioner, and his wife, Deborah (née Barnett). At the age of 21, he began a 50-year career as a popular and concise freethought writer and lecturer. When G.W. Foote died in 1915, Cohen succeeded him as president of the National Secular Society and editor of its publication The Freethinker. Cohen was an efficient manager who brought security to the National Secular Society. He married happily and had a daughter, who died at age 29, and a son, who became a physician.

He gave up the NSS presidency in 1949 and handed The Freethinker over to F.A. Ridley in 1951. Cohen is considered the “last great Victorian freethinker.” (Victor E. Neuburg, The Encyclopedia of Unbelief.) He wrote many articles and pamphlets, as well as Almost an Autobiography (1940). D. 1954.

Freedom From Religion Foundation