Thomas Bird Moscher was a printer who courted controversy in his time (the turn of the nineteenth century), and is now widely regarded as one of the first of the publishing industry’s ‘pirates’ – although that term is often applied far too liberally, and conceals Moscher’s true contribution to American fine press printing.
Thomas Bird Moscher was a stationer and bookseller, whose life took an unfortunate turn in the late nineteenth century when his wife and friend died, throwing Moscher into a period of deep despair. What emerged from this ennui was Moscher as a printer, as he took it upon himself to develop his life-long interest in printing and publishing. He concentrated on publishing the lesser-known works of famous authors such as Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman, Lois Stevenson and other greats. Although never wildly successful, Moscher arguably did much to set the standard for American book printing through his dedication to minimal, aesthetic styles.
Moscher was a figure surrounded by accusations and scandals however, as he regularly published works which he had no ‘rights’ to, or paid a fraction of a stipend to their owners or artists. Charges of piracy were often levied against him, and Moscher paid court fines throughout his life, without seemingly ever being inclined to desist from his activity! One of his major contributions to American early printing was the making public of books that were previously held in private collections, or for member’s-only libraries. We can gladly say today, that some of these memoirs would never have seen the light of day or received public attention without Moscher’s liberal attitude to copyright laws!
Another great reason to collect Thomas Moscher is that his works have been (grudgingly) recognised as fine art. He owed much to the Arts and Craft movement of William Morris, but instead of the opulence and ornamentation of Morris, Moscher chose to champion minimalism and elegance, which in turn influenced a generation of New England independent printers.
Collection Thomas Moscher Press titles can be difficult, as the numbers produced were small, and may have been swallowed up – somewhat ironically, given Moscher’s reputation – into private libraries and galleries. Editions of his Rubayit of Omar Khayam are still available at affordable prices. It is perhaps best to approach a Moscher collection with a detective’s zeal: do not focus on the largest of auction sites and institutions, but focus on the smaller book dealers and independent antiquarian bookshops!
Thomson, James. The City Of Dreadful Night. Thomas Mosher (1892). limited numbered edition of 400 small-paper copies;
Bridges, Robert. The Growth Of Love. Thomas Mosher (1894). 400 copies; preface by Lionel Johnson
Mosher, Thomas. The Bibelot. Thomas Mosher (1895). A Reprint Of Poetry And Prose For Book Lovers, Chosen In Part From Scarce Editions And Sources Not Generally Known ;21 Volume Set; 4500 printed
Rossetti, William Michael. The Germ. Thomas Mosher (1898). Dante Gabriel Rossetti;Thoughts Towards Nature In Poetry, Literature And Art; 450 copies
Swinburne, Algernon Charles. Laus Veneris. Thomas Mosher (1899). Poems And Ballads; 450 copies printed
Rossetti, Christina. Monna Innominata. Thomas Mosher (1899). Sonnets And Songs; 925 copies
Alexander, Francesca. The Story Of Ida. Thomas Mosher (1899). Epitaph On An Etrurian Tomb By Francesca Alexander;100 Numbered Copies
Arnold, Matthew. Empedocles On Etna.. Thomas Mosher (1900). Edition limited to 450 copies on Van Gelder handmade paper
Pater, Walter. Marius The Epicurean. Thomas Mosher (1900). His Sensations And Ideas; 450 copies; two volumes
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Underwoods. Thomas Mosher (1900). 100 Numbered Copies
Macleod, Fiona. From The Hills Of Dream. Thomas Mosher (1901). Threnodies, Songs And Other Poems; 925 copies printed on Van Gelder paper; 100 numbered copies on Japan vellum
Schwob, Marcel. Mimes. Thomas Mosher (1901). Translated By A. Lenalie; With A Prologue And Epilogue; 500 copies printed on Van Gelder paper.
Fitzgerald, Edward. Polonius. Thomas Mosher (1901). A Collection Of Wise Saws And Modern Instances ; fifty numbered copies printed on Japan vellum; an edition of 504 copies.
Swinburne, Algernon Charles. Songs Before Sunrise.. Thomas Mosher (1901). Limited edition of 450; Poets portrait at frontispiece; 39 poems
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel. The Blessed Damozel. Thomas Mosher (1901). Reprinted From The Germ; limited to 450 copies on Kelmscott hand-made paper
Morris, William. A Dream Of John Ball. Thomas Mosher (1902). 925 copies on Van Gelder paper
Symonds, John Addington. Fragilia Labilia. Thomas Mosher (1902). 450 copies printed
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel. Poems. Thomas Mosher (1902). 450 copies on Van Gelder hand made paper. four copies printed entirely on vellum and signed by the publisher,
Swinburne, Algernon Charles. Poems & Ballads. Thomas Mosher (1902). 450 copies on Van Gelder hand made paper.
Dowson, Ernest. The Poems Of Ernest Dowson. Thomas Mosher (1902). Verses, The Pierrot Of The Minute, Decorations, In Verse And Prose; limited edition of 600 copies printed on Van Gelder Paper.
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel. Ballads And Sonnets. Thomas Mosher (1903). Limited edition of 450 copies printed on hand-made Van Gelder paper
Symons, Arthur. Lyrics By Arthur Symons. Thomas Mosher (1903). 950 copies on Ven Gelder paper
Yeats, William Butler:. The Land Of Hearts Desire.. Thomas Mosher (1903). 950 ordinary copies on Van Gelder, from a total edition of 1060 (100 copies on Japan vellum, ten on real vellum);
Wilde, Oscar. The Poems Of Oscar Wilde. Thomas Mosher (1903). Ravenna, Poems, The Sphinx. The Ballad Of Reading Gaol; 600 Hundred Copies Printed on Van Gelder Hand-Made Paper
Pater, Walter. Uncollected Essays. Thomas Mosher (1903). 450 COPIES PRINTED ;50 copies on Japan vellum
Wilde, Oscar. Intentions By Oscar Wilde. Thomas Mosher (1904). four essays :The Decay Of Lying, Pen, Pencil And Poison, The Critic As Artist, The Truth Of Masks; 600 unnumbered copies on Van Gelder handmade paper.
Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen. The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Thomas Mosher (1904). 100 numbered copies on Japan vellum; First Separate American Edition; 925 copies on Van Gelder paper.
Swinburne, Charles. Tristram Of Lyonesse. Thomas Mosher (1904). Limited To 450 Copies on Van Gelder paper.
Whitman, Walt. The Book Of Heavenly Death .. Thomas Mosher (1905). 500 copies printed on Van Gelder paper; edited by Horace Traubel
Wilde, Oscar. The Poems Of Oscar Wilde. Thomas Mosher (1905). Ravenna, Poems, The Sphinx, The Ballad Of Reading Gaol, Uncollected Poems; 750 copies
Rodd, Renelle. Rose Leaf and Apple Leaf. Thomas Mosher (1906). Limited Edition Of 750 Copies
Henley, W. E. Echoes Of Life And Death. Thomas Mosher (1908). Forty-Seven Lyrics By William Ernest Henley; 100 copies printed on vellum.
Johnson, Lionel. Twenty-One Poems. Thomas Mosher (1908). Selected By William Butler Yeats ;950 copies printed
Swinburne, Charles. Felise. Thomas Mosher (1909). A Book Of Lyrics Chosen From Algernon Charles Swinburne; 100 numbered copies on Japan vellum; edition of 925 copies.
Burton, Richard. The Kasidah Of Haji Abdu El-Yezdi. Thomas Mosher (1909). Translated And Annotated By His Friend And Pupil; Limited edition of 925 copies on Van Gelder paper.
Yeats, W. B. The Land Of Hearts Desire.. Thomas Mosher (1909). 500 copies printed on Japan Vellum
Thompson, Francis. Poems. Thomas Mosher (1911). 450 copies printed on hand-made paper
Wilde, Oscar. Salome. Thomas Mosher (1911). A Tragedy In One Act Translated From The French Of Oscar Wilde By Alfred Bruce Douglas; limited to 500 copies printed on Van Gelder hand-made paper .
Upson, Arthur. Sonnets And Songs.. Thomas Mosher (1911). Edition limited to 50 copies printed on Japan vellum
Calvert, Edward. Ten Spiritual Designs. Thomas Mosher (1913). Enlarged From The Proofs Of The Originals On Copper, Wood And Stone; 400 copies printed on Van Gelder hand-made paper
Mosher, Thomas B. The Bibelot. Thomas Mosher (1914). A Reprint Of Poetry And Prose For Book Lovers; 22 volumes
Burton, Sir Richard. The Kasidah Of Haji Abdu El - Yezdi. Thomas Mosher (1915). A Lay Of The Higher Law; 250 copies printed on Van Gelder paper; introduction by William Marion Reedy;Translated And Annotated By His Friend And Pupil, F B Sir Richard F Burton
Villon, Francois. Poems Of Master Francois Villon Of Paris. Thomas Mosher (1916). Now First Done Into English Verse In The Original Forms With A Biographical And Critical Introduction By John Payne; Limited to 725 copies and printed on Van Gelder hand-made paper.
Whitman, Walt. Leaves Of Grass. Thomas Mosher (1919). limited to 100 numbered copies; 50 vellum copies signed by the publisher.
Gissing, George. By The Ionian Sea. Thomas Mosher (1920). Notes Of A Ramble In Southern Italy; 700 copies printed; Limited to 25 copies on japan vellum
Schwob, Marcel. The Childrens Crusade.. Thomas Mosher (1923). 450 copies on Kelmscott handmade paper; Translated by Henry Copley Greene, with a new introduction by John L. Foley.
Hill Bindery, Monastery. Amphora. Thomas Mosher (1926). 2 Vols.;A Collection Of Prose And Verse Chosen By The Editor Of The Bibelot [With] Amphora: A Second Collection Of Prose And Verse Chosen By The Editor Of The Bibelot; limited to 925 copies