Bibliographies of the Mosher Books

Bishop, Philip R.

Thomas Bird Mosher — Pirate Prince of Publishers. A Comprehensive Bibliography & Source Guide to The Mosher Books Reflecting England’s National Literature & Design. With an Introduction by William E. Fredeman. New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press; London: The British Library, 1998. xvi, 536 pp. (including 44-page descriptive index); 230 illustrations and eight-page color section; tables, charts, graphs. Entries arranged in alphabetical order by book title.


This groundbreaking work describes the books produced by the American publisher, Thomas Bird Mosher, whose editions helped convey England’s literature and design to the American public. The penetrating and insightful introduction by Dr. William E. Fredeman, one of the foremost Pre-Raphaelite scholars of our day, gives the much fuller context within which Mosher promulgated his unique publishing venture. Additionally, Fredeman describes the full array of extraordinary features found in this work. This exhaustive study not only provides abundant new primary research, including new evidence on royalties paid, but also presents the material in a novel way. An overview with tables & graphs, and a set of highly useful appendices, neatly combine and cross-reference with the work’s primary bibliography. Also, for the first time, the reader is presented with two check-lists of Mosher Press publications later printed by Mosher’s “successors.” The book’s opening section is particularly useful in clearly presenting the various series, privately printed books, and books printed on vellum. The section on binders and bindings (illustrated in full color) adds yet another dimension showing the respect Mosher’s imprints command. There is also a revealing section presenting both acclaims and criticisms of Mosher’s publishing. A descriptive index, and an annotated and cross-referenced bibliography on Mosher himself, round out the book’s strengths.


Hatch, Benton L., compiler and editor.

A Check List of the Publications of Thomas Bird Mosher of Portland Maine MDCCCXCI MDCCCCXXIII With a Biographical Essay by Ray Nash. Amherst, MA: Printed at the Gehenna Press for the University of Massachusetts Press, 1966. 215 pp., including a 42-page index. Nineteen tipped in title page facsimiles, and three other illustrations accompany the text. Entries are arranged chronologically by year of publication.


A pioneering effort of great merit, and the primary bibliography for many years. This bibliography is beautifully printed on Fabriano paper under Leonard Baskin (pressman Harold McGrath) at The Gehenna Press. The work should be consulted for extensive details on pagination, and is referenced many times in Bishop’s Thomas Bird Mosher — Pirate Prince of Publishers. There is an excellent biographical essay on pp. 9-39 by Ray Nash (unfortunately Nash does not give the location sources for three critical documents cited or quoted at length), and the bibliography contains a comprehensive index.


Ransom, Will.

Selective Check Lists of Press Books. A Compilation of All Important & Significant Private Presses, or Press Books Which Are Collected. New York: Philip C. Duschnes, 1945 (Reprinted, New York: James Cummins, 1992), pp. 182-210.


The 336 entries are divided between The Mosher Books, and privately printed books of The Mosher Press. This was the first nearly comprehensive bibliography of Mosher’s publications aside from the Mosher catalogues themselves, and lists the first appearances within each series. It also cross-references to the same title published in different series.


Vilain, Jean-Fran├žois, and Philip R. Bishop.

“Addenda & Corrigenda” in Thomas Bird Mosher and the Art of the Book. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company, 1992. viii, 112 pp.; 71 black & white photo-illustrations; 6-page index. “Addenda & Corrigenda” arranged by Hatch number; catalogue entries arranged by series.


This Temple University exhibition catalogue commemorated the 100th anniversary of the books published by Thomas Bird Mosher, and reassesses his place in publishing history as a more central figure in the American revival of the printing arts. Widely known as a literary pirate, the study also shows him to be a “graphics pirate”, borrowing much from English artists. It offers new research on Mosher’s designs, methods and sources. The catalogue accompanied an exhibition at Temple University (summer 1992), and contains seventy-one black and white photographs in addition to detailed entries for books and materials exhibited. The work also contains 10 pages of additions to Hatch in the ‘Addenda & Corrigenda’ section.