Moe’s Books Plaque

Moe’s Books

CAMPUS AREA

2476 Telegraph Ave map it

BERKELEY HISTORY

MOE’S BOOKS

In 1959, Morris (Moe) Moskowitz and his wife, Barbara, opened a small paperback bookshop on Shattuck Avenue. They soon moved to Telegraph Avenue where Moe’s Books evolved into a renowned emporium featuring hundreds of thousands of books. Moe’s Books was a pioneer in giving honest, fair prices by establishing a fair trade policy of offering cash or a higher value in “Moe Dollars” (“In God and Moe We Trust”) for used books. These innovative trade slips—membership cards to a literary world— give previously read books respect and value. Defying Berkeley’s no-smoking ordinance, the iconoclastic, politically leftist Moskowitz enjoyed his cigars at work, typifying Telegraph Avenue’s anti-authoritarian identity. Since his death in 1997 the bookstore has remained a family-run business, continuing its legendary founder’s traditions.

Berkeley Historical Plaque Project
2014


  • Moe (1963), courtesy Moe's Books

  • Moe's Books (1968), courtesy Moe's Books

  • Moe's Trade Slip

  • Moe with daughter Doris (1990), courtesy Moe's Books

  • Moe's 70th birthday party (1991), courtesy Moe's Books

  • Scene from the movie The Graduate (1967), courtesy Moe's Books

More information:
Movie of legendary 1965 party

Photo credit abbreviations:
BAHA: Berkeley Architectural Heritage Assn.
BHS: Berkeley Historical Society