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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


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