A Look back at Barry Moser

Artist and Educator Barry Moser (Chattanooga '62)

Artist and Educator Barry Moser (Chattanooga '62)

An engraving by Barry Moser of the Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. From UT Chattanooga Library Special Collection.
An engraving by Barry Moser of the Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. From UT Chattanooga Library Special Collection.

Chattanooga-born artist and educator Barry Moser has illustrated and designed over 300 books throughout his career. Moser graduated from UT Chattanooga in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education and attended graduate school at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has received four honorary doctoral degrees—three in fine arts and one in humanities—and is currently a professor in residence at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Moser printed his first letterpress book, The Red Rag, in 1969. In 1970, he published Death of the Narcissus under the Pennyroyal Press imprint—a press he continues to own and operate.

One of the largest-scale volumes published by Pennyroyal Press consisted of over 100 prints of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which won Moser the National Book Award for design and illustration in 1983. Following the success of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Pennyroyal Press published additional large-scale letterpress volumes of books including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and a fully illustrated edition of the King James Bible.

Moser’s Jump, Again! The Further Adventures of Brer Rabbit was named one of The New York Times’ Ten Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 1987. He received the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in 1991 for his collaboration on Voices of Sleeping Birds with Cynthia Rylant. In 2006, he was awarded the Umhoefer Prize for Achievement in the Humanities from the Arts and Humanities Foundation. Many of Moser’s illustrations are displayed in prestigious libraries, museums and collections, including The Metropolitan Museum, The Vatican Library and Cambridge University.

In 2015, Moser visited UT Chattanooga for a signing of his book We Were Brothers: A Memoir. In 2023, UTC Special Collections and the Association for Visual Arts organized an exhibition entitled “Transformation: Exploring the Art of Bookmaking with Barry Moser,” which featured select art pieces and fine bindings.

From the Archives

Fall 2007

While the official theme of the Spring 2024 issue is “Tell Me A Story,” the power of storytelling can be observed in all issues of Our Tennessee.

In the Tennessee Alumnus Fall 2007 issue, for instance, a UT Knoxville associate professor in the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology shares how research helped preserve the distinctive voices of American roots music. A feature highlights how a Pulitzer Prize and endorsement from Oprah Winfrey contributed to the mainstream success of Cormac McCarthy, who died in 2023. Cookeville native Erin Moore tells of how Hurricane Katrina brought her home and to UT Knoxville.

Our Tennessee was published as the Tennessee Alumnus from 1917 to 2020. Scanned archives of past issues of the magazine can be accessed online through UT Knoxville’s Digital Collections Library.