Daniel Moses, the longtime editor-in-chief of the San Francisco–based Sierra Club Books, died on September 12 in Ojai, Calif., of complications from three lung conditions caused by end-stage ankylosis spondylitis. He was 85.
Moses spent his first 15 years in publishing in the New York area, where he was an editor at Prentice Hall and Simon & Schuster, where his authors included Jill Johnston and Jerry Rubin. In 1972, he was named editor-in-chief of Links Books, an imprint of Quick Fox Books, and would go on to serve in the same position at Bobbs-Merrill. He left New York for San Francisco in 1979, where he was editor-in-chief of Sierra Club Books from 1979 until 2006, save for a stint founding and running Earth Island Press at David Brower's Earth Island Institute in the mid 1990s.
In addition to his work in publishing, Moses was politically and socially active. He was a member of the NYC chapter of Friends of SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) during the American civil rights movement of the 1960s, Book Publishers for Social Responsibility during the Vietnam War, and Bookworkers, a group founded in the early 1970s to attempt to change "the weaknesses of the publishing trade." While in New York, Moses's home in Briarcliff Manor served as a sort of sanctuary for artists and writers, including photographer Peter Hujar, Johnston, painter Paul Thek, and actors from theater director Robert Wilson’s Byrd Hoffman Foundation. In 1994, he was the Green Party of California’s candidate for lieutenant governor.
While at Earth Island, Moses, an early critic of trade treaties, edited and published the anthology The Case Against “Free Trade”. The book included pieces by authors Margaret Atwood and Wendell Berry, former California governor Jerry Brown, erstwhile presidential candidate Ralph Nader, and activists Vandana Shiva and Lori Wallach.
Moses is survived by his wife, author Charlene Spretnak.