1889 - 1969
Author, Editor, Publisher, Journalist
Promoter of the Arts
First to Publish Hemingway's Writings
Arthur Harold Moss was born in November, 1889 in New Yorks Greenwich Village. His parents were immigrants: father, Joseph was German-Jewish and mother, Rebecca was Turkish. While his parents became more Westernized, Arthur grew up identifying more with their European roots. His mother died April 26,1910, when he was just twenty years old(she was 61). After serving in WW1 Arthur attended Cornell University for three years, but, he dropped out in order to follow his aspirations of being a writer. Arthur worked as a reporter in upstate New York for awhile, eventually moving back to Greenwich Village in order to publish Quill with partner Harold Hersey, in 1917.
Quill was a literary journal magazine in which Arthur was also managing editor and wrote articles, deeply committed to expanding his audience to an international level. On the payroll was local artists Clara Tice, Wood Gaylor, Mark Toby and Alfred J Frueh; writers included Ben De Casseres (contributing editor), Floyd Dell, Maxwell Bodenheim, Harry Kemp, Willy Pogany, William Zorach and editors Robert Edwards and Clement Wood. During his years establishing the magazine and his involvement in the theater (reviews), Arthur met a woman six years younger than he, making costumes.
Millia Davenport (1895-1992) came from a New England Protestant family and her father, Charles Davenport, was a eugenicist. Dr. Davenport believed in a 'better race', so when Millia wanted to leave the family for Greenwich Village, her father dis-owned her. She survived first by helping to make costumes for plays. She was in her early twenties when she married Arthur and worked with him at Quill. Her first known writing was a piece, co-authored with Arthur, The Quill: For And By Greenwich Village, vol.4,#8,1919. Millia and Arthur separated shortly thereafter. Millia went on to design costumes for plays and in 1948 wrote the renowned Book of Costume (Crown Pub). Today it is considered a high honor to receive the Millia Davenport Publication Award sponsored by the Costume Society of America in honor of Millia.
Arthur had a passion not only for writing, but, also for promoting what he considered to be work by artists that should be acknowledged globally. Arthur regarded men and women as equals in a day when that wasn't too popular. He promoted, or criticized, fairly and honestly, the works of anyone who had something to contribute to the artistic world. Whether it was the theater, books, artwork of all kinds, it was shared with as large an audience with which Arthur could connect. Because of his fair treatment of everyone, Arthur was highly regarded by the early feminists whom he also supported.
In 1920, Arthur hired Florence Gilliam to edit Quill. Florence worked in a 'Village' bookshop Arthur frequented. His relationship with Florence would become more involved and soon they would find they shared the same passion for reaching a broader audience for their effort. In 1921 the pair moved to Paris, into a small apartment near Shakespeare & Company , a bookstore owned by Sylvia Beach and a well known hang-out for many expatriate artists in the day. Arthur would become friends with many aspiring artists who are now regarded as some of the greatest.
Eventually that same year, in August, Arthur and Florence began publishing Gargoyle, an intense magazine designed to reach an artistic international community. The first of its kind on the continent, Gargoyle published art reproductions representing the works of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Andre Derain  , Amadeo Modigliani, Paul Cezanne, and others. Writers contributing to the publication included Ezra Pound, Robert Coates, Malcolm Cowley,Hart Crane, Stephen Vincent Benet, Hilda Doolittle and Sinclair Lewis, just to name a few. Julian E Levy not only contributed his art to the magazine, but, the only article he ever wrote "Clive Bell and the Artistic Problem" is found in the June, 1922 issue of Gargoyle. Illustrations were done by Georges Brague. Arthur was able to give an opportunity to some artists to subsequently reach a broader audience than they would have otherwise.
One aspiring writer was a young man, fresh out of the military, a war hero, by the name of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway was working as a reporter in America when he and his wife moved to Paris in December,1921, to join theexpatriate artists(to the right is his passport pic taken that year). Hemingway, virtually unknown at the time, loved books and frequented Shakespeare & Co. where he met Arthur. Hemingway had several short fictional writings which he considered just a hobby. Arthur was impressed with the work and convinced Hemingway to submit the articles to Gargoyle. Over the years Hemingway would contribute many such articles and anecdotes to Arthur's magazines. It was the publishing, by Arthur, of these earliest Hemingway writings that drew the attention of Robert McAlmon and the rest is history. McAlmon published Hemingway's first novel, The Sun Also Rises, in 1925, and a few short stories in 1923. The original writings were solicited from Arthur by the Cohn's some twenty years later for their biography and are now in the JFK Library along with the corresponding telegraphs.
While the Gargoyle was considered to be a high quality publication, Arthur and Florence were not very good at selling and it never reached enough subscribers to keep it afloat. Less than two years of operation, October,1922 Gargoyle ceased publication. For the next few years Arthur would write a column for the New York Times and the 'Paris' Herald. An editor at the 'Paris' Herald, Al Laney, described Arthur as "...perhaps the first Boswell of the postwar Quarter" (Latin Quarter). Arthur was known as 'an energetic little man who knew what everybody was doing at all times'.
During this time, Arthur co-authored his second book, this one with artist Hiler Harzberg, Slapstick and Dumbbell: A Casual Survey of Clowns and Clowning, Lawren Pub.(New York),1924. Known to his friends as Hilaire Hiler, Harzberg was another American ex-pat painter who contributed illustrations to the book. Harzberg was a key contributor to the Parisian art scene and also owned The Jockey Club(to right is pic taken on opening day). It was a pub where artists could hang out in a 'safe atmosphere'. Arthur would work there part time to keep up with what everybody was 'up to' and acquire info and gossip for his column Over the River at the Herald.
In 1926, Arthur wrote the two page introduction to his friend Robert Coates' novel, The Eater of Darkness. In 1927 Arthur began publishing Boulevardier with Erskine Gwynne. Patterned after The New Yorker, the magazine was cheerful and easy to read, unlike the more intense Gargoyle. One of the regular artists for illustrations was Raymond Peynet, well known for his Two Lovers painting which is still popular on greeting cards today. Arthur's own column in the magazine, Books and the Left Bank, kept everyone up to date on literary news. Others who contributed stories to the mag included such notable writers as Michael Arlen, Noel Coward, Louis Bromfield, Sinclair Lewis and Ernest Hemingway.
Jean W Ross, a writer for The Dictionary of Literary Biography, told of a time when Hemingway submitted an article to Boulevardier entitled The Real Spaniard, a parody of Louis Bromfield's earlier article The Real French. Arthur, being the editor, added a few humorous lines of his own before publishing it in the Oct. 1927 issue. Hemingway was well known for losing his temper and raging quite often, but, would regain his composure quickly. When he saw the changes that were made to his offering he gave Arthur, and Arthur's assistant, Jed Kiley, a 'piece of his mind'. But as Jeffrey Meyers, Hemingway: A Biography, observes, Hemingway did something for which he wasn't known. After he calmed down, the next day Hemingway wrote apologies to both gentleman. Hemingway's change of heart may have been due to Kiley's knowledge of the truth behind his affair with 'the Duthchess' (upon whom the character in Sun Also Rises was based); it appears nobody knows for sure. Throughout the years, Hemingway would refer fondly to Arthur as "The strange little man", or "Strange couple", referring to Moss and Gilliam.
Boulevardier was fairly successful with Arthur's immaculate taste in literature and excellent contacts. Aside from three books of poetry, most of Arthur's works were non-fiction. He devoted his entire life to promoting all the arts, for which he held such a passion. He and his friends also kept alive the spirit of the Latin Quarter where so many artists from all over the world went to flourish and be inspired. Arthur was known to be very meticulous and a very thorough researcher. Most who knew him described him as a friendly, likable man with a clever wit.
Arthur and Florence would divorce in 1931. Arthur would not be alone for very long, which seemed to always be the case. By 1932 he would marry Evalyn Marvel. He called her Eve, but, would encourage her to use her surname for the sake of professional independence. Such was the case with all his wives...he believed strongly in their independence as writers and as human beings.
Arthur Moss and Evalyn Marvel (1946)
Arthur and Evalyn sailed to New York City (according to boarding records) in 1946 to have published The Legend of the Latin Quarter: Henry Murger and the Birth of Bohemia (Beechhurst Press/1947). The pair would co-author a second biography and travel to New York once again in 1954 to publish Cancan and Barcarolle: The Life and Times of Jacques Offenbach (Exposition Press). Typical of Arthur, a lot of research was involved in these biographies. Many reviews depict the way he told of the men and what made them, not just the artist. Legend of the Latin Quarter was reprinted in soft cover by Kessinger Publishing in 2005. Cancan and Barcarolle was reprinted in soft cover in 1975 by Greenwood Press.
Arthur would spend the final years of his life doing what he loved - writing and painting. In 1963 Tale of Twelve Cities and Other Poems(Two Cities Editions,Paris) was published. He dedicated the book to "Florence Gilliam, in Appreciation of Her Encouragement". His last book ( his third poetry) One More River and Other Poems(A.H.Stockwell) was published in 1967. Arthur never had much regard for his own talent, rather he was devoted to promoting the talent of others. Feb. 20, 1969, at the age of 80, Arthur Moss died in the American Hospital in Neuily, a suburb of Paris. He was survived by his widow Doreen (Vidal). This whole group of American expatriate artists that conjured in Paris in the early twentieth century is often referred to as the Lost Generation, a term that was started by Gertrude Stein's mechanic. Stein thought it was 'catchy' and repeated it to Hemingway who made the label famous in his books. Stein's mechanic was referring to the young adults who came of age during wartime...they had a bleak, hopeless outlook for the future.
Picture at top, left is Ezra Pound,Ford Maddox Ford, James Joyce; Below left is
Shakespeare and Company bookstore,
Sylvia Beach standing in doorway; at right was taken in front of Hiler Harzberg's
Jockey Club - standing on left is Arthur Moss with Florence Gilliam at his side.
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