Utah State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives recently acquired the papers of Bill Moss, a fabric artist and designer who founded Moss Tent Works with his former wife and business partner, Marilyn, in 1975.
“I am pleased that the Moss legacy is being kept in the archives at Utah State University and that the material will be available to the public,” said Marilyn, one-time president and CEO of Moss, Inc. “Knowing that all the material is in good hands and appreciated is a comfort to me and my family.”
Building off of Bill’s design for the Pop-Tent in 1955, Moss Tents introduced innovative designs and materials to their line of camping tents, backyard and beach products and architectural canopies. The company sold the tents division to REI in 1994, and when MSR acquired it in 2000, they revived their tent line using many of Bill’s original design ideas. Bill passed away in 1994.
The Bill and Marilyn Moss collection includes business records, photographs, videos, publicity materials, catalogs, patents, correspondence, original artwork and legal papers that will now be available to the general public for research at the Merrill-Cazier Library on the university’s Logan campus.
The collection is the latest addition to the libraries’ Outdoor Recreation Archive that seeks to preserve the history of the outdoor industry through its assemblage of gear catalogs and magazines, as well as documents and photographs from significant industry figures and designers. The project is a collaboration with USU’s Outdoor Product Design and Development program that trains students for careers in outdoor clothing and gear design.
“Preserving the collection and giving students and creatives from around the world access to be able to study the archives is a very large part of my personal intentions with bringing back to life the DNA of the Moss brand and what it has grown to represent for outdoor adventurers young and old,” said Bill’s son, Jeff.