King was born in Shoreditch, London, UK to David Woolf King and Sarah Lazarus. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. After working for several years, he returned to school and was graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1879, and from Harvard College in 1881, at age 28. He published his first guidebook while still in college, titled Harvard and its Surroundings. After college he held a series of jobs in the publishing industry, working for Science magazine, Bradstreet's magazine, and Rand-Avery Co. He married Bertha Maria Cloyes in 1881; they had three children.
He steadily published travel guidebooks from 1878 onwards. By 1888 he formally established the Moses King Corporation. King's illustrated publications about Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and elsewhere in the U.S. received generally positive reviews. The more popular titles returned in updated editions.
One darker chapter in King's career occurred in June 1893. During a business meeting in New York, King and photographer Arthur G. Massey engaged in an altercation resulting in Massey filing a lawsuit alleging that King had pulled out part of Massey's beard. Plaintiff demanded $10,000 in damages.
In 1894 King moved from Boston to New York, where he remained until his death in 1909.
Boston and Massachusetts
- Harvard & its surroundings. Cambridge, Mass., King, 1878, 1880.
- King's hand-book of Boston. Cambridge, Mass., M. King, 1878, 1889.
- Moses King (1880). The Back-Bay District and the Vendome. Boston.
- King's handbook of Springfield, Massachusetts. Springfield, Massachusetts, J.D. Gill, 1884.
- With Moses Forster Sweetser. King's handbook of Boston Harbour. Boston : Moses King Corporation, 1889.
- With Moses Forster Sweetser. King's handbook of Newton, Massachusetts. 1889.
- King's how to see Boston: a trustworthy guide-book. Boston, Mass. : Moses King, 1895.
- Harvard University: eighty photographic views selected from "King's handbook of Harvard University". Boston : M. King, 1895, 1896.
New York City
- King's handbook of New York city; an outline history and description of the American metropolis. Boston, Mass. : Moses King, 1892, 1893.
- King's photographic views of New York. Boston, M. King, ©1895.
- King's views of the New York Stock Exchange. New York : M. King, 1897.
- King's views of Grant's tomb, New York city; dedication, 27 April, 1897. New York, M. King, 1897.
- The Dewey reception in New York City : nine-hundred and eighty views and portraits. [New York] : M. King, 1899
- Notable New Yorkers of 1896-1899; a companion volume to King's Handbook of New York City. New York, King, 1899.
- New York's rapid transit tunnel and underground railway. New York : Moses King, 1900.
- King's views of Brooklyn. New York, M. King, 1904.
- King's Views of Philadelphia. N.Y., 1900.
- The city and country homes of Philadelphians. Moses King, 1902.
- Philadelphia and notable Philadelphians. New York: Moses King, 1902.
- Peirce School in Philadelphia. New York: Moses King, 1904
- Philadelphia Industrial Parade. Philadelphia : Moses King, 1908.
- Olde Philadelphia: The Birthplace of the Nation!. Philadelphia: Moses King, 1908.
- King's pocket-book of Cincinnati. J. Shillito & Co., 1879.
- King's pocket-book of Providence, R.I. Tibbitts & Shaw, 1882.
- With Moses Forster Sweetser. King's handbook of the United States. Buffalo : King, 1891.
- Where to stop. A guide to the best hotels of the world, alphabetically by cities. Boston: M. King. 1894.
- A California paradise--home, gardens and studio of Paul de Longpré, the pre-eminent flower artist: Hollywood, superb suburb of Los Angeles. New York : M. King, 1904.
- Who's who in New York (city and state). 1907.
- Harvard graduates' magazine, 1910.
- Harvard graduates' magazine, 1910.
- Charles Morris. Men of the century, an historical work: giving portraits and sketches of eminent citizens of the United States. I. R. Hamersly & Co., 1896; p.269. Includes photo portrait of King.
- His ebon beard pulled. Why Photographer Arthur G. Massey of New York Wants $10,000 from Publisher Moses King of Boston. Boston Daily Globe. Jun 26, 1893. p.3.
- Moses King. New York Times. June 13, 1909.
- Moses King Going to New York. Boston Daily Globe. Jul 31, 1883. p.5.
- Mr. Moses King Takes Charge of "Bradstreet's." Boston Daily Globe. Jan 2, 1884. p.6.
- An author's wooden wedding. Congratulations to Moses King of Newton. Boston Daily Globe. Oct 20, 1886. p.2.
- Trade good, credit bad; Moses King on the Rand Avery Assignment. Boston Daily Globe. Oct 22, 1888. p.1.
- Boston failures: W.D. Forbes's liabilities and the insolvency of Moses King. New York Times. Nov 4, 1888. p.16.
- Moses King, The Harvard Register, Harvard University, 1880. Contains many references to Moses King.