Foner was born and raised in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. His parents were Polish Jews who had four sons, all of whom became active in leftist politics. His brothers Philip and Jack were professional historians (Jack was also the father of historian Eric Foner). Henry Foner led the Furriers' Union.
Foner started out as a leader in Department Store Local 1250, then moved on to Union 1199, where he became the director of education and culture. While there, he founded Bread and Roses, a cultural program for union members funded by the NEA.
Death and legacy
Foner died on January 10, 2002.
- Steven Greenhouse, "Moe Foner, Labor Official and Movement's Unofficial Cultural Impresario, Dies at 86," New York Times, January 11, 2002, pg. C13.
- Notable New Yorkers - Moe Foner Biography, photographs, and the audio and transcript of Moe Foner's oral history from the Notable New Yorkers collection of the Oral History Research Office at Columbia University.