Joseph was the son of emigrant Joseph Joseph of Havre, France and his wife, the former Rachel Turquem. He lived with the family in Mobile, and attended Barton Academy there until the age of 13, when he left school to support his siblings. He was operating a store in Selma when he accepted the invitation of A. B. Loveman to come to Birmingham as his partner, arriving on July 7, 1887.
Joseph married Jennie Marx, the 19-year-old daughter of Samuel Marx, in Birmingham on January 6, 1891. Prior to marrying, Jennie had taught at Birmingham High School. The couple had one daughter, Rosalie, who was born that November.
While working as an active partner in the management of the department store, Joseph was also involved in the Commercial Club of Birmingham, including two terms as president. His efforts were credited for the club's successful support of the development of Avondale Mills (to which he was made vice-president) of a successful steel furnace at the former Birmingham Rolling Mills, and of a powder plant.
Joseph was one of five original benefactors of the Alabama Boys Industrial School at East Lake. In 1901 he was a partner in the development of the Hotel Hillman and continued to serve as president of the Hotel Hillman Company. In 1903 he was a member of the committee responsible for commissioning the statue of Vulcan for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis, Missouri. He was also appointed to the Jefferson County Sanitary Commission in 1901.
Joseph became president of the department store after Loveman's death in 1916, and held that position until 1923, when he retired and was succeeded by Joseph Loveman. He continued to preside over the board as chair.
In 1910 he served as president of the congregation at Temple Emanu-El. He also served on the board of trustees of the Alabama Technical Institute and College for Women in Montevallo, and served two terms as president of the Phoenix Club.
- Dubose, Joel Campbell (1904) Notable men of Alabama: Personal and Genealogical 2 Volumes. Atlanta, Georgia: Southern Historical Association
- "Moses V. Joseph of Birmingham Dead; Pioneer Merchant and Leader in Other Enterprises--Helped Build First Steel Mills There." (May 8, 1929) The New York Times
- Elovitz, Mark H. (1974) A Century of Jewish Life in Dixie: The Birmingham Experience. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press ISBN 0817369015
- Moses Joseph at Findagrave.com