Joseph Moses Levy, the son of Moses Levy and Helena Moses, was born on 15th December 1812. A member of the Jewish faith, Levy, after being educated at Bruce Castle School, was sent to Germany to learn the printing trade. When he returned to England he established a printing company in Shoe Lane, Fleet Street. Levy became involved in the newspaper industry and by 1844 he was chief proprietor of the Sunday Times.
Colonel Arthur Sleigh founded the Daily Telegraph & Courier in June, 1855, Levy agreed to print the newspaper. The venture was not a success and when Sleigh was unable to pay his printing bill, Levy took over the newspaper.
In 1855 there were ten newspapers published in London. The Times, at sevenpence, was the most expensive and had a circulation of 10,000. Its two main rivals, the Daily News and the Morning Post, both cost fivepence. Levy believed that if he could produce a cheaper newspaper than his main competitors, he could expand the size of the overall market.
Levy decided that his son, Edward Levy-Lawson, and Thornton Leigh Hunt, should edit the newspaper. When he re-launched the newspaper on 17th September, 1855, Levy used the slogan, "the largest, best, and cheapest newspaper in the world". Within a few weeks the one penny Daily Telegraph was outselling The Times and by January 1856, Levy was able to announce that circulation had reached 27,000.
The early Daily Telegraph supported the Liberal Party and progressive causes such as the campaign against capital punishment. It also urged reform of the House of Lords and the banning of corporal punishment in the armed forces.
Levy was heavily involved in the production of the Daily Telegraph. As well as managing the newspaper he also wrote theatre and art reviews. Joseph Moses Levy died on 12th October, 1888.