Special Collections Spotlight Week: It’s a Two-fer!

This week is Special Collections week! We’ve been saving up some of our reviews to publish every day this week.

Today we have a two-fer; student assistant Chandler Pascale chose to review Instant Lives and The Virginia Exiles:



Instant Lives by Howard Moss, Illustrated by Edward Gorey

In the Gorey Collection

Link to the catalog: http://readpac.longwood.edu//record=b1135178


Instant Lives by Howard Moss is located in the Edward Gorey Collection because Gorey illustrated the book. The Special Collections Department also has several works signed by Gorey himself.

I wanted to see if the work is as strange as Gorey’s writing, since he only illustrated this. I found this fictional compilation of humorous biographies very funny, and not oddly strange. Moss invents a story in which Beethoven named a piece of music for his nagging son who lazily complains about his lack of recognition. The author also claims to have read an unpublished work of T.E. Lawrence titled Omar in the cafeteria of the British  Museum.

Students should read this thin book if they simply want to relax and read something humorous. Those who love to laugh will like Moss’ work in Instant Lives.


The Virginia Exiles by Elizabeth Gray Vining

In the Virginia Authors Collection

Link to the catalog: http://readpac.longwood.edu//record=b1147248


This book is in the Virginia Authors’ section because its theme concerns Virginia. Written by Elizabeth Gray Vining (A Pennsylvania native) and published in 1955, this work of fiction details the life of Caleb Middleton, a Pennsylvania native and a member of the Society of Friends (The Quakers).

After his family is banished to Virginia during the Revolutionary War, Caleb falls in love with a girl in his new surroundings. I think it’s interesting because it combines history and romance, even if the history is sometimes less than realistic. Still, those who are interested in history and/or romance would probably find this book interesting.

Special Collections Spotlight will periodically feature material that can be found the Longwood University Special Collections and Archives. If you have questions or would like to request an item to be featured, please contact Amanda Hartman at hartmanar@longwood.edu

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