Father Amasa Cole “A.C.” Lee
Mother Frances Cunningham Finch Lee
Nelle Harper Lee, daughter of Amasa Cole “A.C.” Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee, was born April 28, 1926 at Monroeville, Alabama. Nelle was the youngest of four children: Alice (b. 1911), Francis (b. 1916), and Edwin (b. 1920).
Nelle was a rebellious child, but she did have a good friend next door; Truman Streckfus Persons, later Truman Capote, after his mother remarried. In high school she was fortunate to have a gifted English teacher, Gladys Watson-Burkett, who challenged her to read fine literature and become an extraordinary writer.
She spent her freshman year of college at Huntingdon College, a Methodist school for women in Montgomery, but transferred to the University of Alabama in 1945. Despite her father’s hopes that she would become an attorney like her older sister Alice and practice in Monroeville, Nelle went to New York in 1949 to become a writer.
To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960 to highly favorable reviews and quickly climbed the bestseller lists to where it remained for over 80 weeks. In 1961, the novel was awarded the Pulitzer prize. A film adaptation was released in 1962 starring Gregory Peck and received three Academy Awards.
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