Autograph Sentiment Framed
A fine, bold autograph sentiment, framed with a fetching early photograph of the author.
NELLE HARPER LEE (1926-) is an American author known for her 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom of the United States for her contribution to literature in 2007.
Having written several long stories, Harper Lee located an agent in November 1956. The following month at the East 50th townhouse of her friends Michael Brown and Joy Williams Brown, she received a gift of a year’s wages with a note: “You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas.”
Within a year, she had a first draft. Working with J. B. Lippincott & Co. editor Tay Hohoff, she completed To Kill a Mockingbird in the summer of 1959. Published July 11, 1960, the novel was an immediate bestseller and won great critical acclaim, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. It remains a bestseller with more than 30 million copies in print. In 1999, it was voted “Best Novel of the Century” in a poll by the Library Journal.
Many details of To Kill a Mockingbird are apparently autobiographical. Like Lee, the tomboy Scout is the daughter of a respected small-town Alabama attorney. The plot involves a legal case, the workings of which would have been familiar to Lee, who studied law. Scout’s friend Dill is supposed to have been inspired by Lee’s childhood friend and neighbor, Truman Capote, while Lee is the model for a character in Capote’s first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms.
After completing To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee accompanied Capote to Holcomb, Kansas, to assist him in researching what they thought would be an article on a small town’s response to the murder of a farmer and his family. Truman Capote expanded the material into his best-selling book, In Cold Blood (1966).
Since publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee has granted almost no requests for interviews or public appearances, and with the exception of a few short essays, has published no further writings. She did work on a second novel-The Long Goodbye-eventually filing it away unfinished. During the mid-1980s, she began a book of nonfiction about an Alabama serial murderer, but also put it aside when she was not satisfied. Her withdrawal from public life prompted unfounded speculation that new publications were in the works.
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