In 1945 I was living at the Chi Omega Sorority House at the University of Alabama. One day one of the girls brought a prospective member to lunch. Her name was Nelle Harper Lee. She lived in a small town in Alabama, Monroeville. We called her “Nell.” She was initiated into our group and lived in our house.
Nell was quiet and we thought she was very smart. We did like her but found her to be a little different, even for those times. She played golf and wore jeans at a time when no one else did. She worked on the campus newspaper and entered law school but left in 1948. She eventually studied in England.
I never heard from her after I graduated and you can imagine how surprised I was when I learned “To Kill A Mockingbird” was published in 1960. She won the Pulitzer Prize for the book and the movie, based on the book, won an Oscar.
I read a few years ago The Telegraph (London) reported a poll had voted “To Kill a Mockingbird” the greatest novel of all time. I think Nelle Harper Lee is still living a quiet life in the old house in Monroeville with her sister. I don’t believe she ever married.
In 2006, Charles J. Shields wrote a very good book about her called “Mockingbird” – I have it, if you would like to read it.