Here’s a look at the life of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Harper Lee, who wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a coming of age story about two children who learn about racism and acceptance in the 1930s Deep South.
Birth date: April 28, 1926
Death date: February 19, 2016
Birth place: Monroeville, Alabama
Birth name: Nelle Harper Lee
Father: Amasa Coleman Lee, attorney and member of the Alabama State Legislature
Mother: Frances (Finch) Lee
Education: Attended Huntingdon College, 1944-1945; University of Alabama, 1945-1949; also a study-abroad program at Oxford University in England.
Harper Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, was the inspiration for Maycomb, the fictional town where “To Kill a Mockingbird” took place in the 1930s.
Lee’s father, A. C. Lee, was the basis for the small-town attorney and father, Atticus Finch, in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Lee has been described as extremely private. In early 2015, both Lee’s literary agent and publisher said she hasn’t spoken to the press since 1964.
Was childhood friends with author Truman Capote, who some say was the inspiration for the neighbor, Dill, in “Mockingbird.”
She is reportedly named after her grandmother, Ellen - spelled backwards is Nelle.
1950s - Moves to New York, and works as a reservations clerk at Eastern Airlines and British Overseas Airways.
1956 - Friends impressed with Lee’s writing abilities give her money to support herself for a year. She leaves her job at the airline to concentrate full-time on writing.
1959 - Travels to Kansas with Truman Capote as his research assistant on an article for the New Yorker about the murder of a farm family. The article evolves into Capote’s true-crime novel, “In Cold Blood.”
July 1960 - “To Kill a Mockingbird” is released.
1961 - Two short stories by Lee are published in magazines: “Love - In Other Words,” in Vogue, and “Christmas To Me,” in McCall’s.
May 1, 1961 - Wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, for “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
1963 - Gregory Peck wins a 1962 Academy Award for Best Actor for the role of Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The movie was nominated for eight Oscars and won three.
1999 - Library Journal readers vote “To Kill a Mockingbird” the best novel of the 20th century.
June 2007 - Suffers a stroke.
November 5, 2007 - Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President George W. Bush.
May 2013 - Lee sues her agent, Samuel Pinkus, in federal court, alleging he had “improperly collected royalties since 2007.” The case is dismissed in September 2013.
October 2013 - Sues the Monroe County Heritage Museum in her hometown for trademark infringement, saying it is illegally using her fame for its own gain. The case is settled in June 2014.
February 3, 2015 - Lee’s publisher announces the upcoming publication of a recently rediscovered book, “Go Set a Watchman,” which Lee completed in the 1950s and then set aside in favor of “Mockingbird.” Set 20 years on from “Mockingbird,” the book follows Scout, the tomboy daughter in “Mockingbird,” as an adult.
March 2015 - The New York Times reports an anonymous complaint of elder abuse has been filed with the state of Alabama, “involving Lee’s ability to willfully consent” to the publication of the new book. Officials announce in April the investigation is closed, after “no evidence of abuse or neglect was found.”
July 14, 2015 - “Go Set a Watchman” is released.
February 19, 2016 - Passes away at the age of 89.