Harper Lee Gets a Request for a Photo; Offers Important Life Advice Instead (2006)

Harper Lee

Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960. More than a half decade later, the novel remains one of the most widely-read books in American classrooms. And students still write the 89-year-old author, requesting photographs and autographs.

Occasionally, they get a little more than they bargained for. Take, for example, a student named “Jeremy,” who wrote Lee in 2006 and requested a photo. In return, he got something more valuable and enduring: some pithy life advice. The letter Harper sent to Jeremy reads as follows:


Dear Jeremy

I don’t have a picture of myself, so please accept these few lines:

As you grow up, always tell the truth, do no harm to others, and don’t think you are the most important being on earth. Rich or poor, you then can look anyone in the eye and say, “I’m probably no better than you, but I’m certainly your equal.”

(Signed, ‘Harper Lee’)

Lee’s second novel, Go Set a Watchman, was just released last week — 55 years after her debut. You can read the first chapter (and also hear Reese Witherspoon read it aloud) here.

via Letters of Note

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Related Content:

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Harper Lee on the Joy of Reading Real Books: “Some Things Should Happen On Soft Pages, Not Cold Metal”

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