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

Fol­low us on Face­book, Twit­ter, Google Plus and LinkedIn and share intel­li­gent media with your friends. And if you want to make sure that our posts def­i­nite­ly appear in your Face­book news­feed, just fol­low these sim­ple steps.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stephen King Writes A Let­ter to His 16-Year-Old Self: “Stay Away from Recre­ation­al Drugs”

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

74 Essen­tial Books for Your Per­son­al Library: A List Curat­ed by Female Cre­atives

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.