Nelle Harper Lee received her early education in the Monroeville public schools. Following this, she entered the University of Alabama to study law, but left in 1950 without having completed the requirements for her law degree. She moved to New York and worked as an airline reservation clerk. Her law studies proved to be good training for a writing career: they promote logical thinking, and legal cases are an excellent source of story ideas. After she came to New York, she approached a literary agent with a manuscript of two essays and three short stories. Miss Lee followed his suggestion that she expand one of the stories into a novel. This eventually became To Kill A Mockingbird.
In order to concentrate on writing, Harper Lee gave up her position with the airline and moved into a cold-water apartment with makeshift furniture. Her father's sudden illness forced her to divide her time between New York and Monroeville, a practice she has continued.
In 1957 Harper Lee submitted the manuscript of her novel to the J. B. Lippincott Company. She was told that her novel consisted of a series of short stories strung together, and she was urged to rewrite it. For the next two and a half years she reworked the manuscript with the help of her editor, Tay Hohoff, and in 1960 TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was published, her only published book. In 1961 she had two articles published: "Love - In Other Words" in Vogue, and "Christmas To Me" in McCall's. "Christmas To Me" is the story of Harper Lee receiving the gift of a year's time for writing from friends. "When Children Discover America" was published in McCall's in 1965. In June of 1966, Harper Lee was one of two people named by President Johnson to the National Council of Arts. Also named to the 26 member council was artist Richard Diebenkorn Jr.
There has not been as much published on the doings of Nelle Harper Lee since 1966.