Award-winning writer Harper Lee was as famous as she was private.
But now insights into the “To Kill a Mockingbird” author’s life could come to light through her personal correspondence.
Nate D. Sanders Auctions has 38 handwritten letters by Lee up for sale. The bidding ended at 8 p.m. Thursday with one $12,500 offer for the lot.
The missives were between the author and her friend Felice Itzkoff over a five-year span ending in 2010. Itzkoff died a year later, and Lee died in 2016 at age 89.
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In one letter, dated Jan. 20, 2009 — the day of President Barack Obama’s inauguration — Lee wrote, “On this Inauguration Day I count my blessings … I’m also thinking of another friend, Greg Peck, who was a good friend of LBJ. Greg said to him: ‘Do you suppose we will live to see a black president?’ LBJ said: ‘No, but I wish her well.'”
Peck, who played Atticus Finch in the 1962 film adaptation of Lee’s novel, was a lifelong friend of the author.
In another letter, dated May 14, 2009, Lee describes the memorial service for Horton Foote, who wrote the screenplay for “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
The letter was written nearly a half-century after the film based on her extraordinary 1960 novel, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize. That was her only published work until 2015, when her controversial “Go Set a Watchman” was released.
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“The service seemed to catch Horton in full,” Lee wrote. “If he was your friend, it meant you had another ‘best friend.’ I am so proud to say that he was my friend. I loved him with all my heart and shall miss him for as long as I am aware of anything.”
Lee also recalls her friendship with Vivien Leigh, who won a best actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind,” describing her as “a character, and I loved her.”
Beyond presidencies and personal friendships, Lee’s letters cover religion, her Southern heritage and the indignities of aging.
“I haven’t got bat sense — I blame drugs, but it’s probably senility,” Lee wrote.
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