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Monroeville: The Search for Harper Lee's Maycomb (Images of America: Alabama)

Monroe County Heritage Museums

For 39 years, people from all over the world and all walks of life have come to the small town of Monroeville, Alabama, in search of a place called Maycomb. They come in search of a story that have moved millions of people with its enduring message, and in search of the world of the storyteller. Monroeville: The Search for Harper Lee’s Maycomb explores the relationship between Harper Lee’s hometown and the setting of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Born in response to the curiosities of visitors to the Monroe County Heritage Museums, this book explores the parallels between the tow worlds through vintage images and informative captions. Included are photographs of the Lee family and the author in her early years; the sights of Monroeville that undoubtedly inspired the setting of Maycomb; the cast of the Oscar-winning film adaptation that premiered in 1963; and the Mockingbird Players, a group of Monroeville residents who, each year in May, present an authentic production of the two-act play adapted by Christopher Sergel. Among the visitors to Monroeville are teachers and lawyers making a pilgrimage to Atticus’ courtroom, scholars in search of unanswered questions, and fans of the novel trying to capture a glimpse of Scout’s world. The Monroe County Heritage Museums, under the direction of Kathy McCoy, made this possible in 1991 with the opening of the Old Courthouse Museum on the town square. Visitors now leave Monroeville feeling as if they walked the streets of Maycomb on a hot summer day, enchanted by the imagined presence of Sout, Jem, and Dill exploring their neighborhood in an era of tumultuous change.

Monroeville: Literary Capital of Alabama (Images of America)

Kathy McCoy

Monroeville is the county sear of Monroe County, a count older than the state of Alabama itself. Located in what was the western Creek Nation, Monroeville became the center of county business in 1832, eighteen years after the surrender of the Creeks to Andrew Jackson. Monroeville soon became a powerful political base in the state. In the 20th century, it hosted visits from “Big Jim” Folsom as well as George Wallace, a powerful young orator who would change the face of American politics. Today, Monroeville is known as the childhood home of internationally known authors Harper Lee and Truman Capote. Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird was set in a small town that still Southern town based on Monroeville. Many of Capote's short stories and novels were drawn from his Monroeville experiences. Visitors from around the world come to the town that still remembers when Truman rented the town's only taxi for the weekend and drove around for days “visiting”. Townsfolk like to talk about the time Gregory Peck came to town to meet the many of the people who were inspirations for the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. As other writers from Monroeville emerge, such as Mark Childress and Cynthia Tucker, one wonders how many more stories the town holds, as well as what is so special about a small, rural southwestern Alabama town call Monroeville.

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