Harper Lee was born in the Alabama town of Monroeville on April 28, 1926, the youngest of four children of Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. Her father, a former newspaper editor and proprietor, was a lawyer who served in the Alabama state legislature from 1926 to 1938. As a child, Lee was a tomboy and a precocious reader, and enjoyed the friendship of her schoolmate and neighbour, the young Truman Capote.
After graduating from high school in Monroeville, Lee enrolled at the all-female Huntingdon College in Montgomery (1944 45), and then pursued a law degree at the University of Alabama (1945 50), pledging the Chi Omega sorority. While there, she wrote for several student publications and spent a year as editor of the campus humour magazine, the Rammer Jammer.Though she did not complete the law degree, she studied for a summer in Oxford, England, before moving to New York in 1950, where she worked as a reservation clerk with Eastern Air Lines and BOAC.