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Monroeville: Literary Capital of Alabama

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Monroeville: Literary Capital of Alabama

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Monroeville: Literary Capital of Alabama is a wonderful photographic journey from the town's humble beginnings as a crossroad to an internationally known launch pad for some of the most notable names in the world of literature. Kathy McCoy has painstakingly documented the changing face of Monroe County and has added an additional layer of depth with the release of this visual companion. Monroeville is divided into chapters that include the diversions, politics, and--of course--two of its most well known inhabitants. Each photograph is accompanied by a brief history lesson that is both informative and intriguing. McCoy covers the meager beginnings of the town's beloved square and the courthouse that has been immortalized in the screen adaption of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. No book covering the town of Monroeville would be complete without a portion devoted to Harper Lee's novel. Included are several pages immortalizing the courthouse, the annual run of the play, and Harper Lee herself. McCoy includes plenty of information on Lee's childhood friend and fellow author,Truman Capote, as well. Monroeville is a welcome addition to any Mockingbird fan's library and gives a stunning look into the town that boasts a plethora of artists, authors, peacemakers, and politicians.



Monroeville is the county seat of Monroe County, a county older than the State of Alabama itself. Located in what was the Western Creek Nation, Monroeville became the center of county business in 1832, and eighteen years after the surrender of the Creeks to Andrew Jackson, Monroeville became a powerful political base in the state. In the 20th century, it hosted visits from "Big Jim" Folson as well as George Wallace, a powerful young orator who would change the face of American politics. Images of America: Monroeville, Literary Capital of Alabama, offers more insight to these personalities and events.

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 Southern town based on Monroeville. Many of Capote's short stories and novels were set in the town that still remembers when Truman rented the town's only taxi each weekend and drove around during the days "visiting." Townsfolk like to talk about the time Gregory Peck came to town to meet many of the people who were inspiration for the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. As other writers from Monroeville emerge, including 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 called Monroeville.

Additional Information

Additional Information

ISBN 0738554375
EAN 9780738554372
Publish Date Oct 26, 1998
Copyright Date Jan 1, 1998
Binding Paperback

Customer Reviews 2 item(s)

A Great Collection of Historical Photographs
Kathy McCoy’s Monroeville: Literary Capital of Alabama is a wonderful addition to any library—whether you’re a history buff, a tourist, a long-time or new resident, or a fan of Harper Lee or Truman Capote.

McCoy’s book gathers over 140 images to tell the story of Monroeville, from its famous courthouse and the authors who called it home, to the local politics, diversions and people that give it character. Through brief chapter introductions and detailed captions, we learn about Monroeville’s past and its evolution into the Literary Capital of Alabama.

Harper Lee and Truman Capote each enjoy their own dedicated chapter, where we get to see candid shots of both throughout their lives in Monroeville, before and after finding fame as prominent writers. We see where they lived and played, and where Lee supposedly wrote part of To Kill a Mockingbird. The cliche that “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings true—McCoy’s book gives you a deeper understanding of these writers and how their lives in Monroeville influenced their writing.

McCoy knows Monroeville and expertly captures its nuance and character. She served as the first director of the Monroe County Heritage Museum for 15 years, and during that time she oversaw the annual theatrical production of To Kill a Mockingbird—which brings together an amateur, all-local cast to perform inside the courthouse and on its lawn. McCoy includes great pictures of past cast members and productions.

This charming collection of visual history is good for an intense read or a casual flip-through, and it’s a great way to learn little known facts about Monroeville. Review by MK Earnest / (Posted on 5/15/2015)
A Pictorial Account of Alabama's Literary Capital
Sometimes, pictures tell the stories that even the most distinguished authors on earth can’t describe as well. In an effort to bring that sort of descriptive justice to the town that she loves, author Kathy McCoy gives us Images of America: Monroeville, Literary Capital of Alabama, a collection of images that give her audience a better understanding of the place that has cradled two of the best authors of all time—Harper Lee and Truman Capote—as well as a number of well-known and not so well-known citizens.

With the help of McCoy and photographer Aaron White, we are guided through Monroeville’s twentieth century history and encouraged to take a better look at the people and places that have shaped the small town.

For those who love Alabama and its distinctive literary heritage, this book is a treasure. For those who are students of history, it will become a well-loved resource, and for those who simply have a stake in the place Lee and Capote have called home, it is a welcomed companion that gives some insight to Monroeville’s diverse heritage and culture as it has progressed toward current times.

A wonderful coffee-table book and a quick read, Monroeville, Literary Capital of Alabama, should be available to every resident of Alabama as a historic reminder of the people and places who have made Monroeville what it is today.
Review by Ashley Burnette / (Posted on 4/18/2015)