Friday, July 10, 2015

Happy 110th Birthday to Original Carolyn Keene Mildred Wirt Benson

Today, July 10, marks the 110th anniversary of the birth of Mildred Wirt Benson in Ladora, IA in 1905. She would go on to be infamously known as the first Carolyn Keene, writing 23 of the first 30 Nancy Drew books. But, there was a lot more to her life than just Nancy Drew - she wrote 135 published books, over 100 short stories and her journalism career spanned over 58 years in all sum total. She was still working at The Toledo Blade the day she passed away on May 28, 2002, at age 96! Very independent and tenacious, much like famous sleuth Nancy Drew, Mildred lived an adventurous life and was always on the go.

I am currently writing the biography of Mildred Wirt Benson. In addition to her writing career she was interested in flying and archaeology and had very Nancy Drew-esque adventures, she was a very amazing woman and her whole story--there is so much information not in the mainstream of research that is not published anywhere, yet.

I feel like I've been playing "Nancy Drew" in many respects, sleuthing out clues to Mildred's past, uncovering the puzzle pieces to her kidnapping and Nancy Drew style escape in Guatemala, for instance, which few know the real story behind--so many interesting adventures, soon to be told.


The first 3 Nancy Drew books debuted on April 28, 1930 - Nancy Drew was created by Edward Stratemeyer and Mildred was a ghostwriter for the series, working on outlines provided by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. By the end of 1930, Nancy Drew was selling very well and would go onto outsell the boys' series eventually. Here today celebrating her 85th anniversary this year, she's still being published.

Examples of other books that Mildred wrote including Dangerous Deadline which won her the Boys' Life-Dodd Mead prize and was also serialized in Boys' Life Magazine.

Her favorite series was the Penny Parker Mystery Stories series - covers shown here from

Penny was very similar to Nancy Drew in style, naturally since they have the same author, but Penny was even more bold and brash that even early 1930s Nancy Drew was. Penny was a journalist, following in Mildred's footsteps.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Nancy Drew Sleuths - 15 Years of Sleuthing & Following in Nancy Drew's Footsteps

Nancy Drew Sleuths turns 15 this year! We are an organization of American and International fans and scholars, established on April 10, 2000 for the purpose of fostering the enduring legacy of Nancy Drew.

We have held Nancy Drew Conventions for the past 15 years, following in Nancy Drew's footsteps and celebrating the infamous sleuth, donating $ and books to libraries and children's hospitals, and we've had lots of fun doing it!

Nancy Drew is Mystery's IT Girl...

Smart. Sophisticated. Independent. Fashionable. Fearless. Role model. Nancy Drew is all of these and so much more--a timeless character that has trailblazed through generations of fans and over 8 decades since 1930.

It's no mystery why Supreme Court Justices, lawyers, detectives, librarians and teachers, authors--you name it--have been inspired and motivated by Nancy Drew.

No matter the baffling mystery, the suspenseful cliffhanger or the dastardly peril Nancy faced, she was always determined to solve a mystery and help others. Often racing off on adventures in her snappy roadster, she was always fashionably attired in the latest frocks and delectable heels--pure grace and gumption--an adrenaline thrill for the masses. Today's Greek yogurt and protein shake guzzling yoga pant-wearing memory foam tennis-shoed peeps don't having anything on Nancy Drew!

Here's some highlights of our past 15 years of "sleuthing" around...

Sleuths meeting the original Carolyn Keene, Mildred Wirt Benson


Sleuths visiting Benson's childhood home in Iowa


Sleuths meet the Stratemeyer & Tandy families in NYC 


Theme Book: The Haunted Showboat


75th Anniversary Nancy Drew Conference - NYC


 Theme Book: The Secret of Shadow Ranch


Theme Books - The Secret of Red Gate Farm 
& The Message in the Hollow Oak


Theme: 2007 Nancy Drew Movie & 1970s TV Shows


Theme Book: The Witch Tree Symbol


Theme: The Secret of the Forgotten City


Theme Book: Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion


Theme Books: The Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk 
& The Quest of the Missing Map


Theme Book: The Hidden Window Mystery


Theme Book: The Kachina Doll Mystery


Theme Book: The Secret of the Wooden Lady


Theme Books: Sisters in Crime & Process of Elimination
& 1970s TV Shows


Theme Book: The Clue in the Crumbling Wall
Celebrating Nancy Drew's 85th Anniversary &
The 110th Anniversary of Mildred Wirt Benson


Celebrating Nancy Drew's 85th Anniversary &
The 110th Anniversary of Mildred Wirt Benson