Monday, October 17, 2011

Nancy Drew Blog Party Day 17: Nancy Drew Sleuths

The Mystery Behind Nancy Drew Sleuths

Back in the mid-1990s, there existed a couple of message boards online devoted to book collecting and a couple were about Nancy Drew. Several issues on some of these boards led to fellow Nancy Drew enthusiast Gayle and I creating an online discussion group at what is now Yahoo Groups April 10, 2000. It is an e-mail discussion group with web posting capabilities. We set up a forum for collectors to meet, sell and trade Nancy Drew books and collectibles, and discuss the books. At the time I was the moderator of the group. We gained quite a following of fellow fans and collectors and scholars writing and researching about Nancy Drew and similar series books.

Mildred Wirt Benson
Toledo, OH - 2001

Spring 2001, I traveled to Toledo, OH to meet the original Carolyn Keene ghostwriter, Mildred Wirt Benson. She was still alive and working as a journalist in Toledo, OH and was 95 years old. One of our discussion group members lived in the Toledo area and we organized and impromptu get together of around 12 Sleuths to meet Mildred and get books signed by her. This would turn out to be our first unofficial convention, and we've been getting together every year since for an annual Nancy Drew convention set all around the country where classic Nancy Drew books have been set.

While in Toledo, I interviewed Mildred for an article I was writing and she also interviewed me for one of her columns. When she asked what my title was for the group, I told her I was the group's moderator. That didn't sound spiffy enough for her so she proclaimed me the president of the Sleuths in the article and from then on, that stuck. We began to organize more formally and created a membership based organization. We have annual conventions, the online discussion group, a fanzine called The Sleuth about Nancy Drew and similar series books published 6 times per year, regional book discussion groups and gatherings, and other fun projects we do from time to time. I began an officially licensed Nancy Drew merchandising line at my website and at Cafe Press to provide the kinds of products and images that collectors and fans desire which currently in some cases aren't on the market.

Our group has over 550 official Sleuth members throughout the USA and in other countries, both men and women, average ages 20s to 60s, all from many different walks of life with one shared passion in Nancy Drew!

If you'd like to learn more about our annual conventions, The Sleuth, and other things we've been up to, visit our website! Join us--a lifetime membership costs just $10.00. We also have a ND Sleuths Jr. Detective Squad for kids 18 and younger.



Troi kett said...

I had no idea she was involved in the name process!
Troi Hackett

Jenn said...

Yes--it was kind of funny how that happened!