Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Nancy Drew Blog Party Day 4 - 1930s Nancy Drew

1930s Nancy Drew

As sophisticated as she appeared on the cover of the first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Old Clock, Nancy was just a girl of 16. Throughout the 1930s, she remained 16 but the stories presented a seemingly mature girl for her age having very bold and dangerous adventures.

1930s Nancy Drew is not your Nancy Drew of today and she certainly wasn't the same sleuth in the 1950s or 1960s. She was bolder, more daring, worked by herself more often, rarely relied on adults or men to get her out of scrapes, didn't trust the police to do the job right, didn't always respect her elders, and drove like a fiend. She was a rough and tumble girl on the one hand, but yet still refined enough to gracefully dance her way though the ballroom at her special friend Ned Nickerson's college fraternity dances, charming all the boys and gaining admiring glances from the girls.

Sometimes she was quick to judge and sometimes she took awhile to figure things out. She wasn't always perfect and she chided herself frequently. But at the end of the day, she always got her man and sometimes even a female villain or two.

It wasn't until the latter part of the 1930s when Nancy began to be more toned down and by the 1950s was more of a Stepford clone of her early 1930s self.

If you haven't read any of the original versions from the 1930s, I highly recommend them. They are very well written--a very sophisticated style full of lots of suspense and even some melodrama with great cliffhangers. They truly did lose a lot of the spice when they were cut down and revised in that the stories lost characterization and good dialogue and descriptive elements that helped move the stories along.

Where can you buy the original versions? An original version has 25 chapters by the way--a key rule to remember. They aren't to be found in your local chain bookstores--those are the revised versions. To find the 25 chapter originals, you can get Applewood reprints at some bookstores and online. Or, you can for similar prices or even less, find the originals to read at sites like eBay or Bonanza. Because these are so collectible, it can be hard to find them in your local used book stores or antique malls. Sometimes they're marked up too high as well, so you can often get better deals even with shipping at sites like eBay.

Jenn:)

9 comments:

Jennifer said...

Around a week ago, I had someone ask me where they could find original text Nancy Drew books for under $50. You have given two sources, eBay and Bonanza. I'm not sure whether the person asking thought that all of them were expensive or whether they were really wanting first printing books.

In any case, the original text books can be found very inexpensively. Part of the problem might be that new collectors are overwhelmed trying to figure out which books have the original text. For #1-34, if the copyright is from 1956 or before, the book has the original text. Another way to find the original text books offered by knowledgeable collectors is to run a Nancy Drew search for title and description and to include the term "original 25 text" as part of the search.

Jenn said...

It could be that they may not be sure of what they're looking for or comfortable figuring out if what they're seeing at eBay or Bonanza is an original or a revised. Good ideas!

Jenn:)

Nancy Lauzon said...

I'll try to get hold of some 30's versions, Nancy sounds a lot more spunky!

Nancy
Chick Dick Mysteries

Lena Marsteller said...

Does amazon work?

susied said...

Is the original text in the republished Apple Wood books?

Jenn said...

@susied - yes the Applewood reproductions are the original versions so they have the original art and text. But, beware of some sellers trying to sell these at extremely high prices! You can get the original books for same or less prices at eBay and actually own the originals instead of reproductions. If you are unsure of whether a book is an original or not, it will have 25 chapters and have a copyright date of 1956 or earlier. Only the first 34 books were revised fyi.

Jenn:)

LuAnn Sgrecci O'Connell said...

I've had the most success filling the gaps in my collection on amazon. It's great when sellers tell you the number of chapters and what the endpapers are like, but if they don't, I just ask. Most are willing to reply except the very large sellers, like goodwill books (or something like that). I've been able to get yellow spine OT under $10 and the tweed are usually (always?) OT. I've learned so much in the past year--most of it thanks to Jenn's and Jennifer's websites! Thanks, Ladies!

Kansas Mad Man said...

Nancy isn't always so nice or neutral, especially to villains, in her original incarnation. She is dying to dish it to the Tophams, amused or at least pleased that she caused an accident and continued her errand from the Twisted Candles, and present where drinking and smoking abound, but doesn't approve at Jolly Folly! She has strong prejudices toward the "baddies," and in a few instances, it turns out unfairly (but not many).

Jan said...

I do find Nancy's character much more interesting in the originals, for the most part. But sometimes the story turns out to have more interesting twists in the revision.
I've gotten a couple of them on ebay, but for the most part, I've gone to amazon. I've never paid more than $8.00 or so, and usually only $3.00 or $4.00.
Jan Rader