Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mildred Wirt Benson aka Carolyn Keene

Happy 105th to our original Carolyn Keene, Mildred Wirt Benson. She was born in Ladora, IA in 1905 on July 10. She was only 24 when she wrote the first Nancy Drew book. She came to this great opportunity from having been hired by Edward Stratemeyer who created Nancy Drew. He gave her a job writing Ruth Fielding books and that segued into the Nancy Drew series.

Aside from her legacy as Carolyn Keene, she also wrote other books and series--135 published works (sometimes erroneously stated as 136 if you're including the UK version of Quarry Ghost, which I don't as it's just a foreign edition). A favorite of hers was the Penny Parker series:

Mildred was also a journalist and an adventurer in her later years. Here she flies for a news story:

In her later years she received recognition for having written some of the early Nancy Drew books and that meant fans would come calling--like our Nancy Drew Sleuths group who met her in 2001 in Toledo. Here she is signing some books for us:

She was quite the fascinating woman and very intelligent. Some of her adventures have even rivaled those of Nancy Drew - like getting kidnapped in S. America once.



Anna Eleonor said...

Thank you for charing this story. I will link this post on my blog about Nancy Drew.

Anna from Sweden

Jan Markley said...

She sounds like an amazing writer! Thanks for sharing her story.

amy said...

that was very helpful for my research. very relevant information. thanks a lot

Jenn Fisher said...

Amy, what research are you doing?