Thursday, January 31, 2019

31 Days of Nancy Drew Topic #31 Nancy Drew Fans, Conventions & Nostalgia

31 Days of Nancy Drew Topic #31

Nancy Drew Fans, Conventions & Nostalgia

It's been fun to revisit so many aspects of Nancy Drew from 1930 to present day. I've been collecting, researching and writing about Nancy Drew for around twenty years now and I forget sometimes that there are so many who are new to collecting and that this kind of information while currently out there on websites like mine and in books and guides, is still being discovered by new fans. And even seasoned collectors can use a refresher or perhaps motivation to collect something new. So, I hope you all have enjoyed them!

For nearly 90 years, fans of all generations have read these books and many - moms, grandmas and you name it - have passed down their books or fondly purchase what they remember from childhood for the next generation. There are people everywhere who recognize and are nostalgic about reading these books. And then there's a more niche group of us who actively collect them, reread them, and search used bookstores or online sites for vintage editions and related collectibles. You know who you are if you're reading this right now. You are more likely than the average Nancy Drew fan to continue to purchase new books and merchandise and collect anything Nancy Drew. You join the Nancy Drew Sleuths fan organization, sport Nancy Drew tees and you may even wonder WWNDD (What would Nancy Drew Do?) from time to time. You might subscribe to our zine, The Sleuth, or attend the Nancy Drew Conventions. Whatever level of interest you have in Nancy Drew and collecting, there are all types of fans.

I wanted to save the fans of all generations, genders, and various walks of life for my final post. There have been amazing people from creation to the final product in producing these books and collectibles over the years and presently. As much as those behind the scenes to do keep Nancy Drew alive, it's also the fans who help keep her going too. One thing I've noticed - and this can exist in other types of niche groups and communities of fans - is that  when collectors get together online and especially in person, it's like a family of sorts - we have something in common that doesn't divide us to destructive degrees. There's an instant topic to discuss or a book related event to enjoy, without worrying about what's going on in the world or other issues that divide people. Now, don't get me wrong, there are fickle squabbles from time to time about Nancy's hair color and other trivialities, but when it's all said and done, fans still have that common denominator - Nancy Drew - that binds them.

Fans help keep things relevant and fresh as there are always new fans and new generations but there's also the older generations as well. And the buying power is in the older generations who make purchases for their own collections or to pass down to the younger generations - most young kids don't have funds to just spend anytime they want, it's the parents/etc. who make the purchases. Nancy Drew remains popular enough due to this passing down and sharing but also word of mouth and fans getting engaged. In the past it was via letters and now during the last couple of decades it's been e-mails and social media in recent years. Regardless of who makes up the fan base, the fan base does exist and it's the core or foundation of what helps keep Nancy Drew going. Economics also keeps her going - if she's profitable to those involved in producing the books and collectibles, they will keep getting produced. The easiest thing a company can do is cater to the existing fan base and then anyone else that comes on board, that's a bonus because anyone else outside the fan base is not a sure thing - the fan base however is a sure thing as long as they are not alienated. One thing I do know is that fans will never agree 100% on everything - there have been too many different styles of Nancy Drew and over 600 books published since 1930, so there's always been something for everyone and everyone has their style of Nancy Drew. Outside of things like looks and vintage vs. modern, as long as who Nancy is as a person and her sleuthing abilities aren't messed with too much, then typically most fans will be pleased.


I didn't set out to do what I do today. I read the books as a child and greatly enjoyed them. I moved on to college and law school and planned to be an attorney. Things changed and I revisited my childhood Nancy Drew books, discovered vintage ones, and found in the early days of the Internet in the late 1990s a message board on Nancy Drew and the rest was history. The rest included meeting other collectors, finding eBay, expanding greatly my childhood books to the larger collection I have today, researching behind the scenes of the series to the creators and original writers and forming a discussion group, Nancy Drew Sleuths. I created my website to share my collection and information about Nancy Drew with other collectors and fans. The pivot point was meeting Mildred "Millie" Wirt Benson, the first Carolyn Keene in 2001, along with a few other members of the discussion group and thus began our evolution into an the Nancy Drew Sleuths fan organization with annual conventions, merchandising and our zine, The Sleuth.

Now nearly 20 years later, a hobby has become a business and a labor of love. I've been able to consult with the publishers, companies licensing the brand, Warner Brothers, wrote a lot of articles and even a book - Clues for Real Life which I compiled for Meredith Books, and am currently working on a biography of Millie. And over the past 20 years, I've heard from a lot of fans through my website, at our online groups and social media and in person at convention events. I've made some amazing connections and friends through this group. There are fans of all types and collections big and small - and they are all unique to each person and are amazing. There are so many different fans from all walks of life who have been touched in some way by reading these books from your average ordinary every day person on up to celebrities and Supreme Court Justices. I think that's an amazing testament to what Edward Stratemeyer created and how that legacy lives on today.

In researching Nancy Drew in NYC at the New York Public Library in the Stratemeyer Syndicate archives, I have come across references from time to time for fan clubs for Nancy Drew over the year - loosely organized clubs in different parts of the country which seem to be mostly localized and apparently fizzled out. There is also fan mail in the archive which is fun to read. From time to time, there are letters from the Syndicate to fans who have written that have been sold at eBay and I've acquired a few for my collection which I'll picture here.


Today I want to go over some of the fan clubs that have existed over the years from the 1930s movies to present day. I'll start with present day and then discuss clubs of the past and include images of some of the fan club memorabilia you can collect.


Nancy Drew Sleuths:

Nancy Drew Sleuths is an organization of Nancy Drew collectors, fans and scholars, established on April 10, 2000 for the purpose of fostering the enduring legacy of Nancy Drew. We achieve this in part by holding annual convention(s) in which fans can follow in Nancy Drew's footsteps in real life locations where some of the books have been set, through our donations to libraries of Nancy Drew books for today's generation to discover Nancy Drew mysteries and be inspired and thrilled as many of us were as kids, and through online discussion and social media.

We began as an online discussion group and grew into much more with annual conventions, officially licensed Nancy Drew merchandise, Nancy Drew Book Club, and our Nancy Drew zine, The Sleuth. We are an organization for both casual and advanced collectors, fans and scholars. We officially license Nancy Drew from Simon & Schuster.

At present we have fans not only in the USA but in other countries including the UK and countries like France, Singapore, Austria, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and Canada among others. The majority of those outside the USA are in Canada. We have nearly 800 official members and then over 200 Jr. Detective Squad members who were grandfathered into the NDS organization when our kids club ended last year. So, 1000 members and counting.

If you want to join us officially you'll receive a membership kit which includes a card, magnifying glass charm and NDS totebag - click here to join.

If you're interested in attending our conventions, we have two this year - Toronto, Canada June 19-22 and Savannah, GA Oct. 23-26. Visit our website for all the details and registration forms.

We began publishing our zine, The Sleuth, online in the early 2000s and then went to print in 2006 and just published our 75th issue this month. It's all about Nancy Drew and similar series books and if you're interested in back issues or to subscribe - check out our website & our Facebook Group.

If you're looking for Nancy Drew merchandise, we have several spots online at my website and our Drewtique which is where crafty sleuths sell their handmade Nancy Drew wares - and finally our Nancy Drew Cafe Press Shop where we have lots of products they manufacture and ship to you with our images and logos.

Soon, we are going to have a big overhaul of our website and shops to consolidate that and so look for that announcement later in February!

Where to currently find Nancy Drew and Nancy Drew Sleuths Online and at Social Media plus other websites/links:

Other Websites I've Mentioned Here Recently:

And for links to lots more Nancy Drew and other similar series websites, visit my links page on my website.



1930s Nancy Drew Warner Brothers - Nancy Drew Club

When the 1930s movies debuted starring Bonita Granville as Nancy Drew, there were press kits released by Warner Brothers, who is currently releasing a new film, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, in March. I'll picture the press kit here and info on the club and a membership card. This was more of a PR thing than a real club that was very organized - it was very loosely organized. How many clubs actually formed as a result of this, is anyone's guess. If theaters did pass out any of these membership cards or post rules of the club, it was probable handled more like getting souvenirs at a party.

Syndicate & Publisher Fan Mail

Not directly related to a club, but I wanted to share some letters that some fans out there received from Grosset & Dunlap and the Syndicate so I'll include those in what I'm posting here. They are neat to read and see how the Syndicate handled the response - a fictional "Edith Blake" secretary to Carolyn Keene often answered some of these.


ND's Inner Circle

This I mentioned in a previous posting here on book club editions - those yellow spine picture cover versions of the first 32 books. When you signed up for this book club you were sent a membership card and I found mine inside of #32, The Scarlet Slipper Mystery, that I purchased off of eBay years ago. So it fits both a book club and a fan club item.

70s TV show - The Nancy Drew Fan Club

The Fan Club Corporation of America ran many clubs for TV shows and TV stars. Back in the 70s they had clubs for both Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and you would get a club kit with scroll and membership card and lots of photos, poster, and promo items including bookmarks and ad materials.


1980s Wanderer Books - The Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys Fan Club

During the Wanderer years in the 80s, there was the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys Fan Club which was advertised in the backs of the Wanderer books at the time. There were 2 club newsletters issued - The Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys Mystery Reporter - and a membership card.

When I visited the NYPL in NYC on a trip several years ago, I found a stack of cards featuring Nancy Drew from The Triple Hoax and the cards referenced the Official Nancy Drew Fan Club on them. I don't know if these were actually used or if these were  promotional or prototypes - if anyone has this particular membership card, let us know!


The Official Nancy Drew Girl Friends Club

This club was out for a very short time during the period Simon & Schuster was producing the digest paperbacks in the mid 1990s circa 1997. I'll include a small image of an ad that ran in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch I found online. And the membership card which I purchased on eBay. This was a very short-lived club.


UK Files Nancy Drew Club

A member from Australia shared these with me quite a few years ago - there was a club associated with the UK editions of Nancy Drew Files. I'll share some images here she sent me.

Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew Club

When the Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew series debuted, there was a membership card you could print out online and promo cards of these - and you could go online to get info about it - it quickly fizzled out.

The Official Nancy Drew Fan Club - Nancy Drew Girl Detective

During the run of Girl Detective series, at one point they established a website online and had this printable membership card you could print out - nothing really came of this club other than that.

In the comments, let us know, did you ever join any of these fan clubs and if so do you still have your fan club memorabilia? Show and tell - show us what you have in the comments! If you happen to have the blue Wanderer Books Official Nancy Drew Fan Club card featuring the Triple Hoax Nancy face on it, let us know! And if I've missed any other official clubs from the publisher, let me know and others what we're missing out on.

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