Happy 92nd birthday to Nancy Drew! The first volume in the long-running girl detective series, “The Secret of the Old Clock,” was published 92 years ago under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. In a tribute to the iconic sleuth, author Theodore Jefferson writes, “Agency. It is that which forms the foundation for any hero’s ability to save the day. In America, agency for teenage girls in literature made its debut in 1930 in the person of Nancy Drew.” This original Mighty Girl character paved the way for many more heroic female characters and inspired generations of real-life girls and women.
Ghostwritten by Mildred Wirt Benson and later revised by Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, the first volume of Nancy Drew had a huge influence on young readers. Nancy Drew provided them with “stories of someone like themselves who had a positive effect on the world instead of passively sitting at home… She is a character with that magical ‘what if’ question woven into her identity, and one that effortlessly captures the imaginations of readers by allowing them to participate in a world where the answers to that question are just as entertaining as the stories themselves.”
At the time, some viewed Nancy Drew as a poor role model, “contradicting adults while she squared off with the villains… she is mechanically inclined and at the same time doesn’t act like most people in the 1930s would have expected a teenage girl to act.” In fact, many libraries and bookstores refused to carry the Nancy Drew stories. Despite — or because of — that disapproval, kids collected the books voraciously, and in the midst of the Depression, used copies were shared and traded like trading cards are today. As a result, “any kid, even those who couldn’t afford new books, would very likely get to read every adventure starring their favorite character.”
The tremendous influence of Nancy Drew continues to this day asserts Jefferson: “It is difficult to overstate how powerful Nancy Drew’s presence remains in literature and in other media. She has influenced film, comics, video games and animation for  years, and will continue to do so as long as teenage girls take the lead as our heroes in the imaginative worlds of adventure.”
i loved this book series and it inspired me to be part of a neighborhood gang of childhood detectives
(the four crows – see my post below)
and i am still a huge fan of true crime, not as a criminal,
but in trying to solve the who’s, why’s, and how’s.
On leaving work, at work…
“I don’t promise to forget the mystery, but I know I’ll have a marvelous time.”
credits: theodore jefferson, the mary sue, mighty girl