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
(not me, just someone who also loves summer reading, but probably does not nod off like i do)
“here is this delicious book and the whole day, both yours.”
the true pleasure or summer reading lies not so much in the novel itself, the writer hildegarde hawthorne explained in 1907, but the choice to devote oneself to it. summer reading as we now know it emerged in the u.s. in the. mid-1800s, buoyed by an emerging middle class and the birth of another cultural tradition: the summer vacation.
Art credit: Couch on the Porch, Cos Cob, Frederick Childe Hassam, 1914
thanks to artist david zinn, for his lovely sidewalk chalk ode to the library
the day has arrived at last
the library has reopened
after what seemed like such a long, long time
our community couldn’t be happier
it has been so greatly missed by so many.
‘Libraries: The medicine chest of the soul.’
—Library at Thebes, inscription over the door
i have always loved alphabets
when i was young
one of my favorite days ever
was when i could finally
decode the letters and read words
i love alphabets created out of every imaginable material, and alpha art and images of all kinds
today i tried to look up the word for someone who loves alphabets
and there was nothing to be found
the closest i could come was for someone who loves words:
“human society, the world, and the whole of mankind is to be found in the alphabet.”
“i believe in the magic of books.
i believe that during certain periods in our lives we are drawn to particular books-
whether it’s strolling down the aisles of a bookshop
with no idea whatsoever of what it is that we to want read
and suddenly finding the most perfect, most wonderfully suitable book staring us right in the face.
or a chance meeting with a stranger or friend
who recommends a book we would never ordinarily reach for.
books have the ability to find their own way into our lives. “
has this happened to you?
image credit: min heo
how sweet to find this book
sitting outside on the window ledge of a downtown store
on a sunny saturday
just waiting for someone
to pick it up and take it home to read.
gratitude to the book fairies.
“books are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. books are humanity in print.”
-barbara w. tuchman
“read to your children all of the time
novels and nursery rhymes
autobiographies, even the newspaper
it doesn’t matter; it’s quality time
because once upon a time
we grew up on stories in the voices in which they were told
we need words to hold us and the world to behold us
for us to truly know our souls.”
in honor of world nursery rhyme week
image credit: 1930s vintage etsy art