Girl History Month – “Carolyn Keene,” Author Of The Nancy Drew Mysteries

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I was a huge fan of the Nancy Drew mysteries when I was growing up. I imagined that the author of the series, Carolyn Keene, was a sophisticated New York socialite who dashed off books for girls like me in between drinking Champagne and eating caviar.

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When I grew up, I learned that “Carolyn Keene” was the pseudonym of multiple authors who wrote my beloved mystery stories for the ominously named “Stratemeyer Syndicate”.

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Apparently, Edward Stratemeyer, the founder of the Syndicate, hired writer Mildred Wirt, later Mildred Wirt Benson, to write the manuscripts for the Nancy Drew books. Mildred was paid $125 for each book and was required by her contract to give up all rights to the work and to maintain confidentiality.

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Mildred and Harriet Adams (Stratemeyer’s daughter) are often credited as the primary writers of the Nancy Drew books.  Also involved in the Nancy Drew writing process were Harriet’s daughters, who gave input on the series and sometimes helped to choose book titles.  The Syndicate’s secretary, Harriet Otis Smith, invented the characters of Nancy’s friends Bess and George.

I still think Carolyn Keene exists out there somewhere.  🙂

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9 thoughts on “Girl History Month – “Carolyn Keene,” Author Of The Nancy Drew Mysteries

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Was full bore addicted to these books as a child…Used to write my own versions and get in trouble for this during arithmetic! Never know about the author….how intersting!

  2. thatoldschoolgirl says:

    I still have all of mine plus all my mom’s 🙂

  3. Joe Owens says:

    I equate the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series. I am currently leading a mission project to acquire children’s books to send to a tutoring center we visited in Belmopan Belize. If you are interested to read about it you can check back at my blog.

  4. Joe, if you send me more information about how to help with your project, I will post it on my blog.
    Thanks for giving of yourself so generously, and God bless!!

  5. This is why you need a good agent and a good lawyer. 😉

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