Nancy Drew, who knew?

Peter and I took a road trip last Fall to the Champagne-Urbana area of Illinois. We were in a hurry to get there, but on the way home, took a meandering a less traveled route. We came across some interesting small towns. Danville, Illinois, where we ate breakfast, has banners hanging from the street lamps naming the famous people who had lived there. Dick Van Dyke and his brother were two. Another one was one of the ghost writers for the Nancy Drew series!

As we drove along, I filled him in about Nancy Drew and all her friends, who were all favorites of mine. Since I had an older brother and sister, there were lots of books around the house and I can’t remember what I age I might have been when Mom suggested I start reading Nancy. We had the old ones; it turns out in the 1970’s, I think, someone thought the books and Nancy should be updated and there has been a lot of criticism about the re-do. I loved reading about Nancy’s “frocks” and her “roadster” and her “plump” friend Bess. I think it’s too bad to update an old book…

Nancy is related to The Hardy Boys series, which my brother read so I did as well. The boys were first published in 1927 and were so popular that Edward Statemeyer, publisher, thought that girls ought to have a positive role model as well. Nancy Drew debuted in 1930 and interestingly enough, Mr. Statemeyer thought that Nancy, as written by the first ghost writer, was way too precocious and audacious for a young lady! The books were selling so well that no changes were made. I found a book and read a bit – I had forgotten what a know-it-all she was…. at such a young age…. ;- D But I adored reading her books, which were often delightfully scary.

When I looked up Nancy and her publishing history, I found references to other books that I enjoyed, such as The Happy Hollisters and Trixie Beldon. Another series popped into my head, Cherry Ames, Student Nurse ! She was published by another firm. Cherry was a later book (1943) but certainly in the “inspire young girls” vein.


All the links will tell you more interesting tidbits about these great series. Books starring Nancy are still being written, though I believe they have an updated title, something more appealing to today’s girls.

If you are in my age bracket, I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane. What I’d like to know is what young adult series were you hooked on?

4 thoughts on “Nancy Drew, who knew?

  1. I honestly don’t remember going nuts over Nancy Drew. My favorite books were what we called “the little blue books.” They were biographies of famous people and all had the same simple cover. I’ll have to try to fined the real name for them.

  2. What a great posting-a nice little trip down memory lane; love the Van Dyke brothers. I had some Nancy Drew books from the 60s/70s but also borrowed some of the older ones. I vaguely remember the Hollister family and Trixie Belden but remember the Bobbsey Twins. Thanks for a trip to the past.

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