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.
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”.
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.
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. 🙂
- The Case of the Missing Author (blogs.loc.gov)
- Nancy Drew for $6500?! (heydeadguy.typepad.com)
- February One A Day – Day 19 – Call Me Nancy Drew (fromthecsweet.com)
- My first post! (mysteryplayer.wordpress.com)
- Mysteries: My First Literary Love (cuppacozy.wordpress.com)
- Nancy Drews First Clue….. (mysteryplayer.wordpress.com)
- Quilting With Nancy Drew (blackberrycreek.typepad.com)