Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Nancy Drew Birthday Party

Do you know what April 28th is? It's the 80th birthday of Nancy Drew! And, the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona is hosting a party that night.

Here's the information from Poisoned Pen's event calendar. "Celebrate with Jenn Fisher, our local Nancy Drew crew leader. Bring your favorite Nancy to discuss and/or a Nancy Drew story to share. Jenn is the author of Clues for Real Life: The Wit and Wisdom of Nancy Drew. We will have giveaways and a couple of prizes. And we hope to have local librarians join in to this landmark occasion." It's at 7 p.m. at the Poisoned Pen, on Wednesday, April 28.

I'm one of the librarians who will be there. And, I have a couple stories to tell. My father took us camping all over the United States, and, for years, he tried to teach me the word spelunking, asking me, "What's cave exploring called?" And, I'd always look at him blankly. Finally, I read the word, in context, in a Nancy Drew book. I'm a visual learner, and once I saw the word, spelled out, in context, I never forgot it.

My other story has to do with applying for the job of Director of my hometown library in Huron, Ohio. I wanted that job so much, and while I waited to hear, and waited, and waited, I couldn't concentrate on any books. I couldn't read anything, except Nancy Drew mysteries. For some reason, they were the perfect escape. I read one of them after another while I waited.

Do you have any Nancy Drew stories?

Here are just a few points from Jenn Fisher, as quoted on Poisoned Pen's website.

1. Edward Stratemeyer, of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, created
Nancy Drew in 1929.

2. The first three books in the series: The Secret of the Old
, The Hidden Staircase, and The Bungalow Mystery all
debuted on April 28, 1930.

3. Carolyn Keene is a pen name for various ghostwriters who
have written the books over the years. The first Carolyn Keene
was Mildred Wirt Benson who wrote 23 of the first 30 Nancy
Drew books.

Jenn Fisher's website

Happy Birthday, Nancy Drew!


caite said...

oddly enough, I have never read a Nancy Drew book.

Anonymous said...

Lesa, that party sounds like so much fun. I wish I could be there and join you all. I have loved Nancy Drew for way too many years to share. I still have my first Nancy Drew, THE HIDDEN WINDOW MYSTERY, and I just got up to see if it was inscribed. Yes. My name is in the front, written in my best cursive and my mom had written that I received it for my 10th birthday from my aunt and uncle. My parents did not give me books, but I received them as gifts from relatives and friends and my old friends are still housed here, treasured.

My favorite Nancy Drew is probably THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE. For some reason, I just loved the idea that there would secret passages and stairs in the walls. I know I went around my grandparents house knocking on the walls looking for secret room. My grandfather assured me that there were none, as he had built the house, but I wasn't convinced! LOL

Anonymous said...

When I was in the seventh grade my friend Judy M and I discovered the Nancy Drew books. What makes it so memorable is that Judy was diagnosed with a brain tumor at approximately the same time. None of us knew if she would survive (this was over 50 years ago). But I kept bringing her Nancy Drew books and little by little she was able to read and understand them again. She eventually made a full recovery and told me years later that she just had to keep going in order to see if she had figured out the mysteries correctly. I still have some of those Nancy Drew books in my library today.

Ingrid King said...

I've never read a Nancy Drew mystery. I didn't grow up in this country, so I'm chalking it up to that, but I think it's time to close that cultural gap and read one or two!

Lesa said...

Out of curiosity, Caite, what did you like to read as a kid?

Lesa said...

Oh, Kay! I'm so glad you have a Nancy Drew story. I'm looking forward to sharing them with other fans on Wednesday night.

Lesa said...

Thank you for sharing that story about your friend, Judy, and the Nancy Drew books. What a beautiful memory to share!

Lesa said...


I'd just like to suggest that you start with the original series, and not the recent books. I don't think much of them.

Dean James said...

I still have my extensive collection of Nancy Drew books. The first mystery I ever read, at the age of ten, was The Secret of Shadow Ranch, the revised version. It was love at first read, and I grabbed up every Nancy Drew book I could find after that. And 40 years later, I still have them... along with some of my other favorites, like Judy Bolton and the Dana Girls.

Lesa said...

Very, very wise of you, Dean. I loved the Nancy Drew books. I think, though, that the first mysteries I read might have been Jerry West's Happy Hollister books. I still have fond memories of them.

Kris said...

I don't have any fun stories (loved yours though!) but I love Nancy Drew books. This was the first mystery series that I read...and read and read and read. One day I would like to collect an original copy of each of the books. That would be so stinking cool.

Lesa said...

Good luck with that ambition, Kris! It would be cool to own originals of each of them.

Jenn said...


Thanks for your Blog on our ND event a the Poisoned Pen! Unfortunately due to my grandmother's funeral I wasn't able to be at the event but other Sleuth members in the local AZ area were. If you were able to go or have any interest, our local Nancy Drew Sleuths meet up every other month at the Chandler Fashion Mall's Barnes and Noble store near or in the Cafe inside for our Nancy Drew book discussion group. Lots of fun. Our next meeting is May 29 (Sat) at 1pm, discussing books 12 and 13 in the classic series (Hollow Oak and Ivory Charm).


Lesa said...

Oh,how fun, Jenn! I didn't make the party either, although I intended to go. I worked too late that night to get away. I might just take you up on that one of these days. Thanks!

Jenn said...

Great! Our next meeting after May is July 24 most likely but we'll be updating our book discussion schedule shortly at our website:


Lesa said...

Thanks, Jenn!

Drew Watts said...

So chic Nancy Drew Birthday Party. The colors that have been used are absolutely perfect. Good job my friend!! I’ll have to attend a birthday party on this weekend at some local event space San Francisco and I would like to gift such a colorful DIY cake for my friend. Hoping that will get successful at it.