Original Nancy Drew author dies

TOLEDO, Ohio (CNN) – Millie Benson, the author who captivated generations of young girls with her Nancy Drew mystery books, died Tuesday night. She was 96.


Benson is the one who wrote the original 26 novels. I always loved that series growing up, especially the character George. I could relate.

Nancy, we hardly knew ye…

I grew up on the 1950s bowdlerized versions (I had two older sisters)…they were much shorter than the originals and lacked the humorous shuffling Negroes, avaricious Jews, and villainous swarthy Dagoes who hung around down by the docks and hopped themselves up by sniffing “snow.”

Shortly before my own daughter was born I was delighted to find that Applewood Books had begun re-issuing the original volumes! I’ve had many pleasurable read-aloud hours explaining what a “running board” or a “frock” is.

Well I read Nancy Drew even though I didn’t have any older sisters, and I am secure enough in my masculinity to not grasp at straws to defend my love for this titian-haired heroine. Oh Nancy! What did you ever see in that oaf Ned Nickerson? :frowning:

I knew Ned Nickerson. Ned Nickerson was a friend of mine. You sir are no Ned Nickerson! (Just a joke! He’s fictional.) ( But then, so is Arnold Winkelried. Wasn’t he Guildenstern in the Swiss version of the play?)

She only got $150 per book…with no royalties, and was forbidden from identifying herself as the author of the series.

96 and still working! Wow! My heroine. R.I.P.

All Toledoans, myself inluded are proud of our Milly.
Toledo Blade Article Milly Benton

(Hope I got that URL right, never put a linc in a post before so if it’s wrong forgive me, and Mod, PLEASE fix?)

Our local PBS StationWGTE produced a one hour documenty about her Titled “The Storied life of Milly Benton” (Sorry, I just checked thier web site, and it’s not currently available) It had been scheduled and did run on 9-11, but we didn’t watch, as our minds were elsewhere at the time you understand.I’m sure with her passing, the show will be rerun and available on thier website soon.

Yes, Violet she continued to write her article for the Blade, it usually consisted of items of import to the Seniors in the area. She was reportedly working on this weeks article when she began to not feel well and was taken to the hospital.

MILLY Ol’ Girl many of us owe you much. Our introduction to the world of reading. Our own fantasys of finding out the mysteries of the universe, and so much more. Thanks

although I must admit I read more Hardy Boys, having had a MAD crush on Parker Stevenson in JrHigh

I spent a lot of years in Toledo. Milly was something of an amusing cultural icon.

My favorite journalism prof, a crusty, gruff 40 year news veteran who used to be the managing editor of the Blade (one of America’s alleged newspapers) had a great Milly story.

She wrote this column that was kind of an “about town” thing. One day she was on her way to the airport to start her vacation (this was probably in the mid 70s give or take) and Joe, the instuctor’s, phone rang with Milly on the other end. A paraphrase follows:

Milly: (excited yelling voice) Joe, it’s Milly!
Joe: What is it?
Milly: There’s a fire out by the airport!!! You’ve got to send a reporter right away!!! (Imagine yelling old lady voice)
Joe: It’s an hour to deadline. I don’t have time to get somebody out there.
Milly: Joe, it’s a really BIG fire. You NEED to send a reporter!!!
Joe: You’ve worked here since I was in elementary school, Milly. If you’re not a goddamned reporter then why the hell are you and your brownies and pies always in my goddamned newsroom? Find out what happened, phone the story in, catch your flight and have a nice vacation!!!

Milly was so proud of her byline on that “hard” news story she kept in on her desk for years. It’s a shame to see she’s gone.

I too loved Nancy Drew and her lovable friends George, Bess, and Ned (although I always thought Ned was a bit too good to be true.) I once owned the entire original 56 books in hardcover, but my mom sold them at a yard sale without my knowing! She thought I had outgrown them. Hrumph. I still check them out of the library occasionally, though they only have the newer paperback ones, wherein Nancy is a swingin’ 80s girl.

Rest in peace, Milly, and thank you for many fun adventures.

She knew that going in. The man she wrote for took the monetary risks. If the books had flopped she would have still got her money. $150 was a lot of money during the depression.

I don’t want to in any way detract from the accomplishments of this wonderfully talented lady, however, she was not the creator of the Nancy Drew series. See this link for more information. While it’s true that Millie Benson wrote a huge percentage of the original books, the first three were written by Edward Stratemeyer. As with most of the series that his publishing company produced (Tom Swift, Hardy Boys, Rover Boys, Nancy Drew), he almost always wrote the first few books himself, then provided outlines to variouse authors for subsequent books. I in no way wish to imply that Millie Benson wasn’t an extreamly talented author that brought to life a character that meant a great deal to a lot of young people, I do just want people to also recognize that Edward Stratemeyer was the founding father of most of the series that a lot of us hold dear from childhood.

Hah! I always said the quality dropped WAY off after The Bungalow Mystery.

The link (which is not to the Smithsonian’s website) has an article claiming to be from Smithsonian’s October 1992 issue.

I don’t have the hard copy, but here is a list of articles from that issue, for citation purposes, from the Smithsonian’s web site. I can’t find anything that matches the article.

I’m not claiming fraud; I’m just perplexed.

Ok, I’ll see what I can find, I’ve seen that same article several places, so I’ll work on finding something a bit more solid.

Ok, the actual article doesn’t seem to be available, but if you check out this link you’ll see that it was indeed an article published in October of 1991. Off by a year from the date listed on the first web page. Since I’ve seen the article re-posted several times, I’m going to assume that they didn’t actually change the text, although to be fair, without being able to see the original article, I can’t say for certain.

Hey! Don’t you be disrespecting my boy Ned. He goes to school at my alma mater!

Here is a fan site that supports the Edward Stratemeyer theory. I know, I know it’s only a fan site but it is obviously well done and seems to be well researched.

I have always heard that one person did create Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and several others.
Maybe this is a job for Mr. Adams?