Growing up I was a huge book reader, I read anything I could get my hands on, but one of my favorite series was Nancy Drew. Her super girl sleuth style and cool friends like George the tomboy, Bess and Ned her boyfriend had me coming back for more, time and time again. I think I must have read every book written from the 1930s-60s and to this day are part of my fond memories of my childhood.
So it was with delight and excitement that when I saw a collection of 1950s Nancy Drew books for sale on Ebay several years ago, I knew I had to buy them right then and there (especially since my books from my childhood were long passed on to others to enjoy).
Today’s post will show off my books, as well as supply you with a bit of history and other vintage goodies on the Super Sleuth herself…Nancy Drew.
Brief History of Nancy Drew Books:
Nancy Drew is a fictional American character in a mystery fiction series created by publisher Edward Stratemeyer (who also created the Hardy Boys Series). Stratemeyer believed that a woman’s place was in the home, but he was aware that the Hardy Boys books were popular with girl readers and wished to capitalize on girls’ interest in mysteries by offering a strong female heroine.
The character first appeared in 1930 and was an immediate success. The 6,000 copies that Macy’s ordered for the 1933 Christmas season sold out within days. In 1934 Fortune Magazine featured the Syndicate in a cover story and singled Nancy Drew out for particular attention: “Nancy is the greatest phenomenon among all the fifty-centers. She is a best seller. How she crashed a Valhalla that had been rigidly restricted to the male of her species is a mystery even to her publishers.”
The character of Nancy Drew has gone through many permutations over the years. Despite revisions, “What hasn’t changed, however, are [Nancy’s] basic values, her goals, her humility, and her magical gift for having at least nine lives. For more than six decades, her essence has remained intact.”
The books are ghostwritten by a number of authors and published under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene. They have sold over 80 million copies in 25 different languages (Source).
Early 1950s Vintage Nancy Drew Book Covers with 1940s Style Binding (1950-53)
About the Binding:
The 1940s Style binding is one of the earliest types of Nancy Drew library editions. The front covers of most books have a line drawing based on the original Russell Tandy dust jacket art from the 1930s. The overall style matches that of the 1946 regular editions that have the solid blue cover, large blue silhouette, and the dark blue lettering. These books were bound as early as 1950 and as late as 1953. This particular library binding is unquestionably the scarcest and most difficult to acquire of the Nancy Drew library editions (Source).
Front cover of the books:
Inside cover of all the books:
Another inside image.
Now that you have seen my collection lets check out some other examples of early years Nancy Drew Covers (1930s-50s):
Nancy Drew in the Movies:
1938-1939 Four Nancy Drew Movies were created, starring Bonita Granville as Nancy and Frankie Thomas as Ted (not Ned! What?!).
And in the 1970s there was television series starring Pamela Sue Martin (also featuring the Hardy Boys). Then the last movie version was in 2007 with Emma Roberts as Nancy. It seems from lack of onscreen exposure that Nancy is not too popular in Hollywood.
The Vintage Inn Final thoughts:
Nancy Drew is an iconic fictional character that will never fade into history. She may go thru more changes on her looks and her who she is as a character (don’t we all) but in the end, she will always be the teenage girl with an eye for super sleuthing and adventure. The stories I fell in love with as a kid (and still love today).
For more reading on Nancy Drew history (and many other cool items and topics) please check out the fantastic website ‘Nancy Drew Sleuth‘.
Question time: Are you a Nancy Drew fan? Or were you a fan of other series of books? If so please share.