Nancy Drew Mystery Stories
By Carolyn Keene

The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories were first published in 1930 by Grosset and Dunlap.  The original 56 stories were written by various people under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene:
#1-7,11-25, and 30 by Mildred Wirt Benson
#8, 9, and 10 by Walter Karig
#26 by George Waller, Jr.
#27 by Margaret Scherf
#28 by Wilhelmina Rankin
#29 by Alma Sasse
#31, 33-56, and revised #1-34 by Harriet Adams
#32 by Charles Strong

The writers were hired by the Stratemeyer Syndicate and followed outlines that were provided by the Syndicate.  Mildred Wirt Benson and Harriet Adams are considered the two most important Nancy Drew authors, and both women had a profound effect on the Nancy Drew series.  However, Walter Karig is also considered important because the three volumes he wrote are favorites with many readers.

List of Nancy Drew titles and publication dates
Information on Original Text Books
Nancy Drew Format Information
Nancy Drew Values and Collecting Tips
Nancy Drew Blog Posts

Nancy Through The Years

Nancy Drew #1-34

The first 34 Nancy Drew books in the original texts published from 1930 to 1956 contain 25 chapters and around 210 to 225 pages each.  The early Nancy Drew is smart, adventurous, flippant, and daring.  Nancy has blond hair and drives a smart blue roadster.  Helen Corning is Nancy's friend in the earliest books, but by volume 5, Bess Marvin and George Fayne are Nancy's closest friends, and Helen only appears occasionally.  Ned Nickerson meets Nancy in volume 7, and the attraction is mutual.  Burt Eddleton and Dave Evans are not present in the earliest texts and are not mentioned until volume 20.  Burt and Dave do appear in the revised versions of several of the early texts.

Nancy Drew #35-56

Volumes 35 through 56 and the revised versions of volumes 1 through 34 are 20 chapters and around 180 pages each.  In these books, Nancy becomes more sedate and is nearly always calm, cool, and collected.  Nancy is still smart and daring, but she is no longer flippant or excitable.  One cannot imagine this Nancy ever having a hair out of place.  It is this Nancy Drew that people refer to when they say that Nancy Drew is 'perfect.'  The original Nancy Drew is not perfect, but this one is perfect, or at least very close to perfect.  Nancy now has reddish-blond hair and drives a blue convertible.  Nancy is often accompanied by her friends Bess, George, Ned, Burt, and Dave while she solves her mysteries.

Nancy Drew #57-175

Some people say that Nancy Drew is dramatically different in the paperbacks and that she is not the real Nancy Drew.  However, when read in order right after the original 56, Nancy Drew is not much different at all.  #57 and #59 through about #70 are very much like the higher-numbered volumes of the original 56, and the only real difference is that they are paperback books rather than hardcover books.  Many people avoid the paperbacks simply because they are paperbacks and would collect the paperbacks if the books had been issued in the Grosset and Dunlap hardcover editions.  It was my quest to acquire hardcover versions of the paperback titles that led me to the different library bindings.

After the early group of paperbacks, the series does slowly change with Burt Eddleton and Dave Evans disappearing from the series, never to reappear.  Ned Nickerson does stick around but appears only sporadically.  Bess Marvin and George Fayne are in most of the books; that is, at least one of the two girls is present.  They tend to take turns being with Nancy with the other being unavailable, which actually makes a lot more sense than in the original 56 when not only Bess and George, but Ned, Burt, and Dave are able to drop everything and join Nancy at a moment's notice anywhere on the planet.

These books have Nancy driving a blue Mustang convertible.  Sometimes Nancy's hair is blond and sometimes it is reddish-blond.

The Nancy Drew Files #1-124

This spin-off series which was published from 1986 to 1997 has Nancy Drew dressing in trendy clothes and sometimes interested in guys other than Ned.  Ned Nickerson is still Nancy's boyfriend, but Nancy and Ned frequently argue.  Ned sulks about Nancy spending too much time on her cases, and Nancy feels that her cases come first and that Ned should support her work even if he can never spend time with her.  They break up several times during the course of the series and always get back together.  In this series, Nancy and Ned are a dysfunctional couple that seems to thrive upon the abnormality of the relationship.  In the middle of the melodrama, Nancy continues to solve mysteries that in these books usually involve murders.

Nancy Drew, Girl Detective

This new series began in early 2004 after the end of the original series at volume 175 in late 2003.  Nancy Drew is once again impulsive and flippant just as she is in the early books from the 1930s.  However, this series takes a totally different approach as it is written in the first person rather than in the third person, making Nancy much more real.  Additionally, Nancy becomes so obsessed with her mysteries that she often forgets to complete ordinary tasks.  Ned Nickerson is once again present, and he and Nancy get along well.  Nancy's friends Bess and George take a more active role in helping Nancy; Bess is now a skilled mechanic, and George is a technology wiz.

Nancy Drew Cover Art Galleries
Nancy Drew #1 Dust Jacket
Dust Jackets #1-38

The first 38 Nancy Drew books were issued by Grosset and Dunlap in hardcover with dust jackets from 1930 to 1961.

Nancy Drew Picture Cover
Guide to Picture Covers #1-56

The yellow spine picture covers have been printed since 1962 and consist of #1-56.

Nancy Drew #79
Paperbacks #57-175

Volumes 57 through 175 were published by Simon and Schuster from 1979 until 2003.  This page shows all of the different cover art for #57-175.

Nancy Drew #79
Nancy Drew Files #1-124

The Nancy Drew Files series was in print from 1986 through 1997.  This page has general information as well as a cover art gallery.

Nancy Drew Danish Edition
Danish Editions

Dozens of Nancy Drew books were translated into Danish and published in Denmark.  These books picture a very sophisticated Nancy Drew on the covers.

Nancy Drew French Edition
French Editions

Nancy Drew's popularity has been unprecedented in France.  Known as Alice Roy, Nancy Drew is a collector's delight with many cover variations in existence.

Nancy Drew Hebrew Edition
Hebrew Editions

Some Nancy Drew books were translated into Hebrew and published in Israel.

Nancy Drew Norwegian Edition
Norwegian Editions

The Nancy Drew series has been very popular in Norway.  The cover art is new and original, but based on the original Grosset and Dunlap editions.

Nancy Drew Swedish Edition
Swedish Editions

The Nancy Drew series has also been very popular in Sweden.  Here, Nancy is known as Kitty.

American Econo-Clad Edition
American Econo-Clad Library Binding

The Econo-Clad books come in several colors and in most cases feature the original picture cover art which is glued to the library binding.

Nancy Drew BTSB Edition
Bound to Stay Bound Library Binding

The Bound to Stay Bound editions exactly reproduce the Grosset and Dunlap art but use a variety of binding colors.

Nancy Drew Cameo Binding
Cameo Library Binding

These library bindings feature line drawings of the 1950s dust jacket art, a cameo spine symbol, and a magnifying glass symbol on the back cover.

Nancy Drew FLB Binding
FLB Library Binding

The FLB editions use a crude drawing based on the Nappi cover art for Twisted Candles.

Nancy Drew Geometric Design Binding
Geometric Design Library Binding

The Geometric Design library bindings consist of simple geometric designs.  Also pictured are examples from other series.

Nancy Drew Green APC Binding
Green APC Library Binding

These library editions were bound during the 1960s and early 1970s and feature a black and white drawing based on the cover art of the 1960s.

Nancy Drew Miscellaneous 1970s Binding
Miscellaneous 1970s Library Binding

These library bindings feature a plain cover with the title or the title and a crude drawing contained within a box on the front cover.

Nancy Drew Multi Edition
Multi Library Binding

These library bindings feature a cover art design similar to the multipic endpapers design used in the regular 1970s editions.

Nancy Drew 1940s Style Binding
1940s Style Library Binding

These library editions were likely bound during the late 1940s or 1950s, and the covers feature a line drawing based on the early Russell Tandy cover art.

Nancy Drew Orange APC Edition
Orange and Red APC Library Binding

These library editions were bound during the late 1950s and early 1960s by the American Publishers Corporation.

Nancy Drew Patterned Library Binding
Patterned Library Bindings

These library bindings consist of generic patterns similar to the types of patterns used on wallpaper.

Nancy Drew Laminated Library Binding
Wanderer and Minstrel Laminated Library Bindings

These hardcover versions of the Wanderer and Minstrel paperbacks have bindings with the cover art attached to the binding by either lamination or glue.

Wanderer and Minstrel Printed Boards
Wanderer and Minstrel Printed Boards

These hardcover versions of the Wanderer and Minstrel paperbacks have bindings with the cover art printed directly on the library binding.

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