The Making of a Girl Detective #1

On the eve of the birthday of our favorite girl-detective, we decided to plunge into her story.

During this week we will publish short articles and interesting facts from the past.

Let's start from the very beginning!

A man on Vision

Nancy Drew was the brainchild of Edward Stratemeyer, a writer turned businessman who made adventure series for children a publishing phenomenon.

Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1862, Edward was one of six children of German immigrant Henry Julius Stratemeyer and his wife, Anna. Even as a boy, Edward was an avid reader and writer, and published his own newspaper for boys, The Young American, when he was just fifteen years old. In 1889, he sold his first story, Victor Horton's Idea, to Golden Days for Boys and Girls magazine for seventy-five dollars. His career as a legitimate writer was launched, and over the next several years he turned out an array of adventure stories, many of them series, under many different pen names.

In the early 1900s, Stratemeyer employed a system that enabled him to produce even more series. He developed concepts and detailed outlines for each book, but assigned the actual creation of the manuscripts to ghostwriters. One author's name — concocted by Stratemeyer — appeared on each book in a given series to help establish a "brand" easily recognized by the public. Soon the Stratemeyer Syndicate was creating over thirty series for boys and girls, all with a large and loyal following. In 1927 The Hardy Boys series, about two teenage brothers who solved mysteries, debuted and quickly became a huge success. Stratemeyer set about to create a similar series for girls, and the idea for Nancy Drew was born.