The Making of a Girl Detective #3

We continue to get acquainted with the beautiful women standing at the origins of a series of books. Meet Harriet Stratemeyer.

We remind you that in honor of the upcoming birthday of Nancy Drew, we will publish short articles and interesting facts from the past of the book series during the week.

Putting Nancy into Words

Just weeks after the launch of the Nancy Drew series, Edward Stratemeyer died of pneumonia. Stratemeyer's grown daughters, Harriet Stratemeyer Adams and Edna Stratemeyer Squier, took over the syndicate, but the financial realities of the Depression eventually forced them to make changes. Some series were dropped and writers' salaries had to be cut. Due to the drop in pay, Mildred Wirt decided not to continue writing for the syndicate, and Harriet and Edna asked Walter Karig, another syndicate writer, to take on the task. He wrote volumes 8-10, but Mildred returned to write volumes 11-25.

Mildred was truly ahead of her time, a "do it all" kind of woman who juggled caring for a daughter and an ailing husband with numerous writing projects and a job outside the home. Mildred loved the character of Nancy, but often didn't see eye to eye with Harriet and Edna Stratemeyer. As time went on, Harriet and Edna became much more involved in the editorial process, providing extremely detailed outlines and heavily editing manuscripts. Harriet had strong opinions regarding Nancy's character, and wanted Mildred to soften the teenager's speech and behavior. Between volumes 26-32, there were quite a few authors who took on the task of writing Nancy Drew, but Harriet wrote volumes 33-56 herself, and later revised all the books from the 1930s and 1940s with help from a few other writers.