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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Nancy Drew Collection

Collection Overview

Date Span:
Creator: Nancy Drew Collection
Extent: 9.50 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0093
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: An ongoing collection of materials related to the 1993 Nancy Drew Conference and Mildred Wirt Benson.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 3

Access: The collection is open for research.


Acquisition: The collection (donor nos. 154, 219, and others) consists of material donated by The University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1993, Kären Mason, and other donors in subsequent years.

Preferred Citation: Nancy Drew Collection, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

The Nancy Drew Collection is an ongoing collection of materials related to the Nancy Drew Conference and Mildred Wirt Benson, author of the first Nancy Drew mysteries. The collection also contains material related to other Nancy Drew phenomena.

The Nancy Drew Conference was held at The University of Iowa on April 16-18, 1993. The conference was called following the induction of Mildred Augustine Wirt Benson, author of the first Nancy Drew mysteries, to The University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communications Hall of Fame in 1992. This honor was bestowed on Benson after Susan Redfern, the journalism school secretary, discovered that Mildred Benson had been the first person to receive an M.A. from the school.

Such great public interest was created by Mildred Benson's election to the hall of fame that the school organized a conference to explore the phenomenon of Nancy Drew. Journalism professor Carolyn Dyer chaired the conference organizing committee. Some of the sessions included: "Nancy Drew: A Moment in Feminist History," "Nancy Drew and Modern Adult Mystery Writers," "Gender Roles and Nancy Drew," and "Cultural Perspectives on Nancy Drew." Mildred Wirt Benson attended the conference as an honored guest.

In 1995 the University of Iowa Press published Rediscovering Nancy Drew, a collection of papers, speeches and interviews from the conference, edited by Carolyn Dyer and Nancy Romalov.

The collection dates from 1964 to the present and measures 7 linear inches. The collection is arranged in three series: Mildred Wirt Benson, Conference files, and Nancy Drew Ephemera. The collection consists of conference materials, such as planning committee materials and videotaped conference sessions, as well as bibliographies, and articles about Mildred Wirt Benson and the phenomenon of Nancy Drew. The bibliographies include "An Annotated Checklist of Stratemeyer and Stratemeyer Syndicate Publications" and a publishing history of the Nancy Drew series.

The collection also contains two copies of the video "The Storied Life of Millie Benson." One is a 60 min. unabridged and unedited version and the other is 30 min. long.
Mildred Wirt Benson papers (IWA):  Journalist for the Toledo Blade and writer of the first Nancy Drew mysteries and other children's series books.
The Special Collections Department at The University of Iowa Libraries holds many books written by Mildred Wirt Benson under her own name and various pseudonyms, including the Nancy Drew books she wrote for Stratemeyer Syndicate under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene.

Browse by Series:

  • Box 1:
  • Articles about Mildred Benson - 1983-2002
  • “The Storied Life of Millie Benson,” (VHS, 30 min.) [V238]
  • “The Storied Life of Millie Benson,” unabridged and unedited interview (VHS, 60 min.) [V324]
  • Box 1:
  • Newspaper clippings - 1993
  • Planning committee materials - 1992-1993
  • Pocket program - 1993
  • Preliminary program and registration information - 1993
  • Press releases - 1993
  • Programs - 1993
  • Rediscovering Nancy Drew conference book materials - 1994
  • Videocassettes: Nancy Drew Conference [v10-v24] - 1993
  • Keynote address (V10)
  • Banquet (V11)
  • Mildred Wirt Benson: Nancy Drew and Girls’ Adventures (V12)
  • Doing Research on Children’s Series books (V13)
  • Reading from “The Secret of the Old Clock” (V14)
  • History of the Stratemeyer Syndicate (V15)
  • Is Reading Series Fiction Bad for Kids? (V16)
  • Nancy Drew and Modern Adult Mystery Writers (V17)
  • Nancy Drew Conference Testimonials (V18)
  • The Nancy Drew Series (V19)
  • Stereotypical Racial and Ethnic Images in Nancy Drew (V20)
  • Cultural Perspectives on Nancy Drew (V21)
  • Gender Roles and Nancy Drew (V22)
  • Images of Nancy Drew (V23)
  • Research Roundtable (V24)
  • Box 3:
  • Media coverage (folder 1) - 1992-1993
  • Media coverage (folder 1) - 1992-1993
  • Photographs - 1993
  • Box 1:
  • Articles
  • “The Case of the Girl Detectives” by Barbara Bedway, Ohio Magazine, November 1989
  • “The Ghost of Nancy Drew” by Geoffrey S. Lapin - 1984
  • “The Lives and Times of Nancy Drew,” Mademoiselle, July - 1964
  • Miscellaneous Nancy Drew articles - 1993-2004
  • Bibliographies - 1987-1992
  • Materials relating to Betsy Caprio’s The Mystery of Nancy Drew: Girl Sleuth on the Couch
  • Excerpt and postcard - 1992
  • Conference posters [stored in map case]
  • River Heights map [stored in map case]
  • Series 4: ARTIFACTS
  • Box 2:
  • Nancy Drew Conference T-shirts