The 100 Most Popular Young Adult Authors: Biographical Sketches and Bibliographies

By Bernard A. Drew | Go to book overview

Carolyn Keene

Mystery

River Heights
1930

Nancy Drew Series

Carolyn Keene does not exist. Along with Franklin W. Dixon she links this generation's popular young adult fiction with that of previous generations. Her fictional heroine Nancy Drew has solved hundreds of crime cases since she first appeared in 1930.

“I think it is not overstating the case to maintain that the original Nancy Drew is a mythic character in the psyches of the American women who followed her adventures as they were growing up. She may have been Superman, Batman, and Green Hornet, all wrapped up in a pretty girl in a blue convertible,” mystery writer Nancy Picard stated in the introduction to a recent hardcover reprint of The Hidden Staircase.

Keene is a name made up by Edward L. Stratemeyer, an industrious fiction syndicator. Stratemeyer invented interesting characters for several series of books and hired writers to flesh out his story outlines. (Stratemeyer also created the pen name Franklin W. Dixon. For more information, see the Dixon entry, page 98.)

Stratemeyer was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1862; his father was a dry goods dealer. He married Magdalene Baker Van Camp in 1891, and they had two daughters: Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, who took over his syndicate after his death in 1930, and Edna Camilla Stratemeyer Squier.

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