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Mildred Augustine Wirt Benson
July 10, 1905-May 28, 2002

The Millie Benson Biography

I am currently writing a biography of Nancy Drew's first ghostwriter, Mildred Wirt Benson, which I hope to complete in 2015 encompassing her fascinating life and her adventures as a "real life Nancy Drew." Interested publishers may send inquiries here.

There have been some inaccuracies in the media accounts in the wake of Mildred's passing. To view the correct facts and information, click here! Please direct all media inquiries here.

The Mildred A. Wirt Benson website was created to inform collectors and the more avid series book researcher about this lively and spirited author. I am currently writing a biography of Mildred. This website is based on several years of research and interviews with Mildred. Mildred is known most famously as the first Carolyn Keene, ghost name for the popular Nancy Drew series, created by Edward Stratemeyer. Mildred wrote many short stories, children's books, and newspaper articles over the years after her first published piece, The Courtesy appeared in the children's magazine St. Nicholas.

Below is a guide to the links bar at left, so be sure to read on about the various areas of this website and bookmark this site for future reading and research. Please do not copy text or use photos and images from this website without first asking for permission! For clues to my bio, click here.

Mildred's Biography

Mildred lived through quite a century of change, yet her short stories and books reflect a timeless world ripe with mystery and adventure that transcended many generations. In this section you'll read about her childhood and her desire to write at an early age, her college days at the University of Iowa, and her career writing short stories, children's books, and her reporting.

Mildred's Published Works

You'll find a list of all of Mildred's published works neatly organized in a handy chart, a list of her various pen names, as well as lists of children's magazines such as St. Nicholas for which she wrote over 100 short stories.

Mysterious Carolyn Keene

Read about the mystery behind the original Carolyn Keene and how the mystery was finally solved thanks to many collectors who, like Nancy Drew, were determined to solve a most baffling mystery!

Mildred's University of Iowa Archives

Mildred donated papers, photographs, and working copies of manuscripts among other special items to her alma mater, The University of Iowa. These archives are housed in the Iowa Women's Archives. The University of Iowa also houses a special collection of Mildred's books including the elusive Pirate Brig, a historical novel, which was published in 1950. You'll find links to the University of Iowa online and to the contents of Mildred's archives.

Nancy Drew Conference

In 1993, Nancy Drew was the focus of her own conference at the University of Iowa. Mildred was in attendance at the conference and was Person of the Week on ABC News the night the conference began. Read about the various events, themes, and discussions that went on during the conference. You'll find source information on books and articles published about the conference.

Books & Series by Mildred A. Wirt Benson

From her first series, Ruth Fielding, to her last, The Boy Scout Explorers, Mildred wrote more than 130 published children's books--many part of a series and some were individual books. Her most popular series, The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, is still being published today, over 80 years after Mildred's first ghosted Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Old Clock debuted in 1930. You'll find links to the following series and books at the left:

Nancy Drew, Penny Parker, Dana Girls, Kay Tracey, Penny Nichols, Madge Sterling, Ruth Fielding, Ruth Darrow, Doris Force, Trailer Stories for Girls, Flash Evans, Connie Carl, The Mildred A. Wirt Mystery Stories, individual books under Mildred A. Wirt, Dangerous Deadline and Quarry Ghost(U.K. version Kristie at College) under the name Mildred Benson, Honey Bunch, Dot and Dash, The Brownie Scouts, Dan Carter, Cub Scout Series, Girl Scout Series, and the Boy Scout Explorer Series.

Sources & Links

You'll find invaluable information on sources and links to sites devoted to some of Mildred's series books. Several websites are featured that revolve around the Stratemeyer Syndicate which created some of the series Mildred wrote books for.

Millie Memorial

After she passed away in 2002, many fans sent in their thoughts and condolences and memories of Mildred, which I compiled into a memorial page. For the Millie Benson Memorial page, click here.

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