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Just the Facts About Millie:

In the wave of publicity surrounding Millie's death in 2002 and since then, there have been some inaccurate things published related to the volumes that she wrote and other items. There is also similar misinformation in articles prior to her death. For a great timeline of highlights in Millie's life, click here. As for "just the facts," please note the following:
  • Millie wrote 23 of the first 30 original Nancy Drew books, 1-7, 11-25, 30. If you are wondering what makes an original Nancy Drew book--it is one that has not been revised. It will have 25 chapters and 200 or so pages. These text versions are no longer in print by the original publisher, however, Applewood Books reprinted them through book 21 and you can buy originals at sites like eBay.
  • Millie did not fully create the series or the character of Nancy Drew--this was dreamed up by Edward Stratemeyer, who provided a brief plot outline to Millie. Millie did however, create Nancy's sparkling personality, plucky demeanor, and courage to succeed against all obstacles. With pen in hand, Millie created a legend in her own right. She took the plots supplied by the Syndicate and created an imaginative world of suspense that has thrilled readers for many years and continues to do so as the spirit of her Nancy lives on even in today's modern stories!
  • Millie was at first paid $125.00 for some of the early books but by the time she wrote the last few Nancy Drew books, she was getting upwards of $500.00.
  • Millie's journalism career at the Toledo Blade began in 1944 when it was then the Toledo Times and continued for 58 years, however she held jobs at newspapers after graduating college, from as early as 1925, when she worked for the Clinton Iowa Herald as a society and general reporter before going back to school to get her Masters Degree at the University of Iowa, then State University of Iowa. After graduating, she also worked for another Iowa paper before marrying Asa Wirt.
  • Millie's undergraduate degree was in English and was received in 1925.
  • Millie was THE first person to get her Masters in Journalism at the University of Iowa in 1927. She's often referred to as the first woman--and technically she was, but she preferred to be known a the first person to get the degree.
  • The original color of Nancy's roadster was blue. It became maroon shortly for a couple of volumes during a change of writers, and only became yellow briefly in a later volume, The Haunted Showboat.
  • Millie was only 24 years old when she wrote the first book, The Secret of the Old Clock. She was still 24 years old when it was published, being that the date of release was April, 28, 1930 and her 25th birthday was not until that July 10th.
  • She did not churn out a mystery every six weeks. The time varied from just a couple of weeks to up to a month or 6 weeks depending on scheduling and how quickly a publisher needed the book.
  • She was not 14 when she wrote her first published piece, The Courtesy, but was only 12 and then was 13 when it was first published, winner of a silver badge.
  • She did not write 100+ short stories to pay her way through college--some of these were written before college, many during to help with expenses, but others were written after she graduated from college.
  • She did not write 130 books, she wrote 135. This figure was once put as high as 136, however one Kay Tracey volume was inaccurately attributed to being one she wrote - #13 The Forbidden Tower, and the figure has since been corrected.
  • When she Married Asa Wirt in 1928 they did not go directly to Toledo, Ohio, they settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where her first husband Asa worked as a press correspondent.
  • Millie was not introduced to Journalism through her husband, Asa. She got her degree in English at the University of Iowa, worked for the student paper, The Daily Iowan, and worked between her undergraduate degree and her graduate degree in journalism at the Clinton Iowa Herald.
  • Millie's daughter was named Margaret (Peggy), not Penny as has sometimes been inaccurately printed. Penny is the name of the aspiring reporter turned sleuth in Millie's favorite series--the Penny Parker Mystery Stories.
  • After retiring, in December, 2001, she scaled back to a monthly column(not weekly.)
  • She did not become ill on her last day at work while at home working--she was at work doing what she loved until the very last, they way she would have wanted it!
  • If any of the volumes you have of 1-7, 11-25, or 30 have 25 chapters and around 200 or so pages, you have an original text Nancy Drew book--the text version that Millie wrote. If it only has 20 chapters, and a date past 1959 on the copyright page, it is the revision. The revisions pared down the descriptive text, sometimes deleted scenes or added new scenes, and as Millie has said, "took the spice out of them." A lot of Millie's text is still in them however, except for volumes, 2, 4, 5, 11, 12, 14, 17, and 18. When these were revised, they became all new stories or had mostly new plots and characters. 2 and 4 retain more similarities than the others however but still have changed plots and character direction.
  • Nancy has been translated in to not 17 languages as has been printed, but 26 languages! And make that 27 if you count the Queen's English! You can view many of the foreign editions at!

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