this is a clickable map.

Fans shared their thoughts, condolences, and memories of Mildred here at the online Millie Benson Memorial. They were posted below to share with fellow collectors and fans of this remarkable and inspirational woman! May her memory and legacy to us all live on for many generations to come! Please direct all media inquiries here.

Millie Benson Online Memorial

The photo at left was from a April 2002 visit to Millie's childhood home in Iowa for the Nancy Drew Sleuths 2002 Convention. Millie's rich descriptions that gave such flavor to her writings, including the early volumes of the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, could be imagined as we toured areas in Ladora and Iowa City. Her legacy will not be forgotten to fans and collectors.
The book featured above, The Painted Shield, was published under Millie's own name of Mildred A. Wirt. Millie's mother, Lillian, designed the art for the dust jacket. The Dot and Dash series, written under the pen name of Dorothy West, had some adventures based on Millie's childhood in rural Iowa and childhood memories of her grandfather's of days spent in Vermont, an inspiration for scenes in the book featured above, Dot and Dash at the Maple Sugar Camp.

Although never having the honor of meeting Millie, she has been a major part of my life these past few years as a member of the Nancy Drew Sleuth Group. I only wish I could have known her personally. She was one of a kind, a rare individual with exceptional talent and a gusto for life who made each moment count. If only we all could be so lucky. God bless you Mille and thank you for all the wonderful stories you wrote that will live on forever.

---Linda Allen

I would like to send my condolences to the family of Mildred A. Wirt Benson. She opened worlds to me, and I will be forever grateful.

I began reading at the age of 3, and by the 3rd grade I had read all of the Nancy Drew & Dana Girls books. I still have most of them. My daughter has read them, and my future grandaughters will read them as well.

Here's to an amazing woman. May she live on forever through her work. And to her family and friends, thank you for sharing her with the rest of us.

Dear Nancy Drew Sleuths,

As a rootless hotel child of the 1940s, I'd like to reflect back on 'discovering' "Nancy Drew" (originals by Mildred Wirt Benson). I was on a train from Paris to Barcelona with my family. I was traveling with my mother, father and sister Gail. The train was crowded and exciting. We got settled in our train compartment and mother took out the picnic hamper and began to spread out our fine luncheon. We opened bottles of soft drinks we brought with us and oened two of them and passed them around and began eating our sandwiches and small salads; and by then we were feeling pretty good.

We were two hours out of Paris when my sister Gail and I began talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up. We had listed--archeologists, dentists, druggists, elevator operators, detectives, teachers, cowboys, baseball players and and at least twenty other possible careers. We debated and discussed each and every one of them.

We were three hours out of Paris when my mother handed my sister a book from her overnight suitcase. She knew there was still a night ahead of us before we hit the Spanish border. The book was The Message in the Hollow Oak by *Carolyn Keene (*Mildred A. Wirt). Mother smiled at Gail and our folks moved to the sliding door of the compartment and gave directions that they would be in the club car and we should not open the compartment to anyone. She kissed each of us and then went out for the evening.

Gail opened the Nancy Drew mystery story and we sat, side by side, and looked at the white-spined dust jacket first. It was an intriguing cover and we discussed it at length. Then we looked at the frontispiece of Nancy Drew on horseback fleeing the dam which had just been exploded open by dynamite. We agreed that it was quite an exciting illustration and it made us want to begin the story immediately.

The central French countryside was very lovely, but we did not really notice. We read 'aloud' chapter after chapter of Nancy Drew's trip to Canada. It was a train ride I would never forget; and it was a mystery story I would never forget. Little did I realize it would begin my lifetime 'love' for children's books, primarily series books.

Thank you Millie Benson.

As ever, a lifetime series book fan,

Garrett Knute Lothe Pebble Beach, CA

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to pay my last respects to my favorite childhood author. My most beloved series of Ms. Benson's was Nancy Drew Mystery Series. Nancy Drew added glamour and spark in my childhood. With Nancy and her friends, I felt I could conquer any obstacle, always dressed elegantly and always remaining a lady. I will always treasure my memories of reading Nancy Drew books throughout my childhood, and regret the few volumes I may have missed.

All my deepest condolences,

Christine Suppes editor in chief

Millie's works have been such a part of our lives, we are all richer because of her and our love of her books. Faye Kisker

Childhood was a very sad, traumatic time for me. Immersing myself in Mildred's writings, particularly Nancy Drew, was always a happy escape from life's problems. My happiest childhood memories are of me curled up on my canopy bed with a Mildred Wirt book in hand. As an adult I still find comfort, when things aren't going well, in relaxing with a Penny Parker or Nancy Drew title. Thank you Mildred Wirt.

-Donna H.

What can you say about Carolyn Keene aka Mildred Benson? Nothing but, she was a wonderful writer and generations have grown up reading the Nancy Drew series of books.. I personally still have the Nancy Drew books that I read and bought, about 20-25 books.. Even my mom remembers reading the books when she was young.. I am a substitute teacher for the my local school district, and one day during a class one of the 6th grade students was reading a copy of "The Hidden Staircase".. So even future generations will be reading her books in years to come.. The Nancy Drew series is a favorite book to read by the pre-teen, early teenage crowd.. We will all miss her..

In Christ, Charlotte Efird

I cannot think of any books from my childhood that have meant more to me than the Nancy Drew series of wonderful mysteries. Because you see in my childish fantasy world, I became Nancy. I was curious like her to unravel the clues that would lead to solving the crime. She was my role model and I know I am a better person for the introduction to her world. I regret that I never knew Mildred A. Wirt Benson personally. She sounds ever so much more interesting than the characters she created and that is meant as the highest praise. So she leaves a void that can never be filled, but she will live on in our hearts, and souls, and minds for eternity.

Thanks for the memories.

Mari Lyn Henry-Varnay New York, NY

What a shock, I am so very saddened by this news, as we all are. She was a wonderful woman, who lived a very fascinating life.


I am sad about Mildred A. Wirt Benson, but I am very glad that she was working on her newspaper column the day she died. That's a nice way for her to end her life.

John Axe

Hi Jenn (and sleuths) I am sorry to hear of Mildred's passing, she will be missed by all. I am glad that at least you had a chance to meet her and that she was around to realize her current fame. Paul Mular

I was sadden this morning when I read of the death of Millie. She made such a contribution to the literary world. She will really be missed by all. Anne in Alabama

I printed out Millie's last article and read the blurb at the top. Its ironic that she wrote one about books, something she loved since she was a little girl. And true to form she was writing till the very end. I would guess that she probably has a desk and typewriter up in the sky and is working already to beat another deadline. :)

She will be greatly missed by all who loved Nancy Drew.

When the group[Nancy Drew Sleuths] was there she asked why we had all come to Toledo. When we all said it was because of her she was quite surprised. She reminded me a lot of my grandmother who lived to be 95 years old. They both had an energy that never seemed to quit. Millie was sharp as a tack for her age and I just hope I can be just as smart and quick with a funny line when I get to that age. I'm also glad that Millie was finally recognized as being the first Carolyn Keene, it should've happened long before it did. I didn't visit any used bookstores but I did get some books in the mail today, both some Millie's as well as some Paperbacks. Everytime I look up at those books I'll think of her, sitting at her typewriter, putting a piece of paper in it and getting ready to as she put it "let it roll".

Jackie (JK)

All I can say is that this will be a very sad day for many people. Millie touched so many lives and influenced so many people's paths...she will be missed! I find comfort knowing that she was able to keep going in true Millie spirit right until the end.


RE: Mildred A. Wirt Benson passing

I am just heartsick. Another of my 'heros' gone.

Let's take a few minutes to honor her passing.


I never had the pleasure of meeting Millie in person, but I met her through her books. As a long time Nancy Drew fan I only recently learned some of the answers to the many mysteries surrounding the series. Millie was the most pleasant of the many answers I have found.

I cannot explain why Nancy Drew meant so much to me as a child growing up, and I cannot explain why this character continues to be part of my life. Collecting and reading Nancy Drew is more than a hobby to me; I still read them with the heart and imagination of a child. I went through a period of attempting to analyze the books and quickly learned that I didn't want to study Nancy from an academic point of view. I want to enjoy the books for the pure joy of reading and remembering.

In Millie, I soon found an individual every bit as remarkable and fascinating as Nancy Drew. I began to think more of Millie as the "real" Nancy Drew than the "real" Carolyn Keene. Like Nancy, Millie was always up to the challenge. She tackled all obstacles with true grit and determination. Millie taught us that we can overcome limitations and make our hopes and dreams come true. All it takes is a willingness to work and an absolute refusal to give up.

I could go on and on and never quite put my feelings for Millie into words. To some it may seem strange that I feel such strong emotions for someone I've never actually met, but to fellow fans it is perfectly understandable.

I knew one day the hand that held the pen would be stilled, but it all seems to be too soon. She gave so much and had so much more to give. I'm not sure another lifetime would be enough. Millie loved writing, and I am glad that she spent the last day of her life working at what she loved. I don't think she would have wanted it any other way. Goodbye Millie, your spirit and memory will live on in my heart and with the turn of each page that I read.

Denise England, TN

Hello- I was just thinking that perhaps now Margaret Sutton and Millie are settling down to their typewriters with a hot cup of tea in heaven and discussing what the titles of their "new" books will be. Millie's stories instilled good values in all of us. She was truly a remarkable woman. I particularly like the Penny Parker series of books that she wrote. She made Penny everything that she wanted Nancy to be but could not due to outlines that she had to follow. She will be missed greatly by many. Two great authors are not gone as they will be remembered each day by both new and old fans alike. A whole new generation of people will be reading Nancy Drew next year and learn to get to know Nancy in the fabulous flair of Millie's beloved stories.



As a girl, the character of Nancy Drew inspired me to face challenges and succeed in many endeavors. Mildred Wirt Benson was the person who developed Nancy's attributes of confidence, intelligence, and grace under pressure into a role model for generations of women. Through her 23 Nancy Drew mysteries and over 100 other published books, Mrs. Benson also gave an appreciation of reading to millions of children throughout the world. Through her example of a woman with a lifelong love of learning, a 50 plus-year career in her chosen field, and her sense of adventure, Mildred Wirt Benson's life continues to inspire me in adulthood.

Dr. Meredith B. Jaffe

It's wonderful to know she died doing what she loved to do, write. Let's hope she sends us "Bon Mots" signs from heaven. Hail and Farewell, Millie, till we meet again.

Devra Z. Hill, writer

My Name is Debra Brown-Foulks, I read Nancy Drew books as a young teen-ager and I'm fifty today. I still remember how excited I would become as I would start a new book. I learned about a lot of things, such as honesty and friendship, the books definitely stimulated my analytical mind and I believe those books made me the mystery lover that I am today. Nancy Drew books were a part of my childhood that I don't want to forget. My ten year old daughter has all 56 copies of the Nancy Drew Series, I know she will grow to love them as I did and still do. Mildred Wirt Benson will not be forgotten in my household.

Debra Brown-Foulks

I just wanted to express my deepest condolences on the passing of Millie Benson. She will be missed by a lot of people that got to know her through her many wonderful books. I remember reading "The Hidden Staircase" back in 1959 when I was in the 5th grade. My fondest memories were the Christmas that my mother bought me the whole series of the Nancy Drew books. That was the best Christmas I ever had! I still have kept the books and was going to pass it on to my daughter (except I never had a daughter) I have two sons, but I will pass them on to my granddaughter once she is old enough. I wished that I had known Mildred Benson, because she certainly influenced me thorough her wonderful mystery books. I have read so much about her that I felt that I knew her! I still sit down and re-read my Nancy Drew books occasionally, as they bring back so many memories. I also collected and kept the Dana Girls series, which she wrote. Thank you Millie, for your wonderful adventures that you shared with us all.

Jan Walker Camarillo, California

My name is Joanne Parsons Decker. Today my son emailed me an AP article regarding Ms. Benson's passing. My sister and I looked forward to a monthly car ride into the city of Seattle to Frederick & Nelson where we would immediately drag our mother to the fourth floor where the books and toys were. We headed to the books first. We each had brought our allowance. And now we didn't hesitate--we each grabbed our favorite book in the series we were reading: Bobbsey Twins for her, and of course, Nancy Drew for me.

Never once did I know Carolyn Keene was a pen name until I was an adult. I always wondered who could be such a prolific writer.

Now I am sharing my collection with one of my granddaughters. Aat first she had a hard time with the language (I had very early editions). She is in the swing of it now. I am proud of her as she is in first grade and just devours (sp) these books just as I did.

Thank you, Milred Wirt Benson, for the world you created for me as a child and teenager. Thank you for creating one for Nicole. We will miss you.

Nancy Drew introduced me to mysteries which I still read voraciously. To realize as a middle-aged adult that my favorite childhood author was living in my home town, made me feel as if God had a hand in our "association". I was truly saddened to hear of Ms. Benson's death. Obviously though, she will not be forgotten. lmj
As each of us hear the news, one by one, we are connected by the magic she gave us.

There is a great love going out to her right now that makes me laugh and cry. She is still so amazed by how many of us love her! Thank you Millie :*)

There are tears streaming down my face as I write this because the one person I can directly point to who gave me my love of reading has passed. The happiest memories of my childhood are of the days sitting under the tree in the front yard of my childhood home, drinking soda with a Twizzler straw and a Nancy Drew book in my hand. The nights of staying up well pass midnight on a school night; telling myself, "Just one more chapter". Of buying the next exciting adventure with my babysitting money. Nancy Drew was my best friend. Having parents who were divorced (which in the 60's was not all too common), a mother who had to work a full-time job, and being the youngest of five kids with a speech impediment and shy; I didn't make friends naturally. I still remember receiving my first Nancy Drew book around the age of 9 as a Christmas present from my grandmother. I later discovered my own mother's copy of "The Hidden Staircase" from her childhood, in our bookcase. I was hooked. Swapping Nancy Drew books with other girls in the neighborhood, checking them out from the library, and buying my own became second nature. When other girls had out-grown Nancy and moved on to boys, clothes, make-up, etc.; I stayed with her; re-reading over and over again. What I discovered about myself was a passion for reading and exploring. Eventually I moved on to deeper subjects but Nancy was always my best friend. Thank you, Millie, for giving her to me.

Pamela DelMedico

I loved Nancy Drew books!! I wanted to be her. She took me to many exciting places and on many exciting adventures over the years!! I still love to read her stories. I have a small collection of some of the old books.

I used to live near Toledo Oh. Until recently I had no Idea that she wrote for the Toledo Blade. Had I known that I would have bought the paper and read her articles!

I am an avid reader and she was one of my favorites as a young girl.

Here's to you Millie. You have brought Joy to me and will always be remembered and be a part of my life!

Susan Falconer

I met this very original lady last year and was saddened to hear of her death. She was still sharp as a tack at 95. It was such a great honor to have met the woman who inspired generations of females.

Linda Pond

I have not had a chance to write anything yet, and everyone else has expressed all the things I want to say. I am glad her death was fairly quick, and it sounds as though it were painless. I really like that she felt badly but finished her column before she went home. I never met Millie, but from all I have read and heard, she is the type of person I most want to be; adventurous, opinionated, willing to try new things, and not willing to take crap from anyone. I'm planning to light a candle for her the first time I'm home long enough to let it burn down without also burning my house down.


I decided that my own little tribute will be to read all my Millie-authored books this year. I've gotten a fairly good head start - I think I've read between 1/3 and 1/2 of them already. I had already planned to read the Ruth Fieldings, so I decided to start with RF and Her Great Scenario, which has the added advantage of having been the first book Millie ever wrote.


I agree with what everyone has posted -- Millie was an amazing woman, and a shining example of a life well lived. I feel as if a beloved family member has died -- I know we all feel as if we knew her so well through Nancy and her books. But what is so incredible to me is that, through this group, I actually got to send a Christmas card to "Carolyn Keene", someone I have cherished even before I knew that her "real" name was Millie. Thank you, Jenn, for giving all of us the opportunity and chance to get to know Millie better before she passed on. I feel lucky, not just sad -- at least we all got to let her know how much she meant to us. That in itself is marvelous.

I'd say "rest in peace" to Millie, but I don't think that's quite fitting -- I am sure, knowing the kind of woman she was, she is not resting at all -- she's still on the go!


My mom started me reading the Nancy Drew books in 3rd grade. She thought that Nancy would be a good role model, and a good person for me to look up too. Boy, was she right! I'm in 6th grade now, and still love Nancy books. (And games) My mom (of course!!!) found the games for me last year.

I am very sad that Millie Benson has passed on. She was an absolutly wonderful writer. And, I'm planning to keep reading her books, over and over. She was a great person, from what I have read, and I'm sure she will be missed greatly.


My dad got me started on the Nancy Drew books, and I've always been fascinated by them! I've only read the first six so far, and I'm working on the seventh! My dad said that he used to read them when he was my age, and he would trade his books with his friends so they could read them all! Mildred Benson was an awesome writer! I hope she was a Christian so I can meet her when I get to heaven! :)
First, I'd like to express my condolences on the recent death of Ms. Benson. I knew Carolyn Keene was a pen name, but never knew the identity of the real author, even though I remember that years ago, (I think it was back in the 70s) the Wall Street Journal ran an article on the Nancy Drew Mysteries.

I'm sure I'm like millions of others when I say I read (really devoured) the Nancy Drew books when I was a girl. In those days, our local drug store kept all the Nancy Drew Mysteries on a rack, and they cost about $.95. The day I could purchase one and bring it home to read was the best day for me. The fun, too, was that there were so many, I felt I could continue reading them for a long time without fear that I would suddenly come to the last one and have no more to look forward to.

I still have my Nancy Drew books on a shelf in my family room and still like to read them. They span a time frame from the 30s to the 50s, and I'll still buy one at a yard sale or antique shop whenever I can. The mysteries bring back a time when I could curl up on a chair and get lost in The Secret In The Old Attic, or The Whispering Statue and join Nancy, Bess and George on their adventures.

Although my girlhood reading encompassed The Dana Girls Mysteries, Judy Bolton, Cherry Ames and Ginny Gordon, Nancy was my first and favorite. She still is.


Kathi Nowakowski

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

The End of an Era

I looked at the freshly cut square of sod, outlining the site of a new grave. As I stood in front of the headstone marked "Wirt/Benson" I found it hard to imagine that Millie was in there. I thought she would live to be 100.

I bent down to the markers set in the dirt at ground level that were marked Asa Wirt and George Benson. Some of the newly turned dirt had embedded into the lettering on these markers. I took out my penknife and started to clean the dirt out of the engraved lettering, thinking of my many visits with Millie.

Only 5 months ago she was expressing her appreciation and smiling over the gifts that we Nancy Drew Sleuth members gave her for Christmas. Just 8 months ago the local PBS station produced a video on her LIFE. A living legend. It was 10 months ago that she was overjoyed by the fact that she could read a birthday card, without assistance, that we gave her. Jenn had created a monster sized card just for that purpose, and it worked. For that occasion, her 96th birthday, several members donated funds to buy her some flowers. The predominately pink bouquet, just by chance, matched the pink pants suit she was wearing that day. She was in good spirits.

Had it really only been 14 months since she graciously agreed to let NDS members meet with her? Always the selfless person, she gave us a 45 minute interview, followed by a book signing. She thrilled a lot of people that day. Granted, she could be cantankerous at times. But I never saw it. The Millie I knew was always this sweet little old lady that you just wanted to reach out and cuddle.

When I read my first Nancy Drew as an adult I was instantly hooked. Once I met Millie it became a full blown addiction. That's just the impact she had on me. I wanted to write her life story. I wanted to be her "seeing eye dog", her chauffeur, or just help her get around. Anything. What can I do for YOU, Millie. Well, nothing.

I will always treasure my visits with her. She inadvertently gave me a second name, and I will keep that too. I value the stories she would relate to me. She would always throw out incredible pieces of information as if it were nothing. She was very humble.

Our friend will be sorely missed, but at least she left us a literary legacy to be enjoyed by generations to come. She will never be forgotten.

Rick Sayers aka Rex Sellers

I think Mildreds books are fantastic. She is my most treasured author and i am trying to read most of her books. I have read a majority of the Nancy Drew books and also some others she wrote. I am trying to find some other books that don't seem to be in the local libraries. I enjoy reading her books and I am a BIG fan of Mrs. Bensons. It is sad that she died and I hope people would not forget Mildred A. Wirt Benson writer of Nancy Drew!


Emma Wanders
Age 12
Year 6

Nancy Drew was my favorite book heroine during my childhood. While I read a number of the girls series books, as well as some of my brother's Hardy Boys books, Nancy was the one that captivated my attention enough to make me collect the whole set of original text books in dust jacket. I knew nothing about Mildred Wirt Benson as the actual author until just a few years ago. I feel Millie was a friend, although I never had the pleasure of meeting her in person. I am determined to perpetuate the spirit of Nancy Drew. I am of an age where many of my friends children are having their first babies. When I go to baby showers, if I know the sex of the baby, he or she receives, in addition to a traditional baby gift, an Applewood edition of The Secret of the Old Clock or The Tower Treasure (first Hardy title). Many late twenties/early thirties young men or women are saying, "Oh yes, I remember Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys" when they open their baby gift. Thank you, Millie.

Linda Catlett

I only recently found out that the real author of my beloved Nancy Drew books was written by Mildred Wirt Benson. I grew up less than 50 miles from Toledo and certainly would have made some effort to meet her, the impact of her work made such an impression on my life. It is with a heavy heart that I write this in tribute to someone who really never enjoyed the credit she deserved until much too late. Thank you, dear Millie for giving me such joy in my youth.


Some days have gone by since the passing of Mildred, and I still find it hard to believe that she is gone. A friend sent me a copy of one of the many newspaper articles written about Mildred's inspiring life and career, and as I sat down to read it, I realized that the tears in my eyes and the sorrow I felt were those I would feel if I had lost a member of my own family, for indeed Mildred's writings were woven all through my childhood and adult life. I will always be grateful to Dave Farah for introducing me to Mildred and for the privilege of knowing her. She was an unassuming, gracious and kind woman who did her job well. Thank you, Mildred Wirt Benson, for your spirit and your words. My deepest sympathy and condolences to the family.

Vicki Broadhurst

The long days that weren't long enough once I discovered Nancy Drew...How can one put into words how much a person will miss another whom they haven't even met. Through the sleuths I have learned so much about the Lady simply and affectionately known as Millie. I was near enough to meet with her and maybe even let her know how much her words meant to me , but unfortunaly I will never have that oportunity now... Regrets.. well yes, but I don't believe Millie had any she lived each day to the fullest doing the things she loved . Who cannot admire a person with such a wonderful zest for life I am just glad to know of her second hand and thank her for the wonderful words that kept me up at night and made me want to get up in the morning..


Susan Lauer/suzykeen

In his letter to The Washington Post on 3 June 2002, Doug Snyder mentions the appeal of the Nancy Drew mysteries to boys, "especially to boys with older sisters."

I never had an older sister but came upon an entire display rack of Nancy Drew in the small library of Saint Charles School in Arlington, Virginia in 1949. I borrowed one for no particular reason I now remember. I couldn't stop reading about the adventures of Nancy until I had read all fifteen books then held by the library.

Children who find adventure in the literature of imagination later become directed to gender interests for reasons having nothing to do with literature.

Andre M. Smith

Mildred Benson granted me an interview on April 30, 1902. I was in Toledo, Ohio to attend the graduation of my grandaughter at East Michigan University. After three telephone calls, I was given the OK to speak with Millie. I was accompanied by my grandaughter and her four year son, so I told them to wait in the reception area. The recepsionist remarked that Millie adored children and that we were all welcome upstairs to the newsrooml I was filled with excitement with the thought of being in the presence of such an important person!!!!!!!!The highlight of my trip. After going through security, we took the elevator to the the composing room, and I observed Millie with the aid of a walker, slowly making her way to her desk in a secluded area of the room. She was most gracious and friendly, and my grandaughter and her son sat on the floor behind Millie' s Desk, and I sat directly in front of Millie (our knees touching) and she responded to my questions in a most humble , appreciate, way. I will always remember this day and render my most appreciation to Millie and to being in the presence of a Legion of American Literature. I want to say thank you to Millie and to the inspiration she instilled in my eldest daughter to the point that she read Nancy Drew Books under her covers in bed with a flashlight when we thought she was asleep. May God rest her soul in Heaven!!!!!!


Virginia L. Gibson

My name is Kasey. I am 11 years old and am in the 6th grade. I am writing a report about Mildred Benson. I have enjoyed learning about Mrs. Benson. She sounds like she was a great person. I love to read her books. I have bought the first 6 books and have read the first one (The Secret of the Old Clock). I was really upset to hear that Mildred had died. I have really gotten to know her through my research. Thanks so much for sharing her with me


Thanks so much for this great site! I truly want to thank Millie for all her writings. I read the whole series up to book #54 when I was a child. My mother got rid of all my books and as of a few years ago I began collecting the original ones I once had. Now I have two children whom I can't wait to share these GREAT stories with. Thanks Millie for a lifetime of wonderful reading memories and a helping my imagination to grow! You will be forever missed!



I was twelve years old when I first read 'Behind The Green Door' by Mildred A.Wirt in 1953. The story made a terrific impact and I held the author's name in high esteem. The character of Penny Parker remained at the back of my mind for years, even though I knew nothing about the author and the books themselves have long since vanished from British libraries. It was odd that this children's story, written for American girls in 1940, should so excite a boy growing up in post-war London. What appealed was the dark, adult mood - an exciting tale about a daring young reporter solving crimes in a big US city. Even the book itself seemed - somehow different. The paper that publishers Grosset & Dunlap used had its own distinctive aroma - a strange chemical smell that added to the atmosphere. More important was the fact that young Penny Parker was a girl reporter. That's when I knew I too wanted to be a reporter. I loved the idea of working for a newspaper and making journalism a career. I started my own school newspaper and called the other kids who helped me 're-write men' - not realising this was the American term for 'sub-editor'. I kept the paper going until I left school at 16 to start work in Fleet Street. I became a real reporter and then during the Sixties' pop boom joined Melody Maker, covering the Beatles, Stones and Led Zeppelin. Now I'm an author too. Not as prolific as Mildred, but with thirty books published, I often thought about those gripping tales which sparked it off. Yet, if I mentioned the name 'Mildred A. Wirt' to anyone - they'd never heard of her. 'The Clock Strikes 13' was lost in the mists of time.

The Internet finally solved the mystery. After several attempts - 'American children's literature - Wirt?' (not a trace) I located a whole website devoted to her by a sleuth like investigator. As the amazing story of her life unfolded I couldn't believe she had written so many books and had been treated in such an abysmal fashion. And there among the dozens of titles, were those books I'd read all those years ago - a glimpse 'Behind The Green Door' at last. I still haven't located the books, although I note they have one in the British Museum Reading Room. I was saddened to learn that the legendary Mildred had died - just as I had discovered her true identity. What a remarkable lady. I'm so glad she finally received full recognition for her work in her lifetime.

London, England

Dear Ma'am Benson,

I really respect you and glad that you wrote your books. You inspired me to write more than anyone else has. Hopefully, you're remebered everywhere. I know I'll remember you always.

A true fan to all of your books,

Anna Calabro

As a child , I loved reading her an adult , I love reading them over and over again.. and sharing them with my neices.

She surely is in heaven. What a beautiful, beautiful lady! Thank you for the opportunity to pay tribute to Ms. Benson.

Louise Schmidt

I'm ten years old. I read my first Nancy Drew book, the 99 steps in the third grade. After that I said to my Mom "May I get a different Nancy Drew Book?"

Now, I have all 56, and have read about 30 so far. All that was in one year. I hope to finnish the rest this year as well. Although I'm reading them out of order their still my favorite books. Every book report I have done in school recently is on Nancy Drew.

It takes about a day to read one if I don't have anything else to do. Lying in bed and reading Nancy Drew is probably my favorite way to spend the weekend. I wish I could be Nancy Drew.

It would have been a pleasure if I had known Milldred.

Nancy Drew's definint number one fan and Mildred's too,

--Bianca V.

Millie was an awesome person. She will be missed.

Love, one of her many adoring fans who love her books.

I have always liked the Nancy Drew series. I liked them more then any other books!!


I would like to thank Mildred.She enspired me to read about her and now i'm writing about her.Mildred was a great writer and to me she still is.I have read all her Nancy Drew series.I have most of the books!And I just want to thank her.I started reading about Nancy Drew at the age of 5.And again I want to thank her.

Thank You Mildred Wirt Benson.

Always a book fan,

Destinee Wentworth

I canīt even begin to tell you how much Mildred A. Wirt Benson has meant to me, the Nancy Drew-books were the first books I ever read and from that day that my sister gave me my first Nancy Drew-book I was obsessed with those books. I wanted to be just like Nancy Drew! I think it is good that young girls have someone like Nancy Drew to look up to; a young, beautiful and smart girl that can do anything!


I am only 11 years old. But I can tell by all of "Carolyn Keene's" books that she is a great person. I came across this web-site while looking for information to do my report. I think it would be a great achievement to write a book at 24 years old.
I'm sorry to hear that Mrs. Benson died of lung cancer. I just found out recently since I started a report on her. It is for my favorite author, and I chose Mrs. Benson because I absolutely love her Nancy Drew Mystery Series, I've been trying to read them all. I'm very sorry to hear of her death, with all due respect, because of her unique ability to make children's books. I'm very sorry,


I just read about the death of this author and I'm terribly sorry I wasn't able to e-mail her personally to say thankyou!

The first books I ever received as a gift was on my birthday in 1962. And among these were "The Secret of Red Gate Farm" and "The Secred of the Old Clock". I can't remember if these two books were written by Mrs. Benson, but this started the greatest adventures of my life and at a time when I needed one. It opened up a new world to me. Since then, I've been an avid reader and at 54 years old, I'm thinking of going into writing. All thanks to Nancy Drew, Bess, George and Ned Nickerson.

Just wanted to say thanks!

Deborah Clarke Hollingsworth

when i was little, i had a very hard time learning to read. my mother came up with an idea to help me that involved the Nancy Drew books. my mother already had a small collection of the books herself (she loves the ND stories), and decided to get a few duplicates so that we could read together. i would read from my very own book, and my mom would follow along in hers, that way if i got stuck she could help me. once i got the hang of reading, i never want to stop (i never go anywhere with out a book these days). the story that has always popped into my mind when ever i hear the name Nancy Drew is "The Bungalow Mystery". sadly, as i got older i forgot about my love for the ND books, until recently. i happened to be wandering through my neighborhood Costco when i passed a little box that said NANCY DREW on it. i picked it up to investigate, and found that the stories were now beginning a new life in the form of PC games. i fell in love with the one i saw that day (Curse of Blackmoor Manor), and have subsequently purchased all of the others in the PC game series (13 as of today...and i will be getting 14-15 which will be out later this year). having been reintroduced to Nancy Drew i began to think of "The Bungalow Mystery", i had forgotten what the story was about, but i still remembered how much it meant to me, so when i saw the 56 volume box set of hardcover Nancy Drew books at Costco, i didn't hesitate to get them. it seemed that my hands and heart felt empty when one book ended so i grabbed the next one in the series until i had finished all 56 books in under 30 days. now, i am slowly collecting the newer books from the series, which is proving to be hard since most r out of print these days. anyway, i just wanted to pass on my wonderful journey into reading, as well as my condolences.

ps...The Bungalow Mystery was my favorite (though long forgotten) childhood book, and it remains so to this day only this time i wont forget.

thank u so much M.A.W.B.

My name is Kassie.I'm 13 and going to 8th grade.The first Nancy Drew book I read was The Whispering Statue.I didn't know about Millies death till now.I wanted to know more about "Carolyn Keene" so I look on the web.I have most of the Nancy Drew books.I have read many of the newer books .Also,my friend and I love to play the Nancy Drew C-Ds.Whenever we call each other,that's all we talk about.I love the way she wrote the books,at first you think it a boring book then you just can't put it down.I am very sorry to hear that she has past away.Even tho I didn't know her personally,she and Nancy have been my very close friends since I was little and always will be,Thanks Millie! Yours very truly,
I just want to say that my childhood was not a good one but I loved reading Nancy Drew stories. As I got abit older, I never tired of reading about her. I have a granddaughter now and I will introduce her to Nancy Drew as she may enjoy her as much as I did. I want to say thank you Millie for being a part of my childhood that made me happy.

Yours sincerely, Joanne

I have been reading the Nancy Drew books since I was five years old, and I still enjoy them now; eight years later. I love how Nancy had evolved over the years. Almost any girl can relate to her. She is kind, intelligent, bold, determined, and she has so many talents that she has something for everyone. I started playing the computer games when I was eight, and I love them just as much as I love the books. The beautiful images, difficult cases, and unique characters give you something to look forward to every year. I just want to say thank you to everyone who has helped develop Nancy.
I was amazed when I met Millie, Quite un-intentionally as it was. I am not one to impose on the world of celebrity. My wife an avid reader and owner of Nancy Drew first issues was my introduction to her work outside of the Toledo Blade articles she wrote. It is always sad when someone who has helped and inspired so many people passes away for it leaves such a great void not just to the world but to the family left behind as well. Most people only think of themselves it is so much a greater loss to a family to carry on with the knowledge of the Millie Benson the world may never fully realize. In our world where 99.9% of Americans would have sued to re-claim the rights that should've been returned to her without a wimper of hesitation, she chose to remain silent. It is no doubt that in doing so it gave her an anomity that allowed her to enjoy and live a much more enjoyable, uninhibited lifestyle. All mothers want to pass on to their daughters a special part of themselves I hope her daughters find the satisfaction that Millie Benson must have found throughout her life. And I do believe that through her writting she had many many daughters. Smile and be glad for Millie she has many new adventures we have yet to experience. This was my impression, Ron
Hi my name is Terrie from Shawnee, Oklahoma. I have been reading and collecting the Nancy Drew Series for a long time. I would devour any information about Mildred Wirt when I found out the she was the original writer for the Nancy Drew Series. I now have some of the original Mildred Wirt books on the Penny Parker series. I would like to find the rest of the series. I now have 5 of the original books in the Penny Parker series. But I wanted to say that everything that I read about Mildred Wirt just made me love her more. She was an original herself, and she was a woman of honor and loyalty. Even though she could have told that she had written the Nancy Drew series, she never said a word, because she gave her word that she wouldn't. It was great for all of teen detective readers when she came out with her own series. The world grieves, because we have lost a beautiful woman and friend.

Thank you, Terrie

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