10 Surprising Facts About Nancy Drew

Stephen Ritchie, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Stephen Ritchie, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Nancy Drew looks pretty good for a gal who's been around for nearly 90 years (she made her debut in 1930). And judging by the release of this week's Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, starring Sophia Lillis as the amateur sleuth, it doesn't look like she's slowing down anytime soon. Here are a few facts about the girl who paved the way for Velma Dinkley and Veronica Mars.

1. nancy drew could have been diana dare.

Can you imagine being addicted to a book series starring Diana Dare, Stella Strong, Nan Nelson, or Helen Hale? Those are just a few of the names Nancy Drew creator Edward Stratemeyer pitched before landing on Nancy Drew. The first choice was Nan Drew, actually, but his editors thought lengthening the name to "Nancy" made it roll off the tongue a little better.

2. Edward Stratemeyer wrote the plot outlines, but hired someone else to do the actual writing.

And no, that ghostwriter was not Carolyn Keene (that was just a collective pseudonym used over the years). In the earliest days of the series, the woman behind the pint-sized heroine was Mildred Wirt, who was reportedly paid between $125 and $250 for each book she wrote, plus one-fifth of the royalties. Wirt didn't write all of the Nancy Drew books, but she did pen 23 of the series' first 25 titles. As such, Wirt is largely regarded as having the most influence on how the character was formed.

3. Many powerful women have cited nancy drew as one of their favorite characters.

In addition to loving the Nancy Drew books, many of today's most influential women have cited the fictional character as a real-life inspiration for helping them to realize that women could truly do anything. Some of the women in this elite club of Nancy Drew fans include Sandra Day O'Connor, Sonia Sotomayor, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, Barbara Walters, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

4. Edward Stratemeyer actually felt that a woman's place was in the home.

Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

That so many women found inspiration in Nancy Drew is kind of ironic, considering that the series' creator was no kind of feminist. The only reason he created a female detective character was because he had found great success in the young male demographic with The Hardy Boys a few years earlier and wanted to tap into a female audience as well.

5. Nancy drew and the hardy boys weren't the stratemeyer syndicate's only properties.

Stratemeyer Syndicate was responsible for a lot of children's book series, so if some series from a certain era seem rather formulaic, well, they were. Other Stratemeyer Syndicate series included The Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift, The Dana Girls Mystery Stories, and The Kay Tracey Mysteries.

6. In France, Nancy Drew has is known as Alice Roy.

She's Kitty Drew in Sweden and Paula Drew in Finland. The book is called Miss Detective in Norway, although inside the book she's still known as Nancy. And in Germany, Nancy is a law student who goes by the name Susanne Langen.

7. Readers weren't too keen on ned nickerson.

Poor Ned Nickerson. The character spent the bulk of the early days of the series pining after Nancy, who isn't nearly as invested in the relationship as he is. In the first Nancy Drew silver screen adaptation (1938), even his name wasn't good enough: screenwriters thought the name Ned was dated and renamed him Ted. And when Nancy finally got to go to college in 1995 in the Nancy Drew on Campus series, readers were invited to call a 1-800 number to vote on whether Nancy should keep dating Ned or start playing the field. Readers overwhelmingly voted for a new boyfriend and the rest of the series featured a new beau named Jake. (Sorry, Ned.)

8. Russell tandy created the dust jackets and internal illustrations for the first 26 books.

While working on Nancy Drew took up a fair amount of artist Russell Tandy's time, it was far from his only gig. He also drew six Hardy Boys covers, served as a fashion illustrator for high-end department stores, illustrated for Butterick Patterns, and designed the Jantzen swimwear logo. Plus, he had friends in high places: he counted Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dalí, and Norman Rockwell among his nearest and dearest. There's still a major demand for his work today; in 2009, his painting for the cover of the Nancy Drew book The Secret of Shadow Ranch sold for $9500.

9. of the hundreds of nancy drew books published, The Hidden Staircase, is the fan favorite.

The second book in the Nancy Drew series, which was published in 1930 and revised in 1949, remains the most popular title in the entire series. As of 2001, it had sold 1.8 million copies, making it #68 on a list of top 100 all-time bestselling children's books. This puts Miss Drew ahead of other favorites such as Eloise, Charlotte's Web, Yertle the Turtle and Curious George.

10. She has gotten more high-tech, but only mildly.

There was some talk of updating Nancy for the recent movies, but in the end, it was decided that making her a spy girl with advanced technology and fancy gadgets entirely contradicted the entire being of Nancy Drew. But she has gotten a few timely enhancements: in the recent Nancy Drew: All New Girl Detective series published by Simon & Schuster, Nancy drives a blue hybrid instead of her iconic blue roadster.

An earlier version of this article appeared in 2010.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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How Lolita Author Vladimir Nabokov Helped Ruth Bader Ginsburg Find Her Voice

Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2016.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2016.
Supreme Court of the United States, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The road to becoming a Supreme Court justice is paved with legal briefs, opinions, journal articles, and other written works. In short, you’d likely never get there without a strong writing voice and a knack for clear communication.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg learned these skills from one of the best: Vladimir Nabokov. Though most famous for his 1955 novel Lolita, the Russian-American author wrote countless works in many more formats, from short stories and essays to poems and plays. He also taught literature courses at several universities around the country, including Cornell—where Bader Ginsburg received her undergraduate degree in the early 1950s. While there, she took Nabokov’s course on European literature, and his lessons made an impact that would last for decades to come.

“He was a man who was in love with the sound of words. It had to be the right word and in the right word order. So he changed the way I read, the way I write. He was an enormous influence,” Ginsburg said in an interview with legal writing expert Bryan A. Garner. “To this day I can hear some of the things that he said. Bleak House [by Charles Dickens] was one of the books that we read in his course, and he started out just reading the first few pages about the fog and Miss Flite. So those were strong influences on my writing.”

As Literary Hub reports, it wasn’t the only time RBG mentioned Nabokov’s focus not only on word choice, but also on word placement; she repeated the message in a 2016 op-ed for The New York Times. “Words could paint pictures, I learned from him,” she wrote. “Choosing the right word, and the right word order, he illustrated, could make an enormous difference in conveying an image or an idea.”

While neither Dickens nor Nabokov were writing for a legal audience, their ability to elicit a certain understanding or reaction from readers was something Ginsburg would go on to emulate when expressing herself in and out of the courtroom. In this way, Nabokov’s tutelage illuminated the parallels between literature and law.

“I think that law should be a literary profession, and the best legal practitioners regard law as an art as well as a craft,” she told Garner.