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Mildred Wirt Benson, the adventurous writer who brought Nancy Drew to life

Nancy Drew personified “the dream image which exists within most teen-agers,” Benson wrote in an autobiographical essay in 1973. This teen of 1930s remained culturally relevant for more than 80 years, even as young women’s roles changed dramatically. Mothers and grandmothers passed the books down to their daughters. “Women still tell me how they identified with Nancy Drew and that Nancy Drew gave them confidence to be whatever they wanted to be,” she told an interviewer in 1999.

Nancy is really a timeless character, and this kind of longevity is remarkable for a ghostwritten series.