Friends of the Marion Public Library are pleased to host this Humanities Iowa program by Barbara Lounsberry.
Nancy Drew is the most popular female detective in fiction. Today she even outsells Miss Marple, Agatha Christie’s venerable heroine. More than 200 million copies of Nancy Drew mysteries have been sold, and she has been translated into 17 different languages.
Few know, however, that Nancy is an Iowa heroine and that her creator was Mildred Augustine of Ladora, Iowa. Augustine wrote The Secret of the Old Clock, The Hidden Staircase—in fact 23 of the first 30 Nancy Drew mysteries. “Like a true daughter of the Middle West," Augustine wrote in the first Nancy Drew volume, The Secret of the Old Clock, published in 1930, “Nancy Drew took pride in the fertility of her state and saw beauty in a crop of waving green corn as well as in the rolling hills and the expanse of prairie land.”
Augustine was 25 when she wrote those words at her parents’ home in Ladora. Her authorship of the first Nancy Drew mysteries—and single-handed creation of Nancy’s admirable character—were kept secret for more than 50 years. Equally distressing is the fact that as Nancy grew in popularity, her Iowa roots were disguised.
Nancy Drew and her creator are extraordinary role models for Iowa girls and boys, women and men. Augustine was herself an intrepid Nancy Drew-like figure. An academic pioneer (the first woman to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa’s School of Journalism), Augustine earned 6 airplane pilot's licenses, including one for sea planing; wrote 130 books for young people; and continued her newspaper column “On the Go” through her 96th and last year of life.
The presentation “Nancy Drew: Iowa’s Heroine to the World” is designed to fortify Iowans young and old.
This program is free to all and everyone is welcome!