2018 A to Z: D… All About Nancy Drew

2018 A to Z: D… All About Nancy Drew

D glassIn 2016 I learned of the first annual April A to Z… it immediately intrigued me and I began racking my brain for a theme. After much reading, and thinking… I finally came up with the theme of Southern Foods and Memories… it said to write what you know! When April of 2017 rolled around, I decided to share Conversations with Mama to the world… the best of my on-going blog post that has generated from nightly talks to my mother. It’s now 2018 and as Nancy Drew has been on my mind… since I began re-building my collection back… well, I hope you will join me in celebrating All about Nancy Drew during the April A to Z Blog Hop!


D is for… Drew, Differences, and Dangers


A little fun and history on the surname…

Drew map of names

The highest states for the DREW name on this Ancestry chart seem to be in Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, and California… although I think we can rule out the latter easily! From this map, I’d give a thumbs up to Illinois!

In all the Nancy Drew books I’ve read… I’ve found nothing mentioned in regards to the family surname or their family history, but in 1930 what young girl would have been interested in that! Was there no family genealogist in Nancy’s family? What better topic for one of Nancy’s mysteries than sleuthing on her family history. I know my budding genealogist friends out there would agree on that! She solves everyone else’s mysteries, but her own brick walls were never broken through. Maybe they should have had Aunt Eloise be the family historian… sharing secrets and history with Nancy when she visited?

Nancy spent pretty much all her time with Bess and George… who were cousins, but no connection to Nancy. Although once she met Ned, he seemed to filter into the situation in helping out on those mystery adventures… bringing Dave and Burt along for backup. In being a family researcher… my mind wanders to all those who, what, and where… type of questions… like, who were Nancy’s cousins? We know she was an only child, but no cousins! I am an only child, and I did have two cousins!

So many questions…. so few answers, just like my own family history research at times! Did Carson and Kate both grow up in River Heights? Nothing was ever mentioned to make me think this… maybe because it’s supposed to be all about Nancy Drew and everyone else is just there… having no history. While I’d like to have seen Nancy have some family history… maybe the writers wanted Nancy to have no family ties other than the immediate one in the house… her father. And another question, why did they kill the mother… why not have let the father die and the mother raise Nancy instead… in today’s world, it probably would have been written that way to empower Kate as a strong mother-type raising a daughter in a one-family household.

But back to the Drew surname…

On Ancestry, Nancy’s fictitious Drew surname is English, borne by one of the sons of Charlemagne, and populated throughout France also in the form of Dreus, Drues, and later was introduced to England by the Normans.  So maybe Nancy Drew is of more French ancestry… her books were very popular in France, but they changed her name to Alice Roy. Did they also change the name of Drew because maybe it wasn’t French enough?

Nancy Drew french covers

Photos Courtesy of Jennifer’s Series Books (Jennifer White)

I’m pretty sure that Nancy wasn’t Italian as I never remember her eating dishes of pasta and meatballs or even going out for pizza. In as I haven’t read any of the books past volume 56, maybe times have now changed for the Drew household… possibly pizza and pasta have now been introduced by Hannah. I’m leaning toward the Drew’s living in the Midwest from the type of foods served on their dinner table. And Nancy is definitely not from Connecticut, as New Haven has some of the best pizza in the country! If Nancy lived here, she and Ned and would be at Pepe’s or Sally’s Pizza every Saturday night!

In as Iowa was the home state of the ghostwriter, Mildred Wirt Benson, it seems most likely she fashioned the Drew family from living in that area… an area she knew best, and we all write more easily on what we know.

DREW puns from Farah’s Guide… “Drewids… we the Drew fans: Drewologist… am I one?: Drewdom… a place where all us Drew fans live, and Druists… which we fans are! Sounds like terminology from the Harry Potter books. If we are all the above, then the study of Nancy Drew might be known as “Drewology”… similar to Genealogy!

Just a little “whimsical” trivia on the Nancy Drew name…

  • An Edward and Henry Drew landed in Virginia in 1623.
  • Nancy was Stratemeyer’s most famous character created of all his storylines, and also his last character created.
  • Nancy Drew made her debut on April 28, 1930
  • In 1930, the name of “Nancy” was No. 24 of the most popular 50 top baby names that year.
  • Nancy is a name that has always been in the Top 1000 of baby names.
  • Nancy was in the Top 20 from 1931 to 1962 and remained in the Top 10 for several of those years.
  • In 1940, the name Nancy was given to about 20,000 baby girls. However, Nancy’s star name appears to be waning, as it has lost popularity in recent years and 2016 was its lowest point yet. Maybe we will see a comeback in the near future!
  • Nancy is a major character name in Oliver Twist… was this character a favorite of Edward Stratemeyer?
  • Kids today are enjoying the Fancy Nancy series.
  • Frank Sinatra paid tribute to his daughter with the song “Nancy with the Laughing Face.
  • Nancy Sinatra… sang my father’s favorite song, “These Boots are Made For Walking.”
  • Nancy also has political ties, via the mother of Abraham Lincoln and the wife of Ronald Reagan.
  • Nancy, a well-known character from the Sunday comic strip, appeared in 1933. Little Nancy in the comics was always a favorite of mine.
  • Nancy Kerrigan, a famous Olympic skater.
  • Nancy Walker… who doesn’t remember her from the famous Bounty commercials?
  • Nancy Grace, a TV Journalist
  • Nancy Drew consultant on TV series was Jennifer Fisher of nancydrewsleuths.
  • Out of all the Nancy Drew books, it seems the fan favorite was The Hidden Staircase. (I don’t know if I’d say it’s my favorite… actually I think I’d have a hard time picking a favorite)
  • There have been a few name changes on Nancy in other countries: In France, Nancy Drew was renamed as Alice Roy, she’s Kitty Drew in Sweden and in Finland they renamed her as Paula Drew. In Norway, the name of the book was changed to read Miss Detective, but they did leave her name as Nancy. In Germany, they wrote Nancy as a law student and renamed her Susanne Langen. (Nancy is a pretty common name, somewhat a plain Jane name… so why did they feel the need to change the character’s name? Could the name Nancy be uncommon in those countries?


There are many differences in how Nancy lived then…as compared to today… do you have a preference?

Nancy never carried cash, other than maybe $5. If she needed money, it meant a trip to the bank… it would have been so much easier to access the ATM machine with her card to retrieve the money, but No, it meant she must go to the bank and ask for a counter check to cash. The old Nancy might love the instant money feature of swiping a card everywhere for money. But maybe Nancy wouldn’t really like it as she might spend more money, and Nancy was somewhat frugal. She did receive a very generous yearly allowance from her father for clothes and all she needed. After all, she didn’t have a real job… so where would she have gotten gas money from… other than dad!

How many times have you read how Nancy had to find a telephone in order to phone the police… by that time, the criminals were long gone! Remember her chasing after the truck in The Secret of The Old Clock… how easy would it have been to follow them while calling the police on your cell! But that story wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting to read! I loved the part of her climbing over everything in the back of the truck and retrieving the old clock!

How many times has she stopped at an unknown house and asked to use their phone… and they just invited her in, sometimes even offering her a beverage. You’d never see that now in today’s world… I know I would never let anyone in my house, unknown to me, to use my phone. And today, many of us no longer even have a landline in our homes, and almost everyone has a cell phone! Nancy would have loved a cell phone to call the police immediately when needed… better yet, she could have snapped a photo of them or of their license plate to send, using that smartphone! All clues found would have been easily documented with a photo! That feature would definitely have cut down on the page counts, as so much would have been written out.

How about GPS… that would certainly have helped Nancy… no riding around on back roads looking to find her way as she headed toward a lake with ghosts running around. Hopefully, Siri wouldn’t lead her on a wild goose chase like I’ve been led… down “dead end” roads and taken completely out of my way at other times!

Nancy seemed to have no “curfew” at age 16 or even 18… what young girl wouldn’t have had a curfew at 16? I know I did… and being an only child… if I wasn’t home on time, my mother was waiting at the door! Not necessarily mad… but usually crying! She usually had imagined me stranded in the middle of nowhere… or laying dead by the side of the road… or involved somewhere in a car accident; in Nancy’s case she’s only kidnapped or knocked unconscious, but no one seems to really get that excited! If she had my mother, she would have never solved even a third of her cases!

If Nancy had a computer, she’d be solving mysteries without ever leaving the house… but what fun would that be for us? When the English lawyers sent her an airmail letter in “Nancy’s Mysterious Letter”, she had to reply by airmail and wait almost two weeks for a reply! In today’s books, Nancy would hop right on email and reply, and probably have an answer within the hour. How progress has zoomed us forward… I remember using airmail stamps, but did they really fly faster than a regular stamp… do they even use them anymore? Writing and receiving letters are a thing of the past… and I sure miss them… nothing like receiving a letter in the mail. When was the last time you wrote or received a letter?


If you’ve only read one Nancy Drew book, you know that Nancy thrived on Danger, and never backed away from anything… I don’t think anything, or anyone, frightened Nancy Drew away from solving a mystery! Here are a few dangers I’ve remembered:

  • Climbing ladders while wearing a dress and heels! While her heels weren’t the stilletto’s of today, definitely a safety hazard in itself!
  • Driving through a thunderstorm on winding roads, while someone is trying to run you off the road!
  • Trapped in closets, cellars, and attics…  often only escaping by her own wits!
  • Danger signs posted on roads or private property never stopped Nancy!
  • Dangerous criminals never frighten her away.
  • Doors locked… only makes Nancy try harder to get in.
  • Sleuthing under a dangerous line of trees… that just might crash down on you at any minute.
  • Noticing that you are being shadowed… seems a bit of a danger to me.
  • Searching caves that are supposedly haunted by ghosts!
  • Phone calls of dangerous threats to you specifically!
  • Warning road signs that have been removed, like Danger, Road Repair, or Drive Slowly. Nancy usually finds them discarded later in the ditch… often after her car has plummeted there.
  • Going to a masquerade party where everyone, even the criminals are hiding behind masks! Sounds dangerous to me!!!
  • Hearing a ticking sound while driving your car… I’d definitely be exiting very quickly!
  • Sparking wires on the road as you’re skidding toward them… and also toward a sheer drop off.
  • Warning notes such as “go home at once”… you wouldn’t have to tell me twice!
  • A “medium” warning you of danger!
  • Tangling with a robot guard on a crooked staircase.
  • Swimming with your clothes on… that was dreadfully dangerous, Hannah said!
  • Detour Signs always prove to be a danger!
  • Sneaking into locked estates… locked doors just make Nancy want to get inside!
  • Looking for phantom boats and ghosts… you know danger lurks there!
  • Secret messages discovered in hollow oaks are never a good sign.
  • Ransom notes from kidnappers always mean danger.
  • Walking through tunnels with loose stones falling all around you.
  • Concrete marked with warning signs of Danger painted in red!
  • Going to a cabin all by yourself… how many times has Nancy Drew been in danger by going somewhere alone… remember when she was thrown and locked in the closet… and left to die!
  • When someone says, “I guess I don’t have to tell you that this is a dangerous place… stay away!” Sounds like a danger to me!

Isn’t all of Nancy Drew’s adventures dangerous?

I hope you’ve enjoyed a more whimsical take today on Nancy Drew… hope to see you back for what I have planned for Letter E!

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Want to read more, click below….

Want to read more, click…. 2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew 

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to 2018 A to Z: D… All About Nancy Drew

  1. kristin says:

    You mentioned how your mother waited up for you and the curfew – maybe that’s why they had the remaining parent a father. He wouldn’t be blamed for taking a looser approach to child rearing.


    Liked by 1 person

    • kristin says:

      Oh, and some relative should have been doing her genealogy! But being the teenager she was, maybe they were and she just had no interest 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Could very well be… aren’t most teenagers bored with searching the dead family tree! Then later they wished they’d have paid attention. I’m very fortunate that I’ve written so many stories down my mother has told me through the years. I finally began blogging our phone conversations as there often would be a family tidbit of info that I didn’t want lost. I have them under Conversations with Mom on my blog.


    • Yes the father doesn’t tie the coattails so tight! After my parents divorce I stayed with my father to graduate and I got away with murder!!!!


  2. Pamela says:

    Great post! Thanks for visiting my blog. I love Nancy Drew – read the books as a child, read them to my daughter when she was growing up, and I check one out of the library every now and then when I feel like a trip down memory lane.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wendy says:

    You might have to be the one to write about Nancy having to research her family tree in order to solve the mystery of SOME HEIRLOOM. My favorite part of this post is contemplating how different the stories would have to be in today’s world.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nancy Drew was not on my reading list as a young girl, so learning about her through your posts is very informative. As a genealogist, I really enjoyed your research and speculations. You certainly have all you need to write her family’s history. Thanks for visiting CollectInTexasGal and commenting on Letter B…Books for Knitters. Sorry to be late in returning your visit…I just got back to checking the first posts comments.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I’ve thought to map out her family tree as a story! Might be an interesting blog post to write. I need to get back to my knitting and learning toe up socks – which at the moment is giving me a hissy fit!


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