Nancy Drew: The Case of The Traveling Nancy Drew Books

magnificator Nancy DrewNancy Drew

The Case of The Traveling Nancy Drew Books

As I look at the signatures lovingly written on the pages of Nancy Drew, I thought I’d write a post and list the names of the girls who once owned my books… so let’s see from where they have traveled and once belonged to!

As a collector of Nancy Drew books… and currently building back my collection and more, I often stop and look at the inscriptions written in the books I buy… and wonder! Have these girls thought about their books and wonder what happened to them… like me? I have no memory of what happened to my books when I outgrew Nancy Drew… did my mother box them up and give away… she doesn’t remember! Or did my father throw them in the trash when we moved to house no. 2 in Perry, Georgia. I think I’ll opt for what my mother did… sickens me to think of daddy dumping them in the trash! But whatever happened to them, I’d like to hope that they have ended up on someone’s bookshelf today… and if my name was written on those front pages, I’m hoping they will travel back to me one day!

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What would Nancy Drew do in solving the Case of the Traveling Books?

The Secret in The Old Attic: This dust jacket early copy actually has two inscriptions. A sticker of a unicorn with words “From the Library of” was pasted on the front inside cover, covering many of the blue illustrations; the name Ann Marie Robinson was written. I dislike in finding those library ownership stickers pasted on the pages, especially over my favorite blue illustration endpapers. I don’t know where this book originated, but it’s traveled to me from California.

The Bungalow Mystery: On one of the front blank pages is written… “I bought this book July 18, 1952″, Susan. There is a Hudson’s Book Shop, Detroit sticker on the back endpaper; possibly this book came from Detroit, Michigan? Was this a birthday gift, as the date was written. (dust jacket)

The Hidden Staircase: Lovingly written… From Jane Noyes for Christmas 1958 – 10 years. On the next page is written the name, Judy Tobin. Did Jane give this book to Judy? Often they inscribe as to who it was given to, but Jane only wrote it was from her. Probably many Nancy Drew books were given as Christmas presents. (dust jacket)

The Clue in the Crumbling Wall: On the page opposite the title page was written… Luann Russel, 306 Perkins St., Tallahassee, Fla. Phone 3-0147 or 3-1318, Elizabeth Cobb School. I laughed at how Luann felt the need to write her complete address. Note that she did not include a zip or area code, so that dates her book possibly before 1963 when the post office began using zip codes; although they were non-mandatory even then. AT&T introduced area codes in the late 1940’s, although they weren’t really used across the country until the 1980’s and 90’s. What I really questioned on her “signature” page was why this young girl had “two” phone numbers? It seems this book was first purchased possibly in Florida… I bought it from someone in California, and now it’s travelled to CT. I’m sure it has had other traveling locations along the way! (dust jacket)

The Clue of The Black Keys: This “tweed” 25 chapter book was bought locally in New Haven, CT…. one of the many books I bought at tag sales for my daughter in the late 1980’s, of which she never read. Being a Nancy Drew reader myself, I tried hard to encourage her, but she just wasn’t a reader; telling me later that they bored her. On the blank page after the “digger” endpapers is written… This book belongs to Anne Marie Buss, 188 Alton Ave., City Fu72237.

The Clue of The Tapping Heels: Another “tweed” 25 chapter book, and belonged to the above Anne Marie’s sister, Judy Bussmann. I had wondered about Anne Marie’s last name of just “Buss”, but as she was at the edge of the page, there was no room left for her to write her entire name. Judy also lived at 188 Alston Avenue, New Haven, CT. Funny to find two sisters who shared a love of Nancy Drew, but as they each wrote their names in their own books, they didn’t share books… they clearly defined who’s book was whose! A little sister rivalry there? This was another book from my daughter’s collection of unread books… that I have clearly taken over. I wrote or rather penciled in a small “m” in each book on the first blank page to identify her books… just maybe one day her daughters might like to have their mother’s Nancy Drew books. I work hard at encouraging all my five granddaughters to become Nancy Drew readers!

The Clue in The Old Album: Another tweed book saved from my daughter’s collection of non-read books… opposite the title page is written Patty D… and there is also three more signatures of Patty Darmstatter in cursive. I think she was practicing her name writing!

The Mystery of the Fire Dragon: This yellow spine matte book once belonged to Brenda Brown, 338 N. Second Ave., Vilea (Villa) Park, Ill. Tel: 832-1506. I bought this book, along with many others at a Friends of the Library book sale in Southport, CT. It seems her entire collection was donated… but how it came to be in Ct., from Michigan… I’ve wondered! I even tried searching for her there, as well as CT., but no luck, as this was most likely her maiden name; maybe her family actually moved to Ct?

The Phantom of Pine Hill: A yellow spine matte book also belonging to Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Vilea (Villa) Park, Ill. Tel: 832-1506.

The Mystery of The 99 Steps: Also from the collection of Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Vilea (Villa) Park, Ill. Tel: 832-1506. Brenda was quite the Nancy Drew reader, most of the books there in one box all came from her collection. Funny, but I felt guilty breaking her collection up, but I didn’t need them all. Anyone else ever feel that way?

The Clue in The Crossword Cipher: Another yellow spine matte book from Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Vilea (Villa) Park, Ill. Tel: 832-1506. Brenda wrote her name and address in cursive in almost all her books.

The Secret of the Golden Pavilion: A yellow spine matte book, with my favorite blue illustrations in the front… her other books were newer with the white and black illustrations on the endpapers. Book belonged to Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Vilea (Villa) Park, Ill. Tel: 832-1506.

The Secret of Red Gate Farm: Another yellow spine matte book with the blue illustrations and belonging to Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Vilea (Villa) Park, Ill. Tel: 832-1506. Not all include their phone no., but Brenda clearly was identifying her books and wanting them returned if they became lost. At some point, it seems she lost interest in keeping her books.

The Secret at Shadow Ranch: A yellow spine matte book with the black and white illustrations, and belonging to Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Vilea (Villa) Park, Ill. Tel: 832-1506. Thank You Brenda for taking good care of your books!

The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk: Another yellow spine matte book with the blue illustrations and belonging to Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Vilea (Villa) Park, Ill. Tel: 832-1506; also a twenty-five chapter book.

The Clue of the Tapping Heels: A yellow spine matte book, again with my favorite blue story illustrations; belonging to Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Vilea (Villa) Park,  Ill., 60181 – Tel: 832-1506. The first book of hers that I’ve found a zip code written. She put check marks by most of the books listed by Carolyn Keene on the next page; checking off 40 books she had read… quite the reader!

The Haunted Bridge: Yes another yellow spine matte book belonging to Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Vilea (Villa) Park,  Ill., – Tel: 832-1506. Another 25 chapter book… most all her books were twenty-five chapters.

The Mystery of The Ivory Charm: Another 25-chapter, blue illustrated endpapers and belonging to Brenda Brown of 338 N. 2nd, Vilea (Villa) Park,  Ill., – Te2:-1506. She printed her name in this book, and wrote the address a little different; all the others were written in cursive.

The Message in The Hollow Oak: In this 25-chapter, blue illustrated endpapers belonging to Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Villa Park,  Ill., – Tel: 832-1506. Her name was written in cursive in this book and it came out the year before The Mystery of The Ivory Charm, where her handwriting clearly looked like that of a young girl. Possibly her mother was the one writing the cursive in her books?

The Sign of The Twisted Candles: Another book from the collection of Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Villa Park,  Ill., – Tel: 832-1506. Her name is written in cursive and this is book No. 8; also having the blue illustrations and 25 chapters.

The Clue in The Old Album: This book has the blue illustrations and 25 chapters and also is from the collection of Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., (Villa) Park,  Ill., – TE2: 832-1506. Her name is printed, but the printing doesn’t look like a young girl wrote it. Note that she didn’t write her phone no. as 832-1506, she wrote TE2 for the 832.

The Mystery of The Tolling Bell: Another well taken care of book from the collection of Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Villa Park,  Ill., – Tel: 832-1506. Blue illustrations on the endpapers and 25 chapters. Her name and address are written in cursive.

The Clue in the Crumbling Wall: A yellow spine matte cover book from the collection of Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Villa Park,  Ill., – Tel: 832-1506 with blue illustrations and 25 chapters.

The Secret in the Old Attic: Another yellow spine matte book once belonging Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Villa Park,  Ill., – Tel: 832-1506; she wrote her name in cursive. It’s also illustrated on the endpapers in blue and has 25 chapters.

The Quest of the Missing Map: A yellow spine matte book with blue endpaper illustrations and 25 chapters belonging to Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second Ave., Villa Park,  Ill., – Tel: 832-1506. Her name and address are written in cursive on the title page, and on the second title page after the chapters, her name is printed – definetely not the same handwriting! Brenda printed her name and address using the phone no. as Te2-1506 and wrote a zip of 60181, writing “zip” above it. She was clearly identifying what it was! The first book I’ve found where her name was written twice.

The Mystery at The Ski Jump: Another book from the collection of Brenda Brown of 338 North 2nd  ave., Villa Park,  Ill., – Tel: 832-1506. Again written in a fancy cursive, not the printed younger writing I’ve found in a few books. It’s also a 25 chapter book with the blue illustrations on the endpapers.

The Scarlet Slipper Mystery: This blue illustrated endpapers, yellow spine matte, and 25 chapter book also belonged to Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second ave., Villa Park,  Ill., – Tel: 832-1506, with a zip code of 60181… all written again in cursive.

The Hidden Window Mystery: A yellow spine matte book with blue illustrated endpapers and the last of the 25 chapter books. It also was part of the collection of Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second ave., Villa Park,  Ill., – Tel: 832-1506; name and address written in cursive. On page listing books by Carolyn Keene, Brenda checked off in pencil 41 books she had read.

The Haunted Showboat: Another yellow spine matte book with blue illustration endpapers, but now only 20 chapters. This book is also from the collection of Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second ave., Villa Park,  Ill., – Tel: 832-1506; Brenda’s name is written in cursive on a blank front page.

The Clue of the Dancing Puppet:  A newer yellow spine matte book with black and white illustrations. Brenda Brown wrote her name in cursive on the very top of the endpapers in the front. While the name and address of Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second ave., Villa Park,  Ill., – Tel: 832-1506 is written in cursive, I can tell that it was written by a young person… it seems Brenda has now learned cursive and can write her own name. (abt. 1963)

The Moostone Castle Mystery: Another yellow spine matte book with the black and white illustrations on the endpapers. It seems that Brenda Brown didn’t write her name here, as her name of Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second ave., Villa Park,  Ill., – Tel: 832-1506 is written in cursive of someone older.

The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes: This book once belonged to Brenda Brown of 338 N. Second ave., Villa Park,  Ill., – Tel: 832-1506; her name is writen in the usual cursive on the inside of the first blank page… it’s also inscribed a second time with the name of Kelley Hammett, 520 W. 77st. #139… and also written 6-420 PS-158… was she writing her school no? Now the dilemma… who owned the book first… this is the first time I’ve found a second name in Brenda’s books. I owe a big “Thank You” to Brenda for taking such good care of her books, as I’ve preserved 25 of them now in my collection!

The Ringmaster’s Secret: A yellow spine matte book with blue ullustrations on the endpapers with 25 chapters. Julia Olson, is written in green ink, and  below in black ink is an address of 119 Wedgemere Rd., Stamford, CT. I had to turn to google to help me on the spelling of the address as it blended in too much with the illustrations… I found the actual house for sale now at a price tag of $731,000.

The Clue in the Crumbling Wall: Another yellow spine matte book with blue illustrations and 25 chapters… it belonged to Allison West.

The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion: A yellow spine matte book with blue illustrations in front, 25 chapters and once belonged to “Bliven.” I’m assuming that is the last name!

The Strange Message in The Parchment: On the front cover of this yellow spine matte cover the owner wrote words near the edge, “name inside“, and circled those words… I wondered why she defaced the front of the book like that, but who knows why young girls do what they do. The inside name is Dale Edwards, 23 Evergreen Place, North Haven, Ct. 06473. Below is a phone no. of 239-1489 with words, “please call“, written in red. Possibly Dale was a boy? Not sure why they wrote please call in red… but I think they were contemplating if they lost the book… they wanted it back! That could have been why they wrote “name inside” on the front of the book… they were telling you that a name was inside if you’d found their lost book.

Password to Larkspur Lane: A yellow spine matte book belonging to Barbara J. Van Houten, McGettigan Road, Milford, NH, 03055 – a sticker was placed on the front black and white endpapers. On the next blank page was written Barbara J. Van Houten with an address of Windsor Drive R.F.D. 1, Amherst, NH 03031.

The Secret of The Old Clock: This specific yellow spine matte book has special meaning to me, as it once belonged to my daughter… and out of all the books she had, this was the only one she wrote in. She inscribed, “this book belongs to Melissa.” I believe this was the first and only book she read… telling me later that they never grabbed her interest. She wasn’t a big reader, Barbie was more her thing!

Imagine if the books were stamped with locations along the way… what a story they would tell!

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Click for more … Nancy Drew stories or to read my A to Z: 2018 – All About Nancy Drew

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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