Mildred Wirt Benson (Mildred Augustine)
BiographyLadora, Iowa, USA
To many collectors and fans of series books and children's literature, Mildred Augustine Wirt Benson was known as Carolyn Keene, Frances Judd, Dorothy West, Helen Louise Thorndyke, among other pseudonyms. Writing under various pen names as well as her own name, she penned over 130 books for children, numerous short stories plus thousands of newspaper stories and columns. Known most famously for being the original Carolyn Keene, author of 23 of the first 30 Nancy Drew mystery stories, Mildred's legacy reaches beyond Nancy Drew to a most fascinating woman, life, and career. Read more... work, The Courtesy, was printed in the children's magazine, St. Nicholas, for which she won a silver badge. She was the first woman and student to graduate with a masters in journalism in 1927 from the University of Iowa, then State University of Iowa. She wrote her first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Old Clock, when she was just 24 years old. Benson, known as Millie to friends and fans, was paid $125 per book and never received royalties from the books, movies and board games. After a career in journalism spanning nearly 60 years, she retired at the end of 2001 and scaled back her writing to a monthly column for The Toledo Blade. Her legacy to children and adults will never be forgotten, having inspired so many people from all walks of life through her writing.