June 2015 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Nancy Drew Mini-Con in NJ

The Nancy Drew Sleuths, an organization of collectors, fans, and scholars, is celebrating the popular book series' 85th anniversary this year. To that end, the group has held two mini-conventions--one in Iowa City from April 30-May 3, the other in Toledo, Ohio, from May 28-31--and will embark on its third mini-con in Maplewood, New Jersey, this week from June 11-14.

NancyDrew.jpgThe Nancy Drew series debuted on April 28, 1930 with three mysteries, The Secret of the Old Clock, The Hidden Staircase, and The Bungalow Mystery. It was the brainchild of author and book packager Edward Stratemeyer, who was responsible for other immensely popular juvenile series like the Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift, and the Hardy Boys. The Nancy Drew series, ghostwritten under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene, was the publishing guru's last major launch; he died two weeks later.     

Series book collector James Keeline's mini-con presentation, "The Secrets of the Stratemeyer Syndicate," and artist/illustrator Tricia Zimic's program, "A Painter's View of Nancy Drew," are scheduled for Saturday, June 13, at the Maplewood Public Library from 11:00-12:30. (This portion of the convention is open to the public.) At this event, the Sleuths plan to donate a full set of classic Nancy Drew books to the library. Keeline, who contributed an article about the Stratemeyer Syndicate to our Spring 2010 issue, will also narrate a bus tour through Stratemeyer's Garden State locales for convention attendees. Stratemeyer was born in nearby Elizabeth, later lived in Newark, and is buried in Hillside. After his death, his daughters ran the Syndicate from an East Orange office.

Next year, the Sleuths will return to a less hectic schedule, with one annual conference slated for April 2016 in New Orleans.