Nancy Drew is a fictional character, a sleuth in an American mystery series created by publisher Edward Stratemeyer as the female counterpart to his 'Hardy Boys' series. Mildred Augustine Wirt Benson was an American journalist and author of some of the earliest Nancy Drew mysteries & created the detective's adventurous personality. The books are ghostwritten by a number of authors and published under the collective pseudonym 'Carolyn Keene'.

Over the decades, the character evolved in response to changes in US culture and tastes. The books were extensively revised and shortened, beginning in 1959, to lower printing costs with arguable success.

By the 1980s, an older and more professional Nancy emerged in a new series. The original 'Nancy Drew Mystery Stories' series started in 1930 and ended in 2003. By 2004, the 'Girl Detective' series features Nancy driving a hybrid electric vehicle & using a cell phone.

The character proves continuously popular worldwide: with at least 80 million copies of the books that have been sold, and the books have been translated into over 45 languages. Nancy Drew is featured in five films, three television shows, and a number of popular computer games; she also appears in a variety of merchandise sold around the world.

Nancy Drew is cited as a formative influence by a number of women, from Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Sonia Sotomayor to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton & former First Lady Laura Bush.

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