An exhibit is now open at the University of Iowa main library honoring the Iowa native who brought Nancy Drew to life. Mildred Benson died in May at age 96. She wrote 23 of the first 30 books in the mystery series under the pen name Carylyn Keene. Karen Mason is curator of the Iowa Women’s Archives and created the Benson collection that’s now on display. She says the centerpiece of the exhibit is a scrapbook with photos and newspaper clippings.Benson was a Ladora, Iowa, native and may’ve been the oldest working journalist in America. She’d been at the office the day she died. Benson graduated from the University of Iowa in 1925 and was the first person to ever earn a master’s degree in journalism at the U-of-I. Mason says the exhibit includes pictures of Benson’s days at the Iowa City institution, showing her swan diving into the Iowa River and playing the xylophone.Benson worked as a journalist for 58 years and wrote more than 130 books, including the Penny Parker mystery series. She was paid 125-dollars each and -no- royalties for the Nancy Drew books, which have sold 200-million copies in 17 languages. Mason says the new exhibit in the main library is just the tip of the Mason iceberg at the U-of-I.The archives are open Monday through Friday. The exhibit is scheduled to be open throughout the summer.
You are here: / / Exhibit features Iowan known for penning Nancy Drew