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Storied Life of Millie Benson Previous Broadcasts

KQED Plus: Wed, Feb 16, 2011 -- 10:30 PM

Athlete, adventurer and author: Mildred Wirt Benson, began her career as a ghostwriter in the late 1920s, authoring 23 of the first 30 Nancy Drew novels and was responsible for the development of the famous young character as an independent, bold and risk-taking female sleuth. Using archival photographs and interviews, the documentary traces Millie's days as a student at the University of Iowa, a children's book author, a court reporter and a weekly columnist Toledo, Ohio, newspapers. As this program illustrates, Benson embodied many of the attributes that she had used to describe her most famous literary character, Nancy Drew. In her 60s, Millie earned a private pilot's license and flew her own plane across country. She was also an amateur archaeologist and explorer. Millie Benson's story is fascinating because she was a pioneer on so many fronts. Not only was she an accomplished author and journalist, but she excelled at athletics, and later in life, as a pilot and explorer. While Millie Benson's role as the author of Nancy Drew wasn't recognized until nearly 50 years after they were published, she became an instant celebrity in 1993 when she was inducted into the University of Iowa's Hall of Fame. At the same time, her work was celebrated with a Nancy Drew conference that received national attention.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Thu, Feb 17, 2011 -- 4:30 AM
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