UCSD Arts Library Welcomes Nancy Drew

UCSD Arts Library Exhibit to Focus on Cultural Icon and Supergirl Sleuth Nancy Drew

First-edition books, memorabilia, and serious scholarship to be displayed during August 2009

July 22, 2009
By Dolores Davies

What do Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor have in common? Besides the obvious fact that they are all women with Supreme Court ties, as girls they all read and were inspired by Nancy Drew books, and have cited her character as a formative influence in their development as confident, accomplished women.

During the entire month of August, the University of California, San Diego Arts Library will be celebrating all things Nancy Drew with an exhibit that will include two live events on Saturday, August 15 at 2 p.m. and Monday, August 17 at 12:30 p.m. At the live events, which will include refreshments prepared from the Nancy Drew Cookbook, classic Nancy Drew mysteries will be performed in the style of old-time radio drama entertainment by actors from San Diego’s Write Out Loud project. Sound effects and music will be provided by the UC San Diego Arts Library’s Scott Paulson and the Teeny-Tiny Pit Orchestra. Also featured at the events will be Nancy Drew expert Jenn Fisher. The exhibition will be held in the foyer of the Seuss Room in the west wing of Geisel Library. The live events, which are free and open to the public, will be held in the Seuss Room.

Nancy Drew, who first surfaced in 1930 in a popular mystery series for children and teens, has long been admired by girls and cited by numerous accomplished women—including former First Lady Laura Bush and Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton— as an empowering, feminist role model. The character was first conceived, ironically, by a man—Edward Stratemeyer, founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, and the creator of the popular Hardy Boys series. Although the stories were penned by numerous writers, most were written under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene.

The character’s unique brand of girl power—she was a nice and “proper” girl but was also clever, adventuresome, and a risk taker—has enthralled and inspired girls from the 1930s to the present. Although the Nancy Drew character has been updated over the years to respond to new generations of girls, the character has proved to be continuously popular. At least 80 million copies of the books have been sold, with translations in more than two dozen languages. Spin-offs from the Nancy Drew books have included five films, two television shows, and numerous computer games.

Each summer, the UC San Diego Arts Library holds a variety of family-friendly exhibits with interactive, live events emphasizing the passion for reading. Past summer events have included a paper theatre in the Victorian tradition, a story-time-with-a- twist, and not-so-silent film screenings (both of the latter events are accompanied by music and sounds). The Nancy Drew exhibit and events are sponsored by the UC San Diego Arts Library and the Friends of the UC San Diego Libraries, with exhibit assistance from Barbara Brink, Barbara Henderson, Jenn Fisher, and the Paulson Family.

The UC San Diego Arts Library, which supports award-winning faculty research and teaching in Music, Theatre and Dance, Visual Arts, and Literature, has been a leader and early adopter in the development and delivery of digital reserves for image, audio, and moving image. As the first major contributor to ARTstor, a digital library developed to support scholarship in the arts and other disciplines, the Arts Library was the first academic library in the nation to digitize their entire slide collection. The Arts Library is also known for its outstanding contemporary music collections, especially its holdings in experimental and 20th century music, and its lively and novel arts events, including toy piano concerts and not-so-silent film festivals.

The UC San Diego Libraries, ranked among the top 25 public academic research libraries in the nation, play an integral role in advancing and supporting the university’s research, teaching, patient care, and public service missions. The nine libraries that comprise the UCSD Library system provide access to more than 7 million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials to meet the knowledge demands of scholars, students, and members of the public. Each day, more than 7,300 people stream through one of the university’s nine libraries. The Libraries’ vast resources and services are accessed more than 87,500 times each day via the UCSD Libraries’ Web site.

Media Contacts:
Scott Paulson, 858-822-5758 or spaulson@ucsd.edu
Dolores Davies, 858-534-0667 or ddavies@ucsd.edu

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