OF THE BABY NAME NANCY
Carson Drew is Nancy's father, a widower, and a respected lawyer in River Heights. Like his daughter, Carson has brown-hair and blue eyes. He enlists the help of his daughter for many of his cases and gets the young sleuth on her path. He guides her and assists her when necessary, both as an admiring co-professional and as a father. He frequently leaves Nancy to her investigations while he travels on business.
Nancy is a major character in Charles Dickens’ beloved novel, Oliver Twist, first published in book form in 1838. A young girl of the streets, she has been working for the master thief, Fagin, for twelve years, and is the lover of his brutal comrade in crime, Bill Sikes. Nancy, however, is a complex character, at once inured to her fate, yet sympathetic toward young Oliver and extremely protective of him. She regrets her role in Oliver’s kidnapping, and tries to make it up by informing Oliver’s benefactors of the wrongs perpetrated upon him. At the same time, she is conflicted over the possibility of betraying her lover while helping Oliver. Cruel fate may have led her to the life of the “fallen” woman, but Nancy exemplifies the most Christian-like of all endeavors when she sacrifices her own life for Oliver’s safety, and dies at the very hands of the man she loves. Hardly the usual role model for Victorian girls, she is nonetheless the type of woman to have in one’s corner – a self-reliant, spunky champion of underdogs who happened to be born in a very unaccommodating century.
Nancy Drew is the confident young amateur sleuth much loved by girls since the fictional series began in 1930 (and which has been highly successful in its transition to movies, television and games). The character was conceived by the publisher, Edward Stratemeyer, and the books were ghost-written under a collective pseudonym, Carolyn Keene. She has undergone many evolutions in those eighty-plus years, but at her core, Nancy Drew is perceived to be a plucky, intelligent and independent young girl with a knack for mystery-solving. Her back story is too good to be true – she is the (conveniently) motherless, indulged only child of a wealthy attorney father, who is looked after and cosseted by the family housekeeper, Hannah. Nancy is pretty, has admiring friends, drives a roadster and has a boyfriend. She does everything excellently – and everything includes, but is not limited to: tennis, golf, riding, bridge, swimming, shooting and gourmet cooking, not to mention, of course, solving mysteries that leave her elders baffled. And she’s generally about sixteen years old – what else could life offer her!? Also, apparently the Great Depression also gave a pass to the charming hamlet of River Heights, U.S.A. All that being said – we loved her! And so did you. And so will your little girl, whether or not you name her Nancy.
Hannah Gruen is the housekeeper in the Nancy Drew series of books by the collective pseudonym named Carolyn Keene (1930). Hannah has worked for the Drew family since Nancy’s mother’s death so she acts as an important surrogate mother figure to the young amateur detective. Caring, courageous, protective and kind, she is always there to lend wise advice to Nancy.