Harriet Adams

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For the American explorer, see Harriet Chalmers Adams.
Harriet Adams
Harriet Stratemeyer Adams.jpg
Born Harriet Stratemeyer Adams
(1892-12-11)December 11, 1892
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Died March 27, 1982(1982-03-27) (aged 89)
Tewksbury Township, New Jersey
Pen name Carolyn Keene
Occupation Novelist, publisher
Genre Young adult mystery fiction
Notable works Nancy Drew series

Harriet Stratemeyer Adams (December 11, 1892 – March 27, 1982) was an American juvenile mystery novelist and publisher who authored some 200 books over her literary career. She wrote many books in the Nancy Drew series (under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene) and a few in the Hardy Boys series (under the pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon). She also oversaw other ghostwriters who wrote for these and many other series as a part of the Stratemeyer Syndicate.

Stratemeyer Syndicate[edit]

With her sister, Edna, Adams took over control of the Stratemeyer Syndicate after her father Edward Stratemeyer's death in 1930.[1] Edna ran the daily business operations, while Adams dealt with publishers and wrote; after Edna was married in 1942, she became inactive and Adams took over the entire business.[1] Adams is primarily credited with keeping the Syndicate afloat through the Great Depression, and with revising the two most popular series, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, in the 1950s and 1960s, removing stereotypes and outdated ideas and language. She ran the syndicate for 52 years.[1]

Personal life[edit]

She was born in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of Edward Stratemeyer. At a young age, Adams wanted to break free from being a "proper, young lady who should stay at home". She climbed trees, made friends with local boys, and loved books from an early age. Adams graduated from Wellesley College in 1914. Her father forbade her to work outside the home, so she edited manuscripts at home.[1] In 1915, she married Russell Vroom Adams, and raised four children, becoming involved in the family business only after her father's death.[1] She resided in Maplewood, New Jersey, and in Pottersville, New Jersey, an area within Tewksbury Township, where she died of a heart attack.[2] She lived in Pottersville at her estate, Bird Haven, until her death in 1982.[3]

Adams was interred in Fairmount Cemetery in Newark.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e Morgan, Barbara (1999). "Adams, Harriet Stratemeyer". In Commire, Anne. Women in World History: A biographical encyclopedia. 1. Waterford, CT: Yorkin Publications, Gale Group. pp. 49–51. ISBN 0787640808. 
  2. ^ Chira, Susan. "Harriet Adams Dies. Nancy Drew Author Wrote Over 200 Novels", The New York Times, March 29, 1982. Accessed October 7, 2007. "Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, who wrote nearly 200 children's books including many of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, died Saturday evening. She was 89 years old, and lived in Pottersville and Maplewood, N.J."
  3. ^ "Bird Haven Farm 2006.". Garden Club of America Collection. Smithsonian Gardens, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, Find A Grave. Accessed August 23, 2007.

Further reading[edit]

  • Billman, Carol. The Secret of the Stratemeyer Syndicate. New York: Ungar, 1986.

External links[edit]