Names from Nancy Drew & Other Storybook Series

Names from Nancy Drew & Other Storybook Series

When I was a kid I was a huge fan of Nancy Drew mysteries. And though I certainly appreciated the girl detective’s keen powers of deduction, I was also fascinated (surprise, surprise) by the names of the characters, which to me, growing up in my little ethnic enclave of New York City, seemed to be part of another, exotic world. Fathers with names like Carter and Fenton. Kids called Polly and Penny and Nan and Ned. And a girl–Nancy‘s best friend–named George! (A portent of blogs to come?)

There were dozens and dozens of mystery and adventure series dating back to the 1890s and continuing into the 1960s and 70s. In those pre-Harry Potter days, such children’s books were presented along strictly drawn gender lines: there were very much girls’ books and boys’ books. Most of the heroes had straightforward names like Tom (there were a lot of Toms) and Frank, and many of the girls were Betsy and Sue, but some of them did have interesting, unusual appellations, or at least seem that way to us now. So I’ve done a little sleuthing of my own and come up with the following:


BABS, Ginny Gordon seriesBESSIE, Boxcar Children MysteriesCALLIE, The Hardy BoysCHALICE, Vicki Barr Flight StewardessCHERRY (CHARITY), Cherry Ames seriesDINAH, The Bobbsey TwinsFLOSSIE, The Bobbsey TwinsGEORGE, Nancy DrewHONEY, Judy Bolton Mystery Series, Trixie Belden, Ginny GordonINA, The Dana GirlsIOLA, The Hardy BoysJOSIE, Anne Shirley series, Cherry Ames seriesJULIANA, Trixie BeldenLENORA, Beverly Gray College Mystery seriesLETTIE, The Dana GirlsLUCIA, Cherry AmesMARILLA, Anne Shirley seriesMITZI, Chip Hilton Sports AdventuresNAN, The Bobbsey TwinsNANINE, Cherry AmesPENNY, Penny Parker MysteriesPOLLY, Polly Brewster, Polly Prentiss, Polly French seriesRUBY, Anne Shirley seriesSOPHRONIA (called Phronsie), The Five Little Peppers seriesTRIXIE (Beatrix), Trixie Belden seriesVIOLET, The Boxcar Children series


ASA, The Hardy BoysBIFF, The Hardy Boys, Biff Brewster seriesBRICK, Don Sturdy seriesBRONC, Bronc Burnett sereisBUNCE, Cherry Ames seriesCARSON, Nancy DrewCHIP, Chip Hilton seriesFENTON, The Hardy BoysGILES, The Hardy BoysGULLIVER, Tom Quest AdventuresHARTSON, Rick Brant seriesHECTOR, Horatio AlgerHORATIO, Horatio AlgerHURD, The Hardy BoysJADBURY, The Hardy BoysJASPER, Horatio AlgerJED, Horatio AlgerMARIUS, Cherry Ames seriesNED, Nancy Drew, Horatio Alger, The Motor Boys, The Hardy BoysRUFUS, Horatio AlgerRUPERT, Horatio AlgerSILAS, Horatio AlgerVALENTINE, Horatio AlgerWADE, Cherry Ames seriesWHIZ, Tom Quest Adventures, Ginny Gordon

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.