Mildred Wirt Benson

Mildred Wirt Benson

1920 - 1927
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Mildred Wirt Benson at Currier Hall

Currier Hall (Currier House)
413 North Clinton Street

During Mildred’s time at the University of Iowa, she stayed in Currier Residence Hall. Today, Currier Hall is the home of the Undergraduate Writing Floors — a specified place for undergraduate writers to reside together as a community.

Rehak, Melanie. Girl Sleuth. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt inc., 2005.


Mildred Wirt Benson at Halsey Hall

Halsey Hall
28 West Jefferson Street, Iowa City, IA

During Mildred’s time in Iowa City, Halsey Hall was the women’s gymnasium, where Mildred participated in her athletic activities. In her article ‘Our Sardines’, Benson writes about how the women’s pool, then located in Halsey Hall, did not accommodate the popularity and success of women’s swimming. She wrote that if they cannot have adequate practice space, “they should at least be praised for the progress made in spite of handicap”.

Mildred Augustine, “Our Sardines, Mid 1920s,” Mildred Benson Files, Iowa Women’s Archives, Iowa City, Iowa


Mildred Wirt Benson Diving into the Iowa River

Iowa Memorial Union Footbridge
125 N Madison St, Iowa City, IA 52245

This image from the Iowa Women’s Archives at the University of Iowa shows Mildred Wirt Benson swan-diving into the Iowa River in Iowa City. The back of the photo reads “Mildred Augustine Benson diving into Iowa River at Iowa City, Iowa in mid-1920’s.”


Mildred Wirt Benson: Literary Walk Plaque

This is Mildred Benson’s plaque on the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk. It is located in front of the Blue Moose Taphouse and it reads “I’m afraid there’s more to this than appears on the surface.”

Keene, Carolyn. The Ghost of Blackwood Hall. Grosset & Dunlap, 1995.

Mildred Augustine Wirt Benson wrote and published the first twenty-three Nancy Drew stories under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. She lived from July 10, 1905, to May 2002. From an early age, Mildred Benson knew that she wanted to be a writer, and she published her first story in 1919, when she was only fourteen years old. She attended undergraduate and graduate school at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City. In 1927, Benson became the first woman to receive a master’s degree from the University of Iowa School of Journalism.


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