Volume 30, The Clue of the Velvet Mask (1953), was outlined by Andrew Svenson. Most of the early volumes were written by Mildred Wirt Benson. Edward Stratemeyer edited the first three volumes, and Harriet Adams edited most subsequent volumes until her death in 1982.
The Syndicate was able to enlist the cooperation of libraries in hiding the ghostwriters' names; when Walter Karig, who wrote volumes eight through ten of the original Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, tried to claim rights with the Library of Congress in 1933, the Syndicate instructed the Library of Congress not to reveal the names of any Nancy Drew authors, a move with which the Library of Congress complied.Exact sales figures are not available for the years prior to 1979, but an indication of the books' popularity can be seen in a letter that Laura Harris, a Grosset and Dunlap editor, wrote to the Syndicate in 1931: "can you let us have the manuscript as soon as possible, and no later than July 10?There will only be three or four titles brought out then and the Nancy Drew is one of the most important." In 1934 Fortune magazine featured the Syndicate in a cover story and singled Nancy Drew out for particular attention: "Nancy is the greatest phenomenon among all the fifty-centers. How she crashed a Valhalla that had been rigidly restricted to the male of her species is a mystery even to her publishers." In accordance with the customs of Stratemeyer Syndicate series production, ghostwriters for the Syndicate signed contracts that have sometimes been interpreted as requiring authors to sign away all rights to authorship or future royalties.After Adams's death, series production was overseen by Nancy Axelrad (who also wrote several volumes).
The rights to the character were sold in 1984, along with the Stratemeyer Syndicate itself, to Simon & Schuster.
While Stratemeyer believed that a woman's place was in the home, Stratemeyer initially pitched the new series to Hardy Boys publishers Grosset & Dunlap as the "Stella Strong Stories", adding that "they might also be called 'Diana Drew Stories', 'Diana Dare Stories', 'Nan Nelson Stories', 'Nan Drew Stories', or 'Helen Hale Stories'." Subsequent titles have been written by a number of different ghostwriters, all under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene.