I came up with a list of possible meanings, and also asked my followers on Facebook what they consider to be an "original" Nancy Drew Mystery Story. Here are many possibilities.
#1-34 original text only, any format
#1-34 original and revised text
#1-38 blue books with or without dust jacket
#1-34 original text only and Applewood #1-21
#1-34 original text only with original dust jacket art
Most of these possibilities involve the original text, and I believe that people who want to know if a book is "original" mean exactly that. The problem is that I cannot tell, and often the people who ask mention details that seem to indicate that they may be more concerned about first printings or first format printings.
I believe that the use of "original" by itself has been caused by Applewood. Applewood describes its books as "The Originals Just as You Remember Them." I'm pretty sure by the explanation on the back of the books that Applewood means that the books have the original 25 chapter texts along with the original cover art and original illustrations.
The problem is that some people may think that the statement means more than it does. The Applewood editions are considered facsimile editions with the implication that the books are copied after the original first printing Nancy Drew books. There is a problem: None of the Grosset and Dunlap books are just like the Applewood editions. No, really. The Applewood editions are not exactly like any of the Grosset and Dunlap editions. Applewood took from different formats of Nancy Drew books when it published its books.
|First printing of Nancy Drew #1|
Notice from the two scans that I placed above and below that the first printing of Nancy Drew #1 as published by Grosset and Dunlap does not look at all like the Applewood edition of Nancy Drew #1. However, both books contain the original text.
I have put together some pages that explain ways to tell if Nancy Drew books have the original text.
Original and Revised Text Books
The above page shows the different types of bindings and tells which text you can expect the book to have. For some binding styles, you can be 100% guaranteed that a book has the original text.
Nancy Drew #1-56 Cover Art Gallery
The above page was originally just a cover art gallery for the picture cover books. Later, I took the time to place underneath each scan a note as to which text the book has. Some books can go either way, but the vast majority of the books must have a certain version of the text.
If you are trying to figure out how old a Nancy Drew book is, study the following page.
Nancy Drew Formats
While new collectors can be easily overwhelmed, I am confident that spending an hour or so studying this information will answer most questions and eliminate most confusion. If you are new to collecting Nancy Drew books, devote one evening to studying these links. You'll be glad you did.