Mildred Augustine Wirt Benson was born in Ladora, Iowa on June 10, 1905. Her parents were Dr. Jasper L. Augustine and Mrs. Lillian Matteson Augustine. Mildred always dreamed of being a writer and published her first story at the age of thirteen.
She began writing for the Stratemeyer Syndicate in 1927 when she wrote the twenty-third book in the Ruth Fielding series, Ruth Fielding and Her Great Scenario. In 1929, Mildred wrote the very first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Old Clock. She wrote twenty-three book in the series (#1-7, 11-25, and 30) and a total of 135 books in her lifetime. Her last book, Quarry Ghost, was published in 1959. After that, Mildred began focusing on her journalism career. She wrote for several different newspapers before finally getting a job at the Toledo Blade, a place she worked for 58 years. Mildred passed away of lung cancer on May 28, 2002.