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Jewogle - Dear Abby (Pauline Friedman)

Dear Abby (Pauline Friedman)

Dear Abby (Pauline Friedman)

Pauline Phillips (born July 4, 1918) is an American advice columnist and radio show host who began the "Dear Abby" column in 1956. Married to Morton Phillips, the couple has two children, a son, Edward Jay Phillips, and a daughter, Jeanne Phillips.

By 2002, when Phillips suffered from the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, her daughter, Jeanne, assumed all the writing responsibilities of Dear Abby. After the family's announcement of Pauline's illness, Jeanne assumed the pen name Abigail Van Buren; from 1987 until her mother's retirement, Jeanne had been co-writing the column with her mother.


Pauline Esther Friedman was born an identical twin; her sister, Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer, wrote the Ann Landers column from 1955 until her death from multiple myeloma in 2002, at age 83. Their parents, Russian Jewish immigrants, settled in Sioux City, Iowa where they grew up. The girls went by the nicknames "Popo" (Pauline) and "Eppie" (Esther). Both are alumnae of Central High School ("The Castle on the Hill") in Sioux City and Morningside College; the two sisters also wrote for the college newspaper. In 1939, they were married in a joint wedding ceremony on their birthday.

An honorary member of Women in Communications, the American College of Psychiatrists, and the National Council of Jewish Women, Phillips is the author of six books: Dear Abby, Dear Teenager, Dear Abby on Marriage, Where Were You When President Kennedy was Shot?, The Dear Abby Wedding Planner, and The Best of Dear Abby. "The Dear Abby Show" aired on the CBS Radio Network for 12 years. (Source: Universal Press Syndicate historical files.)


Pauline's writing career that led to "Dear Abby" began in January 1956 when she was 37 and new to the Greater San Francisco Area. Sometime during this period she phoned the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and said that she could write a better advice column than the one she had been reading in the newspaper.

She chose the name "Abigail Van Buren" because she was inspired by the Bible and a president. Her chosen first name was from the Old Testament for Abigail the widow of Nabel who later married King David. Her last name mirrored the last name of U.S. president Martin Van Buren.

After hearing her modest credentials, Stanleigh "Auk" Arnold wanted only to get this self-styled journalist out of his San Francisco Chronicle office, so he gave her some letters in need of answers; Phillips had her replies back to the Chronicle the same day. When asked what she considered her greatest accomplishment, Phillips was quick to say, simply, “surviving”. (Source: Universal Press Syndicate historical files.)

As competing columnists, the sisters occasionally clashed; in 1956, Phillips offered her column to the Sioux City Journal at a reduced price, provided that the paper refused Lederer's column; Life Magazine reported on the offer in 1958.

The sisters ostensibly reconciled in 1964, although some suggest the acrimony between them remained.


About Dear Abby

Aronson, Virginia. Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren. Women of achievement.

Pottker, Janice, and Bob Speziale. Dear Ann, Dear Abby: The Unauthorized Biography of Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren.

By Dear Abby

Van Buren, Abigail. Dear Abby. Illustrated by Carl Rose.

Van Buren, Abigail. Dear teen-ager. Illustrated by Roy Doty.

Van Buren, Abigail. Dear Abby on marriage.

Van Buren, Abigail. The Best of Dear Abby.

Van Buren, Abigail. Dear Abby on planning your wedding.

Van Buren, Abigail. Where were you when President Kennedy was shot?: memories and tributes to a slain president as told to Dear Abby.

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