Dear Abby

Not to be confused with Deer Abbey or Dear Abbeys.
Dear Abby Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame memorializing the Dear Abby radio show

Dear Abby is an advice column founded in 1956 by Pauline Phillips under the pen name "Abigail Van Buren" and carried on today by her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, who now owns the legal rights to the pen name.


According to Pauline Phillips, she came up with the pen name Abigail Van Buren by combining the name of Biblical figure Abigail in the Book of I Samuel, with the last name of former U.S. President Martin Van Buren.

The column was syndicated by McNaught Syndicate from 1956 until 1966, when it moved to Universal Press Syndicate. Dear Abby's current syndication company claims the column is "well-known for sound, compassionate advice, delivered with the straightforward style of a good friend."[1]

As of 1987, over 1200 newspapers ran the column.[2] On June 1, 2009, the column moved from the Chicago Tribune to the Chicago Sun-Times.[3]

Abby was born Pauline Esther Friedman, and her twin sister was born Esther Pauline Friedman. Abby was known as Popo, and her sister was Eppie[4] (a nickname from E.P.).

Ask Ann Landers

A similar column, Ask Ann Landers, was written from 1955 to 2002 by the elder Phillips twin sister Eppie Lederer. A few months before Pauline Phillips started Dear Abby, her twin sister Eppie Lederer took over the Ann Landers column created by Chicago Sun-Times advice columnist Ruth Crowley in 1943. This produced a rivalry and lengthy estrangement between the two sisters.[5]

On February 13, 1987, the Chicago Tribune announced that the Ann Landers column was moving to the Tribune, which had published the Dear Abby column for years. The Tribune ran both columns, Landers every day and Abby six days a week.[2]

Change in writer

Pauline Phillips wrote the column herself until 2000, at which time her daughter Jeanne Phillips began officially writing the column with her. Jeanne Phillips became sole author in August 2002, also announcing that her mother had Alzheimer's disease.

Pauline Phillips died on January 16, 2013, aged 94.[6]


Dear Abby was especially known for oft very brief answers with harsh humour, albeit usually enlightening. See also the original author's page for other quotes.

You could move.
Abigail Van Buren, Answer to a reader who complained that a gay couple was moving in across the street and wanted to know what he could do to improve the quality of the neighborhood.

See also


  1. "About Dear Abby". uExpress ( Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  2. 1 2 "Advice Columnist Ann Landers Leaves Chicago Sun-Times for rival Tribune". The Telegraph. Associated Press. February 14, 1987. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  3. "'Dear Abby' moves from Tribune to Sun-Times, APFN". Associated Press. June 1, 2009. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  4. Langer, Emily (January 17, 2013). "Pauline Phillips, better known as 'Dear Abby,' dies at 94". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  5. Judd, Robin. "Ann Landers biography". Jewish Virtual Library.
  6. Martinez, Michael (March 7, 2013). "Pauline Phillips, longtime Dear Abby advice columnist, dies at 94". CNN.

External links

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