Abigail Van Buren

Pauline Esther Friedman
advice columnist
Born: 7/4/1918
Birthplace: Sioux City, Iowa

Born Pauline Esther Friedman, Van Buren had never written professionally until 1956 when she contacted the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and said she could write a better advice column than the one currently appearing in that paper. The editor invited her for an interview and asked her to compose some responses to letters the paper had received. The editor liked her replies, and using the name “Abigail Van Buren” she began answering letters to “Dear Abby.” The column was an instant success and was syndicated in two months. Today it is among the most widely syndicated newspaper columns in the world. Van Buren has also written four best sellers. Her twin sister, Esther Pauline, also became an advice columnist, writing under the name “Ann Landers.” Her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, became Abigail Van Buren and took over the “Dear Abby” column when Friedman's health declined.

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