Dear Abby is an American 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."
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.
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.
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 the sole author in August 2002, also announcing that her mother had Alzheimer's disease.
Pauline Phillips died on January 16, 2013, aged 94.
In popular culture
A fictional version of Dear Abby was used in the second episode of The Brady Bunch called "Dear Libby" where someone had written a letter signed "Harried And Hopeless". Both the boys and the girls had thought that either their new father or their new mother was unhappy with the current living situation.
On the album Bedtime for Democracy, the Dead Kennedys have a song titled "Dear Abby".
- Miss Manners
- Dolores Prida
- Isabel Gómez-Bassols
- Sweet Revenge (John Prine album), includes the song 'Dear Abby'
- "About Dear Abby". uExpress (uexpress.com). Retrieved May 1, 2014.
- "Advice Columnist Ann Landers Leaves Chicago Sun-Times for rival Tribune". The Telegraph. Associated Press. February 14, 1987. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
- "'Dear Abby' moves from Tribune to Sun-Times, APFN". Associated Press. June 1, 2009. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
- Langer, Emily (January 17, 2013). "Pauline Phillips, better known as 'Dear Abby,' dies at 94". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
- Judd, Robin. "Ann Landers biography". Jewish Virtual Library.
- Martinez, Michael (March 7, 2013). "Pauline Phillips, longtime Dear Abby advice columnist, dies at 94". CNN.
- Official website
- Abigail Van Buren (1918–2013) at Library of Congress Authorities, with 7 catalog records
- Works by or about Van Buren (that is, the elder Phillips) in libraries (WorldCat catalog)