Dear Prudence (advice column)

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Dear Prudence is an advice column appearing several times weekly in the online magazine Slate and syndicated to over 200 newspapers.


Herbert Stein[edit]

The column was initiated on 20 December 1997. "Prudence" was a pseudonym, and the author's true identity was not revealed at the time. Slate's archive currently indicates that the author of those first columns was Herbert Stein. Stein ceased writing the column after three months and the column went on hiatus.

Margo Howard[edit]

In mid-March 1998, the column returned, with the explanation that "Prudence" had not come back from her "needlework"—per the explanation offered in Stein's last column—but rather had convinced her daughter and namesake to continue her work. While similarly anonymous at first, the new author of the column was eventually revealed to be Margo Howard,[1] the daughter of Esther Lederer, aka Ann Landers.

Howard maintained the column for nearly eight years. Her last Dear Prudence column appeared in Slate on 2 February 2006. Howard then had a Creators Syndicate advice column called "Dear Margo", whose run ended on Friday, 10 May 2013.[2]

Emily Yoffe[edit]

On 9 February 2006,[3] "Dear Prudence" was taken over by Slate staffer Emily Yoffe. Beginning in the summer of 2007, when Slate video magazine Slate V was launched, Yoffe also appeared in short, videorecorded Dear Prudence clips, illustrated with animations.

Daniel Mallory Ortberg[edit]

On 9 November 2015, Slate announced that Daniel Mallory Ortberg, writer and co-founder of The Toast, would take up the "Prudence" role from Yoffe.[4] In June 2016, Slate launched the "Dear Prudence" podcast to accompany the column.[5] Ortberg, usually accompanied by 1-2 guests, discusses and responds to additional letters in weekly episodes.

Cultural reference[edit]

The title of the column is a reference to the Beatles song "Dear Prudence".


  1. ^ Rick Kogan, "Women Of Letters: Pauline And Jeanne Phillips (dear Abby). Eppie Lederer (ann Landers). And Now Margo Howard (dear Prudence). In This Family, The 'Advice Gene' Clearly Is Dominant," Chicago Tribune, April 1, 2001.
  2. ^ "PureWow: Women's Fashion, Beauty, Life Hacks & Recipes".
  3. ^ Interactive, Washingtonpost.Newsweek. "Emily Yoffe Becomes The New Voice Behind Slate's 'Dear Prudence'".
  4. ^ Turner, Julia (November 9, 2015). "Meet Our New Dear Prudence Columnist". Slate. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  5. ^ "Coming Soon: Dear Prudence". Stitcher. Slate. Retrieved 10 November 2018.

External links[edit]