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Abigail Van Buren

Born Pauline Friedman, Abigail Van Buren was best known for her “Dear Abby” column and the witty, commonsense advice she gave hundreds of millions of readers. When her twin sister took on the title of Ann Landers for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1955, Van Buren wrote to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle to offer her services as an advice columnist, choosing her pen name from the biblical figure whom King David praised for her wise counsel. In her column, she championed the rights of women, Jews, African Americans, and other groups, occasionally publishing columns that newspapers threatened not to print, such as one where she advocated women’s rights to control their own bodies. In addition to her column, she wrote six books, and as she began to suffer from Alzheimer’s in her later years, she co-wrote her column with her daughter Jeanne, who took over the column and the title of Dear Abby after her death.

Abigail Van Buren, 1961
Full image

Writer and advice columnist Pauline Esther Friedman Phillips, better known as Abigail Van Buren of the "Dear Abby" column, in 1961.

Photo in the public domain.

Date of Birth
July 4, 1918
Place of Birth
Sioux City, Iowa
Date of Death
January 16, 2013

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Abigail Van Buren." (Viewed on December 17, 2018) <>.


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