‘Dear Abby’ author Pauline Phillips has died at 94

‘Dear Abby’
Pauline Friedman Phillips, author of “Dear Abby,” in her home office in 1998.
(Genaro Molina)

Pauline Friedman Phillips, who wrote the “Dear Abby” advice column for decades using the name Abigail Van Buren, died Wednesday in Minneapolis at age 94. She had been afflicted with Alzheimer’s.

Her advice columns were collected in a number of books, many of which are available now on EBay. An autographed copy of the 1958 “Dear Abby” collection is listed at $29.99. A well-worn edition of 1983’s “The Best of Dear Abby” can be purchased for as little as $5.

You can get “Dear Abby on Planning Your Wedding” (1988, $11) and, assuming all goes well with that, 1963’s “Dear Abby on Marriage.” Perhaps throw this in, too: “Dear Abby’s Favorite Recipes” ($6. pamphlet reprinted in 1998).

Pauline Esther Friedman was born July 4, 1918, along with her twin sister, Esther Pauline Friedman. Her sister became the advice columnist Ann Landers. The two started out close but a rivalry developed after they both began dispensing advice through syndicated newspaper columns.


The Dear Abby column was launched with the San Francisco Chronicle in the mid-1950s. By then, she had been married to Morton Phillips for more than a decade; the couple had two children. Phillips was the son of a wealthy family, and Dear Abby was often written from a home office in Beverly Hills.

In 1987, daughter Jeanne began working on the column, eventually taking over writing duties after her mother became incapacitated. She continues writing under the Dear Abby banner.


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