ABIGAIL VAN BUREN Biography - People in the News and Media


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Name: Pauline Esther Friedman Phillips                                               
Born: 4 July 1918                                                                   
Pauline Esther Friedman Phillips (born July 4, 1918) started writing the Dear       
Abby syndicated personal advice column in 1956 under the pen name, Abigail Van       
Buren. Since her retirement in 2002 after an onset of Alzheimer's disease, her       
daughter, Jeanne Phillips, has been writing the column under the same pen name.     
According to Pauline, she had come up with the pen name, Abigail Van Buren, by       
combining the name of the biblical character, Abigail, in the Book of Samuel         
with the last name of former U.S. President Martin Van Buren.                       
According to its publishers, the column is known for its "uncommon common sense     
and youthful perspective", and is read by more people than any other newspaper       
column worldwide.                                                                   
Pauline was an identical twin: Her sister, Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer, was     
17 minutes older than Pauline, and also wrote the internationally syndicated "Ann   
Landers" personal advice column.                                                     
The daughters of Russian Jewish immigrants, the twins grew up in Sioux City,         
Iowa, and went by the nicknames "Popo" and "Eppie", respectively. They attended     
Central High School(aka "The Castle on the Hill") in Sioux City, Iowa, and then     
went on to study at Morningside College. They were very close and had a joint       
wedding ceremony in 1939 at the age of 21.                                           
As competing columnists, however, the two sisters did not have a happy               
relationship. They publicly reconciled during 1964, although some suggest that       
the acrimony endured. Just a few years before Eppie's death in 2002, they were       
not on speaking terms. It is said that they reconciled before Eppie's death,         
though the reconciliation is somewhat questionable, considering that Pauline had     
started suffering from Alzheimer's disease that same year.