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Dear Abby And Ann Landers, Advice Column Wonder Twins


When it comes to newspaper advice columns, two names immediately come to mind: Dear Abby and Ann Landers. But did you know that the real-life women behind these syndicated advice columns were identical twin sisters?

Ap And Popo

On July 4, 1918, in Sioux City, Iowa, twin daughters were born to Russian Jewish immigrants Rebecca and Abraham Friedman, who named their daughters seriously - Pauline Esther and Esther Pauline, although Pauline's surname was Popo and Esther It was called Epi. The Friedman family was well known in the city as Mr. Friedman owned a chain of movie theaters. Their twin daughters attended Central High School and then Morningside College, where they worked together on a gossip column for the school newspaper, The Collegiate Reporter. He called his column "The Campus Rat" and used the byline PE-EP. In 1939, they both left school to marry in a lavish double wedding attended by three rabbis and attended by over 750 guests.



Ann Landers

Esther Friedman Lederer was living in Chicago when she entered the contest to become the next "Ann Landers" for the Chicago Sun-Times after the previous advice columnist, who used a pseudonym, a nurse named Ruth Crowley who died in 1955. happened. Unlike his predecessor, Lederer did not hide the fact that he wrote the advice column, but did make it clear that "Ann Landers" was a fictional character.

Dear Abby

Meanwhile, Pauline Friedman Phillips was living in San Francisco with her family. Inspired by his sister, Phillips marched into the offices of the San Francisco Chronicle, contacted one of its editors, and informed him that his current advice columnist was boring and gave stale advice. Phillips suggested she could do much better, so the angry editor threw her a few letters, and she returned later that afternoon with her written responses. The editor had to accept that they were an improvement, so Phillips became his new advisory columnist. Like her sister, she opted to use a pen name, "Abby" after Abigail in the Bible and "Van Buren" in honor of former President Martin Van Buren, but also because she thought it was aristocratic. was appearing. Friends, family and even her husband started calling her Abby.



Competitive Confidant

From the beginning of her mentoring career, the sisters viewed her as a competition. Lederer was not thrilled that his sister was leading in her field, and Phillips was determined to outdo her twin. Despite, or perhaps because of, their professional rivalry, Ann Landers and Dear Abbey became two of the most well-known newspaper advisory columnists of the time. Between them, they received an estimated 15,000 letters each week and had a combined readership of over 200 million people. But time heals all wounds, and the twins settled their differences before Lederer's death in 2002, followed by Phillips in 2013. Their own daughters now write their own advice columns.

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