January 17, 2013 / 8:46 PM / 5 years ago

Factbox: Facts about advice columnist "Dear Abby"

(Reuters) - Facts about Pauline Phillips, better known as Abigail Van Buren, the Dear Abby advice columnist:

* Phillips and her identical twin, Esther, who wrote the rival Ann Landers advice column, married their husbands in a joint ceremony in 1939 at the age of 21.

* Phillips’ Dear Abby column made its debut in the San Francisco Chronicle. She created her pen name by combining the names of the biblical character Abigail and Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the United States. She thought the name had an aristocratic air.

* Pauline started the Dear Abby column the year after Esther had taken over as Ann Landers in 1955. The rivalry between the two syndicated sisters grew bitter but Phillips’ family said they had reconciled before Esther’s death in 2002.

* Phillips’ daughter, Jeanne, began writing the Dear Abby column with her in 1987 and took it over full time in 2002.

* The Abigail Van Buren Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Mayo Clinic was started with a $10 million grant from Phillips’ son, Eddie, and an anonymous donor.

Writing by Bill Trott

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