SHESPEAKS Your Power to Influence

"Dear Abby" Leaves a Rich Legacy of Advice and Wisdom

Pauline Friedman Phillips of “Dear Abby” fame has recently passed away after providing us with decades of inspiring advice, humor, and wisdom. Most of us know her nationally syndicated newspaper column as the one source of reading and entertainment that we can turn to when opening up the paper.

A recent Los Angeles Times report highlights some of Phillips’ (who went by the pen name Abigail Van Buren) many successes and the legacy she leaves us. In 1957, just one year after her own advice column first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Time magazine aptly referred to “Dear Abby” as the “fastest-rising star in the field of journalism”.

The columnist was known for her witty one-liners, like the one she answered to this question: “Dear Abby: ‘Are birth control pills deductible?’ “ Abby writes back, “Only if they don’t work.” But the forward-thinking writer also dealt with serious subject matters throughout her long career which saw the sexual revolution of the 60’s, the women’s rights movement, legalization of abortion and the budding AIDS epidemic. Abby was active in the campaign for the Equal Right Amendment, supported the legalization of abortion, and frequently advocated AIDS testing and education.

In 2000 at the age of 80, Abby began sharing her byline with daughter, Jeanne Phillips before handing off the torch just two years later when she was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease. Jeanne writes in a statement of her mother’s death, “My mother leaves very big high heels to fill, with a legacy of compassion, commitment and positive social change. I will honor her memory every day by continuing this legacy.”

Are you a fan of Pauline Friedman Phillips’ “Dear Abby” advice column?

Any memorable pieces of advice that you’ve carried around from the popular “Dear Abby” column? Please share!
 

Make a Comment

Comment  *
 
 
  • Kay3131 By Kay3131
    01.27.13  

    "Dear Abby" changed a generation. She made Phil Donohue and Oprah Winfrey possible because she believed that women were interested in more than baking and table games. She pioneered using media as a place to share and to discuss private problems as she dished-out risque and to-the-point advice. Her influence cannot be overstated. My favorites include: Dear Abby, Our son maried a girl when he was in the service.They were married in February and she had an 8.5 lb baby in August.She said the baby was premature. Can an 8.5 lb baby be this premature? Wanting To Know Dear Wanting, The baby was on time. The weddng was late. Forget it.

  • Kay3131 By Kay3131
    01.28.13  

    Dear Abby, Two men who claim to be father and adopted son just bought an old mansion across the street and fixed it up. We notice a very suspicious mixture of company coming and going at all hours - blacks, whites, Orientals, women who look like men and men who look like women. This has always been considered one of the finest sections of San Francisco and these weirdos are giving it a bad name. How can we improve the neighborhood? Nob Hill Residents Dear Residents: You could move.

More stories like this