Pauline Phillips

Advice columnist best known as Dear Abby

If America is about self-invention and self-help, then Pauline Phillips, who was 94 when she died on Jan. 14, was a patron saint of the nation. Born the younger of identical twins, she became famous as Abigail Van Buren, a made-up name under which she wrote a popular newspaper column that doled out such pithy, warm and tart advice about how to conduct one's life and romances that its title became a universal signifier for any sidekick confidante: "Dear Abby."

Her chief rival was Ann Landers--who also happened to be her older twin Esther--and the sisters would be estranged for much...

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