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Iowa History Daily: July 4 - Ann Landers & Dear Abby

Iowa History Daily: On July 4, 1918, Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer and Pauline Esther Friedman were born seventeen minutes apart in Sioux City. The sisters gained national fame as the popular advice columnists Abigail Van Buren and Ann Landers of the popular columns ‘Dear Abby’ and ‘Dear Ann Landers.’

After growing up in Sioux City, Esther won a contest to replace the original author of the ‘Ask Ann Landers’ column in the Chicago Sun Times during 1955. The sisters initially worked together on the project, however, when the Sun-Times forbade the partnership Pauline started her own column called ‘Dear Abby.’

Although a feud between the sisters ensued, both found incredible success for columns featuring practical advice and a straightforward tone. By 1993, the ‘Ann Landers’ column appeared in over 1,200 newspapers with a readership in excess of 90 million. ‘Dear Abby’ also reached an audience through publication in roughly 1,200 papers nationwide by the late 20th century.

Although the ‘Ann Landers’ column ended with the Esther’s death in 2002, ‘Dear Abby’ passed on to a new generation in the year 2000 when Pauline passed the column on to her daughter Jeanne. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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