Pauline Phillips, who wrote the Dear Abby column, was Jewish. "Dear Abby" was the name of the advice column Phillips founded in 1956 under the pen name Abigail Van Buren. It has been continued by her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, who now owns the legal rights to the pen name. Pauline Phillips died on January 17, 2013.
In 1939, she and her identical twin sister Esther (Ann Landers) were married in a double-wedding ceremony on their birthday. She married Morton Phillips of Minneapolis, and had two children, a son, Edward Jay Phillips, and a daughter, Jeanne Phillips.
According to Pauline Phillips, she came up with the pen name Abigail Van Buren by combining the name of Biblical figure Abigail in the Book of I Samuel, with the last name of former U.S. President Martin Van Buren.
The column was syndicated by McNaught Syndicate from 1956 until 1966, when it moved to Universal Press Syndicate. Dear Abby's current syndication company claims the column is known for its "uncommon common sense and youthful perspective". A similar column, Ask Ann Landers, was written from 1955 to 2002 by Phillips' twin sister Eppie Lederer.