Now Hiring: Advertising Sales Learn more about careers with us!

Dear Abby, About Eau Claire ...

Mike Paulus |

Abigail Van Buren: former Eau Clairian, slinger of witty advice, breaker of hearts.
Abigail Van Buren: former Eau Clairian, slinger of witty advice, breaker of hearts.

We recently had a reader asking about Pauline Phillips, aka, Abigail Van Buren, aka “Dear Abby,” who passed away last week at the age of 94. As many of you must know by now, Phillips lived in Eau Claire for quite a while, as did her sister,  Esther Lederer, aka Ann Landers, aka “Ask Ann Landers.” That’s right, people, the sister-goddesses of the almighty advice column both called EC home. I bet they were polite neighbors.

The reader was asking about a connection to L.E. Phillips – of the marital kind. And while it’s tantalizing to think that one of the city’s greatest philanthropists was married to one of the country’s greatest dispensers of quippy wisdom, sadly it just isn’t so ... but it’s understandable to be confused ...

We asked Volume One’s answer man Frank Smoot about the connection, but he was traveling to beautiful Hawaii for the annual International Fun Fact and Trivia Convention (aka Fact Con), so he forwarded us to his capable counterpart Susan McLeod at the Chippewa Valley Museum. Susan says ...

Eldbjorg (Tobin), our librarian, looked for what we have about “Ann” and “Abby.” Most of the information we have about them is in a published book. You’re certainly welcome to come look. Pauline Esther Friedman Phillips ("Dear Abby") and her twin sister Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer, who later was know as "Ann Landers", both came to Eau Claire as young married women. The book has a number of pictures, including the houses where they each lived.

I believe Dear Abby's husband was the nephew of L.E. Phillips. I don't know if Ann's husband was related to the family in any way. Both husbands worked for Presto here, which is what brought the sisters to Eau Claire.

So, married to a Phillips, but not L.E. Somewhat of an age difference there. Still interested? The A.V. Club has a nice little piece about Pauline Phillips (who was actually quite progressive).