Monday, July 4, 2011

Lettt* (for Letter, etc.)

July 4th is obviously, well, the Fourth of July, but today's date also marks another bit of true Americana, the birthday of identical twin sisters and professional advice givers "Ann Landers" and "Abigail Van Buren." Born Pauline Esther Friedman and Esther Pauline Friedman in 1918, "Popo" and "Eppie" were the only children of Russian-Jewish immigrants in Sioux City, Iowa. Eppie Lederer died of bone cancer in 2002 after having refused treatment for the disease. Her ex-husband had passed away three years earlier. (In 1975, Lederer wrote: "The sad, incredible fact is that, after 36 years of marriage, Jules and I are being divorced." She received 30,000 condolence letters in response.) After her death, sex columnist Dan Savage ("Savage Love") purchased Eppie Lederer's desk. Pauline Phillips is still with us, although currently suffering from Alzheimer's disease; her daughter Jeanne continues to write the column "Dear Abby." While it seemed as though Abby and Ann could never have too many letters, the word letter* itself certainly can. There were 19 examples of Lettter* (and 21 of Lettt*) opened up in OhioLINK this morning.

(Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer, better known as "Ann Landers," by Fred Palumbo, World Telegram photographer, 1961, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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