Philips did not begin her professional career as a writer until she was 37 when she wrote to a newspaper complaining that she, a housewife and mother of two, could give better advice to the readers.
The editor of the paper apparently agreed. Her first "Dear Abby" column appeared in the San Francisco chronicle on January 9, 1956. It was syndicated that same year and went on to become the world's most widely syndicated column. Phillips continued writing the column until 2002 when it was announced that she suffered from Alzheimer's Disease.
Pithy advice seems to runs in the family. Pauline Phillip's twin sister was known by the pen name Ann Landers.
Phillip's daughter Jeanne Phillips has continued the legacy of writing the column known for its succinct, yet meaningful, advice.