• Identification00214562
  • TitleDescriptive inventory for Ann Landers papers, 1947-2002
  • PublisherChicago Historical Society
  • RepositoryChicago History Museum Research Center 1601 North Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614-6038
  • OriginationAnn Landers
  • Date1947-2002
  • Physical Description107.25 linear feet (76 boxes)
  • LocationMSS Lot L
  • LanguageEnglish

Collection is open for research use.

Requests for reprinting or use of published materials by Ann Landers or her daughter Margo Howard should be submitted to Christine Lee (at clee@creators.com ). Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.

Purchased from estate sale (accession#: 2002.0266.1) and gift of Margo Howard (acession #: 2003.0262.3).

Ann Landers papers (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.

Scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, texts of speeches, correspondence, photographs, book manuscripts, and other papers of Ann Landers, primarily regarding her career as a syndicated advice columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and later for the Chicago Tribune. Scrapbooks (66 vol.) contain her newspaper column, "Ask Ann Landers" (1957-2002; boxes 1-48), and other newspaper clippings, articles, photos, etc. about Landers' journalism career, social service activities, and personal matters (1947-1987; boxes 49-66). Includes items about her community service in the B'nai B'rith, Anti-Defamation League, and Red Cross in Eau Claire, Wisconsin (1947-1954) and her work, speaking engagements, etc. in Chicago (1954 to 1987). Topics on which she commented and enlisted experts to provide knowledgeable perspectives included marriage, sex, teenagers, dating, mental health, spending habits, social practices of many types, and relations between people of different religions, races, and genders.

Esther Pauline Lederer (nicknamed Eppie) was famous as the advice columnist Ann Landers. She moved to Chicago from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in 1954 with her husband Jules Lederer and, in 1955, began writing the "Ask Ann Landers" advice column for the Chicago Sun Times, adopting the pen name of the previous writer of the column. Landers/Lederer was born in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1918 (nee Friedman).

She expanded the scope of the column from its previous emphasis on childcare to cover topics such as sexuality, marriage, marital roles and family relationships, divorce, drugs and alcoholism, and ethical issues. The column eventually was syndicated in over 1100 newspapers. In 1987, she left the Sun-Times, taking the column with her to the Chicago Tribune, where she remained its primary author until 2000. During the last years of her life, the column was chiefly written by her daughter Margo Howard.

Landers' advice generally was considered moderate and well-researched and gained her the respect of conservatives and liberals. Her willingness to address controversial issues of the times, such as AIDS and homosexuality, helped win her column a wide readership. Landers' reputation and influence earned her numerous honorary doctorates and invitations to speak at public events throughout the United States. She also published several books, including Sex and the Teenager (1983) and The Ann Landers Encyclopedia, A to Z: Improve Your Life Emotionally, Medically, Sexually, Socially, Spiritually (1981). Landers died in Chicago on June 22, 2002, at age 83.

Related materials at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include the Ann Landers collection of photographic materials (2003.0262) and several publications by and about Ann Landers.

Processed with funding provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

  • Names
    • Landers, Ann--Archives
    • Lederer, Esther Pauline Friedman, 1918-2002
    • Bromley, David Allan
    • Wolfe, Gregory B.
    • Chicago sun-times
    • Chicago Tribune (firm)
    • B'nai B'rith. Anti-defamation League
  • Subject
    • Landers, Ann. Ann Landers encyclopedia, A to Z
    • Landers, Ann. Ask Ann Landers
    • Landers, Ann. Sex and the teenager
    • Advice columnists--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Advice columnists--United States--20th century
    • American newspapers--Illinois--Chicago--Sections, columns, etc.--20th century
    • Conduct of life
    • Families--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Mothers and daughters--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Women journalists--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
  • Geographic Coverage
    • Chicago (Ill.)--Social life and customs--20th century
    • Eau Claire (Wis.)--Social conditions--20th century
    • United States--Social life and customs--20th century
    • United States--Social conditions--20th century
    • United States--Illinois--Cook County--Chicago

The collection is arranged in four series.

Series 1. Scrapbooks of Ask Ann Landers newspaper column, 1957-2002 (box 1-48)

Series 1 consists of scrapbooks containing copies of Landers' advice column "Ask Ann Landers" published in the Chicago Sun-Times and later in the Chicago Tribune and in national syndication to many other newspapers.

Series 2. Scrapbooks on Ann Landers, 1947-1987 (box 49-66)

Series 2 consists of scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings, printed material, and photographs relating to Landers' personal and professional activities. The scrapbooks highlight Landers' community service in the Anti-Defamation League, Red Cross, and B'nai B'rith in Eau Claire, Wisconsin (1947-1954). The scrapbooks also detail the writings, events, civic endeavors, and speaking engagements of Landers in Chicago (1954 to 1987). Also present are 3 scrapbooks containing loose copies of her newspaper column (box 64-66).

Series 3. Speech transcripts, 1954-1996 (box 67-72)

Series 3 consists largely of speeches written and given by Ann Landers for various nation-wide events and organizations, such as the Mary Lasker Memorial, the Young Presidents Organization, and Roosevelt University commencements. Topics include healthcare, marriage, and leadership. Also present are Landers' notes and drafts as well as copies of speeches by physicist David Allan Bromley and writer Gregory B. Wolfe.

Series 4. General material, 1958-1990 (box 73-76)

Series 4 contains publications, personal letters, sketches, newspaper clippings, invitations, notes, and other papers relating to the personal and professional affairs of Ann Landers. Included are manuscripts drafts for her "Book of ‘Favorite' Columns" (ca. 1978), the booklet Sex and the Teenager (1983), and The Ann Landers Encyclopedia, A to Z: Improve Your Life Emotionally, Medically, Sexually, Socially, Spiritually (1981). Also present are NBC radio scripts and promotional literature for the segment "This is Ann Landers" (1971-1972).