The precursor to Ann Landers, Dear Abby and Dannii Minogue.
Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer (1870 -1951), the world's first internationally syndicated agony aunt, writing open letters to people burdened with personal problems. By the time of her death she had become the highest paid and most widely read American female journalist. Sixty million people worldwide read her dicta on love, marriage and life in general (evidently more than Ghandi's interviewer Margaret Bourke-White) .
Her famous dictates for a happy life were summarised as:
- Make up your mind to be happy
- Make the best of your lot
- Don’t take yourself too seriously
- Don’t take other people too seriously
- Don’t borrow trouble
- Don’t cherish enmities and grudges
- Keep in circulation she means socialise
- Don’t hold post-mortems don't brood over mistakes and misfortune
- Do something for somebody less fortunate than yourself
- Keep busy
She is surprisingly still relevant today - as if after nearly a century of technological innovation and prosperity we still haven't found happiness.
Because it was believed she secretly wrote some of the letters that she apparently responded to, the term 'Dorothy Dixer' was coined in Australia to refer to a question asked by a member of the governing party in parliamentary proceedings to a Cabinet minister, designed to give the government the opportunity to praise their own achievements.