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“Dr. Bill” Answers Questions
on Life and Love

Dr. BillMany people know that William James (1842-1910) was a doctor, a pioneering psychologist, and an innovative philosopher. Almost no one, however, is aware that he also virtually invented the daily newspaper advice column.

The reason for our ignorance?

William James himself. Fearing that open association with such a vulgar activity might cause his stuffy professional colleagues to dismiss him as a mere popularizer, Dr. William James signed all of his advice columns simply, “Dr. Bill.”

An interesting aspect of James’s advice column is that when he was particularly busy, he asked friends such as Josiah Royce and George Santayana to write “Dr. Bill’s” responses.

Of course they were delighted.