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Who is Judith Martin?

J. Beam
J. Beam

Judith Martin is the American journalist and author best known as Miss Manners. Since 1978, Judith Martin has been penning advice columns on proper etiquette, how to handle delicate situations, and how to exude civilized behavior. Her columns are often witty and insightful, and they have been syndicated in over 200 newspapers worldwide.

Judith Martin was born Judith Sylvia Perlman on 13 September 1938. She was born in the Washington D.C. area, where she has spent most of her life and still lives today. Her father was a United Nations economist, and so she traveled extensively as a child. In her early journalistic career, Martin covered social events at the White House for The Washington Post and was also a critic for film and theatre.

Judith Martin began her career by covering social events at the White House.
Judith Martin began her career by covering social events at the White House.

Judith Martin created the Miss Manners column in 1978, and it quickly garnered a following. Readers send Judith Martin, a.k.a. Miss Manners, their party and social function questions along with more complex questions from day-to-day life. As Miss Manners, Judith Martin has penned advice on child-rearing, relationships, love and marriage, work, and family.

In addition to her Miss Manners column, which is distributed three times each week by United Features Syndicate, Judith Martin has written 11 Miss Manners books, along with two novels. In 2005, Judith Martin received a National Humanities Medal, presented by President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. In March of 2006, she appeared on The Colbert Report, a Comedy Central program that critiques politics and the media, as a “special correspondent” commenting on the manners of the White House Press Corps in addressing the President. Some Judith Martin's best-selling books include Miss Manner’s Guide to Excruciatingly Good Behavior, three books in a series of Miss Manner’s Basic Training, and her most recent book to date, Star Spangled Manners (2002).

Discussion Comments


@Pippinwhite -- Yes, she's still writing columns, but not every day. I think they're twice a week, now. Well, she is getting a little older, so I assume she cut back on her production schedule.

I like her columns, too. When people advocate for good manners, everything around them is more pleasant.

I hope she has a replacement when she decides to retire. Someone needs to carry the torch for "acting right." There's far too little of it around.


I loved Miss Manners' columns! She always had something interesting to say about manners, etiquette, good behavior, etc. She is a delightful writer and her column was always one of the first things I'd read in the paper.

I always appreciated her very forthright comments about bad behavior. She always felt there were standards of good behavior, and mature adults adhered to these. I don't know if she's still writing the column, but I have always enjoyed it.

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    • Judith Martin began her career by covering social events at the White House.
      By: sborisov
      Judith Martin began her career by covering social events at the White House.