Trimberger, E. Kay 1940–

views updated

Trimberger, E. Kay 1940–

(Ellen Kay Trimberger)

PERSONAL: Born 1940. Education: University of Chicago, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES: Home—Berkeley, CA. Office—Women and Gender Studies Department, Sonoma University, Rachel Carson Hall 18, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park, CA 94928. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA, began as faculty member, 1975, became professor emerita of women's and gender studies.

MEMBER: National Women's Studies Association, American Association for Single People (member of academic advisory board), American Sociological Association, Sociologists for Women in Society, Council on Contemporary Families, Unmarried America.

AWARDS, HONORS: National Endowment for the Humanities grant; Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies grant; California State University research grants.


Revolution from Above: Military Bureaucrats and Development in Japan, Turkey, Egypt, and Peru, Transaction Books (New Brunswick, NJ), 1978.

(Editor) Neith Boyce and Hutchins Hapgood, Intimate Warriors: Portraits of a Modern Marriage, 1899–1944, afterword by Shari Benstock, Feminist Press at the City University of New York (New York, NY), 1991.

The New Single Woman, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 2005.

Contributor of articles and reviews to numerous academic journals.

SIDELIGHTS: E. Kay Trimberger is former professor of women's and gender studies who has also published books on these subjects. In The New Single Woman, for example, she addresses issues of how women can, and do, successfully forge their own lives as happy, content, single people. Trimberger's work makes it clear that 'today's women understand the choice of accepting personal independence rather than framing their lives around' a spouse, significant other, or soul mate, commented Suzanne W. Wood in Library Journal. In her book Trimberger presents the results of a long-term, qualitative study of twenty-seven women, ranging in age from thirty to sixty. Many of the women in her study did not make a conscious decision to remain single, but they found that their personal and professional lives made it a better option. One of her respondents, for instance, forged a fulfilling life centered around independence, with friends and social groups derived from work and mutual avocational interests. Another woman left an abusive marriage to further her education and earn advanced degrees, while a third helped her ex-husband raise their children, while she and her former spouse lived in the same house; meanwhile, they both dated other people.

Trimberger also addresses the downside to the single life as faced by her interview subjects. Many of them describe the social attitudes they faced, the sometimes overwhelming pressure to give up being single and couple with a partner. Others relate how they came to terms with issues and situations important to unmarried and unattached people, including single motherhood, sexuality, and creating a sense of family. Trimberger relates that being a happy and successful single person requires conscious effort and continual work, much as with any successful marriage. 'According to Trimberger, happy single women have a home that nurtures, satisfying work, economic security, satisfaction with sexuality, a connection with the next generation, a close network of friends, and a sense of community,' related Jennifer Moeller in the Christian Science Monitor. Moeller further remarked that 'the book does an excellent job of raising the issue of nontraditional families and makes the reader consider the meaning of family.' Trimberger's 'research skills are impressive and her message clear,' observed a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who concluded that the book is a 'great resource for social science professionals.'

Trimberger told CA: 'I decided I wanted to reach a larger public audience outside of academia. To improve my writing I took a class in creative nonfiction writing and joined a small writing group. I hope that The New Single Woman will help change our culture's view of singleness and support women to accept and cherish their single lives.'



Christian Science Monitor, September 27, 2005, Jennifer Moeller, 'Is Living Alone the New Happy Ending? How Twenty-seven Women Achieved Contentment without a Spouse in Sight,' review of The New Single Woman, p. 14.

Library Journal, August 1, 2005, Suzanne W. Wood, review of The New Single Woman, p. 107.

Publishers Weekly, September 6, 1991, review of Intimate Warriors: Portraits of a Modern Marriage, 1899–1944, p. 98; July 25, 2005, review of The New Single Woman, p. 67.


Beacon Press Web site, (March 13, 2006), biography of E. Kay Trimberger., (December 14, 2005), Rachel Safier, 'Living Single,' interview with E. Kay Trimberger.

Unmarried American Web site, (March 13, 2006), biography of E. Kay Trimberger.

About this article

Trimberger, E. Kay 1940–

Updated About content Print Article Share Article