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Stanford Oral History Collections

Trimpi, Helen A. Pinkerton.
Trimpi, Helen A. Pinkerton.
Trimpi, Helen A. Pinkerton and Humburg, Judee
Corporate Author:
Stanford Historical Society
In this oral history, the writer Helen Pinkerton Trimpi recounts the path that led her to study English and poetry at Stanford University in the late 1940s and describes her experiences as a student of Ivor Winters and a lecturer in the Stanford Department of English. She reads her poem Autumn Drought (1976), which she wrote about Stanford and Winters. Trimpi begins with an account of her childhood in Butte, Montana and Mount Vernon, Washington. She recounts how Ray Cowell, her high school teacher and a Stanford alum, sparked her interest in journalism and encouraged her to apply to Stanford. Trimpi describes how her interest in English and creative writing, especially poetry, evolved at Stanford as she studied with the poets Ivor Winters and J. V. Cunningham. She describes being a student in Winters’ classes and speaks about the early days of the Stanford Creative Writing Program, which was founded by Wallace Stegner. Trimpi also describes student life at Stanford during the post-WWII period, including her experience writing columns for both the Stanford Daily and the Palo Alto Times while an undergraduate. Trimpi talks about meeting fellow Stanford student, Wesley Trimpi, whom she married in 1950. She recounts details of their travels in Europe, attending graduate school at Harvard, and their return to Stanford when Wesley joined the faculty of the Stanford English Department. Trimpi describes the culture of the department and talks about being a faculty wife and a lecturer in the English Department from 1962 to 1975. She discusses her opinion of curricular changes at Stanford and the women’s movement of the 1970s.
Stanford Historical Society, oral histories, interviews, higher education, professors, pioneering women, Autumn Drought, by Helen Trimpi, 1976, Bailey, Margery, 1893-1963, Cunningham, James Vincent, 1911-1985, oral histories, Stanford University--Department of English, Stanford University--Creative Writing Program, Trimpi, Helen P., 1927-, Trimpi, Wesley, 1928-2014, Winters, Arthur Yvor, 1900-1968, and women college teachers
March 17, 2016
Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program interviews, 1999-2012