Both Career and Love is a piece of American women's history. It is also a love story. Anne graduated from Kent State University in 1959, before the Women's Movement emerged. Women married around age 20, on average, and started families soon after. Anne wanted meaningful work in addition to raising a family, specifically a career teaching sociology in college. She also envisioned a marriage in which she and her husband could both engage in interesting work and fully share family life. Her two dreams, becoming a college teacher and developing an equal partnership marriage, were unusual for the time. Her efforts to achieve them give the book two interwoven story lines.
When Anne starts graduate school at Northwestern University she discovers she is almost the only woman in the program. She doesn't see herself anywhere. The professors are all male. Everything she reads is written by men. Students study 'mankind.' It is only years later, as Anne thinks back on her experiences, that she begins to understand the impact of her minority status on the way she then felt about herself and her ability to succeed. The author's occasional retrospective commentary throughout the memoir provides readers with an added dimension for understanding the situations she describes.
In spite of a difficult oral exam on her thesis, Anne finishes her M.A. degree after two years at Northwestern and moves to New York City. There her world opens up. She becomes the second employee of the newly formed Vera Institute of Justice and helps plan and execute its first two historic research projects on bail reform, including Vera's famous Manhattan Bail Project. Anne tries to make a year-long love relationship work, but finally realizes it won't. She attempts to meet new men, tries new activities, and takes a five-week trip on her own to Europe, during which she explores behind the Berlin Wall. She also decides to go back to graduate school at Columbia University. Through everything she keeps searching for the man with whom she can create the partnership marriage she seeks. After several unsatisfactory relationships she decides to see a psychologist. Anne and Barry meet, become friends, and fall in love. Their decision to marry is sudden and raises family religion problems, which the couple work out in an honest and positive way.
After Anne finishes all her Ph.D. work except her dissertation, she and Barry decide to start a family. A baby brings new issues. It's hard to work without childcare and good childcare is hard to find because mothers are expected to stay home and take care of their children. With some bumps along the way, Anne finishes her dissertation and starts looking for her dream job in college teaching. She has all the qualifications, but will she find a position? Most of the ones she aspires to aren't advertised in the usual job markets. Information about them is passed by word of mouth through the 'old boy's network.'
Anne Rankin Mahoney has written and taught extensively on women's studies, family, and partner equality in marriage. She is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Denver and lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband Barry.