Diana Rubin Trilling was a daughter of Eastern European Jewish parents.
Diana Rubin Trilling was born on July 21, 1905 in New York City, New York, United States. The youngest of three children of Eastern European Jewish parents, Trilling was raised in a prosperous, not religiously observant, Americanized household.
Her father, Joseph Rubin, a hard-driving, no-nonsense striver, had fled from Russian Poland to avoid conscription; he began his business life selling macaroons and soon did well in the braid business. But when elaborate hats went out of fashion during World War I, he turned to manufacturing of silk stockings, an enterprise that made the family comfortable enough to live in Larchmont, an upscale suburb of New York City where many middle-class Jews lived.
Trilling’s mother, Sadie Helene Forbert, was an energetic housekeeper and gardener.
In the late 1910s, Diana, her parents and her siblings, Cecilia and Samuel, moved to Brooklyn, New York.