DR. FLORENCE BYHAM WEINBERG'S BIOGRAPHY
Florence May Byham was born December 3, 1933 in Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA. Her father, a civil engineer and her mother, an elementary school teacher, lost their employment during the Great Depression. Florence came to consciousness on a ranch in the Tularosa Valley, where she first rode a horse in her father’s saddle as he led the animal. He also rode with her in the saddle at a trot and canter, and she learned to love horses and riding.
Next, she experienced life in a mining camp when her father was hired for a brief time as a mining engineer in a copper mine near Miami, Arizona. Afterward, both parents taught school for 4 years in an isolated ranching community called Cienega, New Mexico.
Florence loved exploring the wilderness on foot and horseback. She reveled in the hidden pockets of unexpected greenery tucked away near springs in folds of barren mountainsides. These images spoke to her of gentleness and beauty in an otherwise harsh world and helped form her sensibility.
Florence published her first poem in a children's magazine shortly after she learned to read at age four and wrote and illustrated her first 'novel' at age six, entitled "Ywain, King of All Cats."
When World War II broke out, her father volunteered to serve in the United States Army. She and her mother followed him from one army installation to another until he was sent abroad. She was eleven when he returned wounded from the Normandy Invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. He died ten years later, in 1956, from his wounds.
Florence attended high school from 1946-50 in Viola, Arkansas, and became a star basketball player. She then began studies for the Bachelor of Arts degree at Park College near Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated magna cum laude in 1954 with a specialization in French and Spanish language and literature.
She then attended the University of Iowa and studied philosophy during the academic year 1954-55, and in 1955, she married the distinguished professor and author Dr. Kurt Weinberg of Yale University.
The couple spent the following seven years in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where Florence worked as a librarian and completed a Master of Arts degree in Spanish Language, History and Literature. They spent the year 1960-61 in Europe while Kurt, a Guggenheim Fellow, completed a book on Franz Kafka and Florence wrote her thesis for her Master of Arts on Miguel de Unamuno.
In 1962, Florence and Kurt moved to Rochester, New York, where Kurt worked as a professor at the University of Rochester, and Florence completed her PhD in French language and literature in 1968. There, Florence taught courses in Spanish History and Literature for four years, and then was hired by St. John Fisher College as a professor of French and Spanish. She became a full professor in 1971, serving as Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Classical Studies from 1972 to 1979, and as Director of International Studies from 1983 to 1986.
In 1989, she and Kurt moved to Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where Florence served as Chair of the Department of Modern Languages from 1989 to 1995. Sadly, Kurt died of Parkinson’s disease in 1996. Florence retired several years later in May 1999. During her years of teaching, Florence wrote four scholarly books and published many articles in journals on French and Spanish Renaissance subjects.
After retiring in 1999, she was freed from academia to devote herself to writing fiction. She produced 11 historical novels, ranging from fantasy to historical romance and mystery. Nine are in print and two others will be published in the future.
Florence’s books have earned her nine literary awards, including as a finalist for the International Eric Hoffer Award and two finalist awards for the national Indy Next Generation Book Award in Historical Fiction.
Her avocations are reading, good conversation, gourmet cooking, swimming, hiking, horseback riding and gardening.