In 2004 Rebecca Weiss published her autobiography "Journeys in Darkness
As a child, Rebecca made many journeys with her flamboyant and
unconventional parents. Her father was author Peter Weiss whose plays,
like "Marat/Sade", are still performed all over the world; and her
mother, Helga Henschen, was a renowned artist. Rebecca writes about
these trips, and about her educational journeys in a Rudof Steiner
school, in A.S. Neill's Summerhill, and in a kibbutz in Israel. As an
adult she kept traveling, visiting Jewish dissidents in the old Soviet
Union, Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, and religious leaders in Europe
and America. But most of all this is about Rebecca's road towards
self-discovery, a spiritual journey spanning several decades.
The book has 32 pages of photos, many of them in color, of family
members, friends, and artwork. Some of the photos have never before been
published or seen. The Swedish language edition of the book, "Resor i
mörker och ljus" is sold at Hedengrens book store in Stockholm. The
English edition is sold on Amazon.com, or through this web site for
$14.95 plus $4.95 S&H in the US.
Contact: rebecca8 at tampabay (dot) rr (dot) com
Reviews on the book appeared in Broderskap newspaper, Sweden, 5
march 2004, Arbetarbladet newspaper, Finland, 12 August 2004,
Dalademokraten newspaper, Sweden 13 Aug 2004. Review and
excerpts also in "Latest" magazine, California, issues 147 and
148, 2005 and in the Comm Line magazine April 18, 2006.
"A Florida Pioneer - the adventurous life of Josef Henschen, Swedish
Immigrant in the 1870s" was published in October 2006. It has 170 pages
and about 30 black/white photos and illustrations. It can be purchased
from www.Lulu.com, www.Amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble book stores, for
See also: Belleair Area Newsletter June 2012, Clearwater Beach Newsletter
July 2012, St Petersburg Downtown Newsletter July 2012.
In 1871, when Josef Henschen was a young medical student in
Upsala, Sweden, he was asked to recruit and bring over a large
group of Swedish laborers to Florida. Josef decided to take a
break in his studies, act as a guide for the Swedes, and see a
bit of the world.
The group he brought went to work at Henry S. Sanford's
plantations in Seminole County. There the Swedes founded the New
Upsala settlement, and many Swedish descendants in central
Florida have their roots in this colony.
Josef never went back to his studies in Sweden. He fell in love
with Florida and stayed there for nearly sixty years, until his
death in 1930. He became one of the four financiers of the
Orange Belt Railroad, and he gave the city of St. Petersburg its
name. This book contains many of Josef's letters and paints a
fascinating picture of Florida pioneer life.
"An extraordinary document...a historic treasure."
-- Gary Mormino, professor of history at the University of South Florida
"This is a remarkable book about an important group of settlers. Rebecca
Weiss has done a wonderful job in telling their story. The letters and
illustrations make their experiences very real and the family tree is a
welcome reference. We are very pleased to add it to our collection."
-- Orange County Regional History Center
"A Florida Pioneer" has been featured in several newspapers and
magazines in Sweden and America. To see an interview with Rebecca Weiss
from February 7, 2007, in St Petersburg Times (the Clearwater Times
section), CLICK HERE.
To see an interview and book review in a Swedish newspaper, CLICK HERE.
Rebecca Weiss is a great-granddaughter of Josef's brother
Salomon Henschen, who was a professor of medicine in Stockholm,
and a member of the Nobel Prize Medical Committee.