Mrs. Shurfranz, a native of Iowa, was an excellent teacher, one of my favorites, and she taught the course in a factual and non-ideological way. We were not subjected to stories about the noble South or the "Lost Cause." We did not have to refer to the Civil War as "the War Between the States" or lament the mistreatment of the South by the repressive victors.
The year that I took Mrs. Schurfranz's course, she announced that she would not be returning to teach at Hillcrest. She was having some success in writing historical fiction, and she wanted to devote more time to it.
In the Summer, 1965, I took my first course at the University of Arkansas, Introduction to Western Civilization, and Mrs. Schurfranz taught that course as an adjunct. At the time, she was working on her history MA degree, which she received in 1967. Soon after getting her degree she moved from Arkansas to Illinois.
Recalling Mrs. Schurfranz and her quest to be a writer, I was curious if she had been successful. A search of the internet shows that she was. From 1975 to 1998, she had at least 19 of her books published, plus over 50 of her stories had been published in magazines. Her books, reflecting her interest in history and her training as an educator, were written mostly for pre-teens to early teens. About half of her books were historical fiction and half were historical romances.
Probably her best reviewed books were her first, Roman Hostage (published by Follett Pub. Co.), and her last, A Message for General Washington (published by Silver Moon Press) . Both books remain in libraries and on reading lists for pre-teens.
I was very pleased to learn, belatedly, about Mrs. Schurfranz's success as an author. I hope that she still enjoys reading and writing, and that she knows that many of her former students still remember her with fondness and respect.
[A longer version of this blog entry, plus one of Mrs. Schurfranz's early short stories can be found at this link: