Florence Alston-Swift was born in San Francisco, CA. Swift began her studies as an artist at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute, (later the San Francisco Art Institute) in San Francisco before moving to the East Coast to continue her studies at the Arts Students League in New York City, the Pennsylvania Academy of Arts in Philadelphia, and the Hans Hofmann School of Art back in New York. Florence exhibited her work at various venues in New York and Philadelphia in the early part of the 20th century and was a member of the influential group American Abstract Artist. During the 1930s she worked for the Federal Art Project. Florence returned to the San Francisco Bay Area where she stayed for the remainder of her life.