Allegra Publishing Kicks Off in St. Michaels

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Would you like to go beyond the dusty family album? Allegria Publishing, a new company on the Eastern Shore, can help. Its motto is, “We bring the past to life.” With an array of talents, its founders have experience in writing, editing, research, and videography. They have produced biographies, folios, and personal videos, using family archives. Would you like to self-publish the book you have always dreamed of writing, or produce a Ken Burns type short video of your family history? Allegra Publishing can help.

Carl Widell, who studied history at Princeton, and reality in Vietnam, heads up the firm. He has self-published two books and is putting the final touches on a biography of a prominent attorney on the shore. Due to his military background, Carl understands how to research old military service records. He is assisted by Pamela Heyne Widell who has published three books, including her latest on Julia Child and kitchen design. She also is an experienced videographer.

In researching their own family archive, the Widells produced a short video about Carl’s grandfather, E.D. Johnston, who served with Canadian forces in WWI.

Johnston’s war diary describes experiencing the first mustard gas attack on April 22, 1915. His photo album contains pictures from the trenches, as well as happier occasions. One picture depicts two laughing WWI officers holding a mirror, in which the photographer, Carl’s grandfather, was reflected. Could this be the first selfie?

Carl’s siblings were surprised and delighted with the video, and sent it on to other friends and relations. According to Carl, “Our families are so spread around now, that our oral histories are lost. With so many images flooding the internet, it is particularly meaningful to celebrate original images from our own archives.”

Pamela Heyne Widell, also known as Pamela Heyne, is an architect and continues to practice. However, she likes the “sleuthing” aspect of writing. Years ago she wrote a book on the architectural mirror. In the rare book room at the Library of Congress, she read an old French 17th century account from a visitor to the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. “He was dazzled, and I was fascinated to relive his emotion, hundreds of years later,” Pam says.

Contact information: allegriapublishing.com 23901 Mount Misery Road, Saint Michaels, Md. 21663 410-714-9555

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