Author of Dearest Anna
and Poems for Ordinary People
"Love letters reveal an old family secret .... Carol Allis inherited the mysterious wire-rimmed glasses years ago. They now bring into focus a forgotten schoolteacher who died too young in 1898 ... the woman Allis's grandfather had fallen deeply for ... before her grandmother .... Roy wrote to Anna: "'Some way everything I see that seems beautiful to me, I connect with you now.'"
- Curt Brown, (Minneapolis) Star Tribune Minnesota History columnist
“I’ve fallen in love with a couple of kids – so smart, so young, so serious, so fun-loving, so in love with each other. I wanted to meet them to see if they were as real as they are in the letters. Allis has done us a great favor, bringing to life these two extraordinary young people. When I saw the photo of Roy and the teen-aged author, I imagined he somehow divined that she would one day bring these letters out of the past. Read them in wonder – you’ll be glad you did.”
- Monette J., professional communicator
“Definitely a winner – wonderful – one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. So reader-friendly, and I love the way the author weaves in historical events, making the reading experience even richer. I plan to sing praises of ‘Anna’ to my book group!”
- Marijean Z., educator
“What a marvelous experience this book is! Allis tells a riveting story, but also captures the social history of everyday life in the 1890s. She has compiled these letters into a haunting and tragic love story – few readers will escape tears at the ending.”
- Jerome F., historian:
"Granddaughter publishes grandfather's 19th-century love letters .... Roy would live to age 92 -- a fascinating, philosopher figure in his own right. The story of their affair would be whispered through generations ... but it remained secret until the letters were brought out of storage."
- Matthew Stolle, reporter for the (Rochester, Minnesota) Post Bulletin
Photo by Michaela Paige Photography
Carol Allis has been writing since her father gave her a manual Underwood typewriter when she was 7. Born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota, she graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, with a degree in English education, and has spent her entire professional working life in public service. She first taught junior and senior high English and English as a Foreign Language to Hispanic students. She served as a committee clerk and committee administrator for the Minnesota House of Representatives; media relations specialist for Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis; communications director for the Minneapolis Community Development Agency; a brief midlife adventure as long-distance education coordinator for Cook County along the North Shore of Lake Superior; public information officer for the Health Care Division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services; and news writer/media relations, outreach and crisis communications specialist for Hennepin County Public Affairs. She specialized in paring down governmentalize into words ordinary people could understand.
Her greatest accomplishment has been raising two precious sons and shepherding amazing grandchildren. Her first book – Poems for Ordinary People – was published in 2012 just before she retired. Allis lives near beloved family in Minnetonka, Minnesota, with husband Peter (a retired history professor) and an unbelievably old cat (who knows all her secrets).
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NEWS & EVENTS
Love letters reveal Minnesota family's old secret
Those letters surfaced in 1975. But the breakthrough that put a face with those words didn't come until 2017.
By Curt Brown Special to the Star Tribune
January 11, 2020 — 11:46pm
February 12th, 2022
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Rochester Repertory Theatre
Dearest Anna is back for the third year in a row and we are mixing it up this year! Come hear the very beginning of Anna and Roy's courtship. How did the young couple deal with a long-distance relationship? How did they respond when tragedy struck at home. This brand new script will reveal even more about the love and life of these two young people from Oronoco. We are also delighted to be hosting this event in person at the Rochester Repertory Theatre (103 7th St NE, Rochester, MN 55906), where we will have Anna and Roy once again doing a reading of their hidden love letters.