Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Alan J. Dixon  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1927 in Belleville, Illinois

Died: July 13, 2014 in Fairview Heights, Illinois

-- Alan J. Dixon on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Dixon was born and lived most of his life in Belleville, Illinois. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois. At the time of his death, he resided in Fairview Heights, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Known as ''Al the Pal'' for his accommodating style, Alan J. Dixon, built a reputation over a decades-long political career that began when he ran for police magistrate in Belleville at age 21 and continued even after his departure from the Senate in 1993.After becoming police magistrate, Dixon was was elected to various Illinois state offices including: Illinois House of Representatives from 1951 to 1963, Illinois State Senate from 1963 to 1971, Illinois State Treasurer from 1971 to 1977 and Illinois Secretary of State from 1977 to 1981. He served as United States Senator from Illinois from 1981 until 1993.After Dixon finished out his second Senate term, he returned to Illinois, and became a partner in the law firm of Bryan Cave in St. Louis, Missouri. In July of 2013, he was appointed to the Advisory Committee of the Illinois Center for the Book by Secretary of State and State Librarian, Jesse White. Dixon passed on July 13, 2014 at his home in Fairview Heights, Illinois. He will always be remembered as ''The Gentleman from Illinois.''

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Gentleman from Illinois: Stories from Forty Years of Elective Public Service
ISBN: 0809332604

Southern Illinois University Press. 2013

In 1993, Alan J. Dixon’s political career came to an end with a defeat—the first one in his forty-three years of elected service. Beginning his legislative career in 1950 as a Democrat in the Illinois House of Representatives, Dixon also served in the Illinois State Senate, worked as state treasurer and secretary of state, and concluded his political career as a U.S. senator. The Gentleman from Illinois is an insider’s account of Illinois politics in the second half of the twentieth century, providing readers with fascinating stories about the people he encountered and events he participated in and witnessed during his four decades of service.
With a degree of candor often unheard of in political memoirs, The Gentleman from Illinois reveals Dixon’s abilities as a storyteller. At times chatty and self-effacing, Dixon pulls no punches when it comes to detailing the personalities of major political figures—such as Mayor Richard J. Daley, Adlai Stevenson, Paul Simon, and presidents of the United States. Indeed, he uses this same honest approach when examining himself, fully describing the setbacks and embarrassing moments that peppered his own life.
As a moderate Democrat who regularly crossed party lines in his voting and his views, Dixon also shares his thoughts on the proper way to run a government, the difficulties of passing legislation, the balancing act required to be a statewide official, and other valuable observations on local, state, and national politics. Full of behind-the-scenes insights presented in 121 short vignettes, The Gentleman from Illinois entertains as much as it informs, making it a necessary book for everyone interested in Illinois politics.