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Willliam D. Engelbrecht

Connection to Illinois: Engelbrecht resides in Peoria.

Biography: William D. "Bill" Engelbrecht discovered his love of writing as a sophomore in college when he won the William Randolph Hearst Award for writing at the University of Illinois. Upon completing his Masters's Degree he spent the next twenty-six years in the creative, imaginative world of the Leo Burnett Company, eventually serving as an Executive Vice President. Along the way, he started a newspaper, magazine and radio station. He served on the faculty of Bradley University and became one of its Vice Presidents. His advocacy for education eventually led him to be named the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.


Primary Literary Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

The American Banker in Paris: The Remarkable True Story of Little Known Nelson Dean Jay

Dorrance Publishing Co. 2023

The life of Nelson Dean Jay is an opus sized adventure of the unknown banker who lived in Paris and influenced the powerful people of Europe as well as world events. During the Roaring Twenties in Paris, he was a friend of Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel, and Gertrude Stein. Jay was described in the New York Times as "one of the most civilized and authentic Americans in Paris." The German Gestapo busted into his office to close down his bank. He was the only American bank to remain open in occupied Paris during the war. DEAN JAY, NOT J.P. MORGAN, WILL ACT ON GERMAN REPARATIONS. New York Times January 15, 1929. Jay was a member of the welcoming party for Charles Lindbergh when he made the first transatlantic flight-New York to Paris. Later he criticized Lindbergh to his face, suggesting that he consider his views carefully. Was Dean Jay a spy? Probably not, but everyone sought his advice. From presidents to popes to dictators. He was an informant who provided information to those who needed and used it. He met his wife, Anne, on a blind date and that night he told her "I'm going to marry you." And he did. The marriage lasted sixty years. Jay helped provide the money for the work of his friend, Nobel Prize winner Madame Marie Curie, who laid the foundation for modern oncology. Dean and Anne Jay were people of substance and seriousness of purpose. You knew they were people to be heard and heeded. Both stood very erect with an unassuming, easy dignity of bearing. They were well above the average height and would have been described as "tall." Both had what we might then have called "fine figures" with reasonably broad shoulders and trim waists. Add for her a full bust.