How did this Knox College grad become ‘one of the most civilized and authentic Americans in Paris?’

Bill Engelbrecht of Peoria is co-author of the new biography, “The American Banker in Paris: The Remarkable True Story of Little Known Nelson Dean Jay.”

Just who was Mr. Jay?

Nelson Dean Jay was raised in nearby Elmwood and graduated from Knox College in Galesburg. He started out selling pots and pans door-to-door and would go on to become one of the influential figures in World War I, Paris in the 1920s, the Great Depression, World War II and the Cold War.

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.”

Engelbrecht joined Tyler Gumm and Jay Redfern on Galesburg’s Morning News to talk about his new book.

Bill Engelbrecht of Peoria is co-author of the new biography, “The American Banker in Paris: The Remarkable True Story of Little Known Nelson Dean

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