William J. Nagel was born on September 11, 1873. He took some classes at the University of Detroit, Detroit College, and Detroit Business University. In 1890 Nagel became a clerk at the Dime Savings Bank. He then worked as a Deputy Tax Collector for Detroit, a private auditor, and as a bookkeeper for the City Treasurer.
Nagel became Deputy City Controller in 1909, and ran, unsuccessfully, for the position of County Auditor. He served as Postmaster of Detroit, 1913-1923, City Controller, 1923-1933, and as Managing Director of the Michigan State Liquor Control Commission, 1933-1934.
During World War I, he attended training at Fort Sheridan and was commissioned as a Captain. He was relieved from military service on Aug. 16, 1917 to continue working as a member of the Relief Committee, Home Services Section of the Detroit Red Cross.
Nagel was a member of Detroit Yacht Club, and he boxed and golfed for fun. He was also active in the Democratic Party.
His uncle, Joe Nagel, served on the Detroit Common Council and Water Commission. (This information is from the collection.)