Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: William J. Nagel Papers
Creator: Nagel, William J.
Inclusive dates: 1899, 1928, and undated
Extent: .5 cubic foot (in 1 box)
Papers include biographical materials, correspondence, military correspondence, and miscellaneous.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

no Acc#

Access Restrictions:

William J. Nagel Papers are open for research.


Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

William J. Nagel Papers, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement is alphabetical, and then chronological.



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.)

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection includes Biographical Materials, Certificates re: his Postmaster position; Correspondence, 1899-1935, mostly about postal service and politics; State Liquor Control Commission correspondence and related materials, 1933-1934; Military Correspondence, 1915-1916, about his conflicts with work versus military duties; and Miscellaneous, including his typed diaries of a 1914 trip on the (yacht) Virginia.

Subject Terms

    • Nagel, William J.
    • American National Red Cross. Detroit Chapter (Mich.)
    • Michigan. Liquor Control Commission.
    • Liquor laws--Michigan.
    • Postal service--Michigan--Wayne County.
    • Postal service--Michigan--Detroit.
    • Yachting--Michigan--Detroit.
    • Clubs--Michigan--Detroit.
    • Detroit (Mich.)--History.
    • Wayne County (Mich.)--History.
    • Wayne County (Mich.)--Politics and government--20th century.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    William J. Nagel Papers. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Biographical Materials, 1909, 1935
    Box   1 F   2
    American Red Cross, 1917-1919
    Box   1 F   3
    Certificates, 1913-1915
    Box   1 F   4
    Correspondence, 1899-1914
    Box   1 F   5
    Correspondence, 1915-1916
    Box   1 F   6
    Correspondence, 1917-1919
    Box   1 F   7
    Correspondence, 1920-1935
    Box   1 F   8
    Detroit Street Railway, 1922-1923
    Box   1 F   9
    Historical Data on Postal Savings Systems, by William J. Nagel, undated
    Box   1 F   10
    Military correspondence, 1915-1916
    Box   1 F   11
    Miscellaneous, 1907, 1915, undated
    Box   1 F   12
    Newspaper Clippings (copies), 1915, 1933, undated
    Box   1 F   13
    Photographs and Postcards, undated
    Box   1 F   14
    Report of Cost of Living of 72 Post Office Employees, Detroit, Michigan, 1918
    Box   1 F   15
    Yacht, Virginia Diaries, 1914