English-American hotel journalist, editor, and hospitality education advocate.
John Willy was born February 22, 1859 in Ilminster, England and arrived in Chicago in 1879 without friends or family. Despite his lack of connections, Willy established a successful hotel supply and press company, publishing hotel manuals and textbooks in addition to his popular periodical, The Hotel Monthly. Willy worked his way up to a position of prominence within the hotel world by reporting and then editing for the National Hotel Reporter. He then established his own magazine, The Hotel Quarterly (later Monthly) as a hotel directory for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Willy's modesty and dedication to the hotel industry made him beloved in his later years. Having published hotel textbooks and petitioned for hospitality classes at Michigan State University, MSU honored Willy with a doctorate in 1937. Hundreds of hotel professionals, journalists, students, and friends wrote testimonials of Willy's great service and impact on the industry. Willy married Mary Louise Launder in 1885 and had three children, Louise Azanath Willy (1886-1969), Dorothy Elizabeth Willy (1889-1974), and John Knight Willy (1899-1965). He died unexpectedly on December 22, 1944 after a fall in his home.
From the description of John Willy papers, 1871-1984. (Newberry Library). WorldCat record id: 756403968