Paul Livingston Keil was born 7 January 1900 in New York City. John Keil was born in 1869, the son of German immigrants; he made a living as a broker. Nellie Bullock Keil was the daughter of New Yorkers. Paul had two older sisters and brother—two of whom predeceased him—as well as a younger sister and two brothers. He attended Stuyvesant High School, where he became interested in printing. He was just a little too young to be drafted into World War I. In 1920, he was still living at the family home—with everyone except his eldest brother and one older sister—although he was also working. The family was in the Bronx.
In high school, Keil edited the school newspaper, which is how he fell in love with the printing profession. That was his job listing in the 1920 census. He formed his own company, Pauke, which seems to have been a play on his name. (He took Pauke as his pseudonym also.) It was based at 140 East Tremont Street in the Bronx, about 4 miles from where the family home was in 1920. Kiel’s enthusiasm was such that in 1922, he walked to Boston to attend a printing convention.