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The subject matter of the letters in this series reflects both the administrative and ceremonial duties performed by Wallace in his dual role as President and Chancellor.
It was during Wallace's tenure that the daily administration of Victoria and Emmanuel Colleges became the province of their Principals (called Deans between 1944 and 1951), leaving the President responsible for "general oversight with special emphasis on finance and relations with the Church and the public." [Sissons, 307] The financial difficulties engendered by the depression are manifestly evident in the correspondence--in terms of both long-range planning and the daily running of the University. Letters deal with property, salaries, appointments, curriculum, the granting of honorary degrees, scholarships and bursaries, convocations, and other functions of both a social and academic nature, the nature of Victoria's relationship with the United Church, the University of Toronto and other educational and church-related institutions.
Like Bowles' correspondence, Wallace's letters demonstrate a strong personal commitment to the students at Victoria--letters of advice and recommendation are common. Again, the letters provide considerable insight into the spiritual, educational and philosophical views of the President. Because Wallace had spent twenty-three years in missionary and educational work in China before taking on the Presidency, the series contains a great deal of material relating to overseas missions, particularly the West China Union University. Wallace's term was plagued by his ill-health: in 1933 he developed cancer and was forced to take an extended leave; a recurrence of the disease in 1940 led to a second leave and his resignation the following year.
During both these periods, his duties were assumed by the Principal of Victoria College, Walter T. Brown. As a result, some correspondence relating to the President's Office for 1939-1940 is located with the correspondence of the Victoria College Principal, 1932-1941 (Accession No. 1987.067V).