Wallace, Malcolm William

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Wallace, Malcolm William

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Malcolm William Wallace was Principal of University College, 1928-1944, and a Professor in the Department of English.

He was born in May 1873 to Albert D. Wallace, sometime Warden of Essex County, Ontario, and the former Jean Hanna. He attended Windsor Collegiate Institute (later J. C. Patterson Collegiate) and then studied Modern Languages at University College, graduating from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in 1896. He subsequently did graduate work at the University of Chicago, attaining his PhD in 1889. [1]

Wallace’s first academic appointment was at Beloit College in Wisconsin, where he was Root Professor of English and Rhetoric until he returned to University College in 1904 as lecturer in English. From 1906 to 1911 he was the registrar of University College. He was appointed associate professor of English in 1909 and full professor in 1916. In 1926 he succeeded William John Alexander as head of the Department of English in University College and two years later Maurice Hutton as Principal of University College. He retired in 1944, having been asked to stay on for a year after the mandatory retirement age of 70.

During World War I, Professor Wallace served with the University of Toronto Overseas Training Company, rising to the rank of captain and second-in-command from March 1916 until the end of the war. He was discharged on 2 January 1919.

Principal Wallace “believed that the scholar had a duty to society to provide leadership for the public mind” and stood for “earnest and meticulous scholarship” from his students and academics alike. In the post-war years he turned more of his attention to international affairs, particularly the United Nations and the issue of colour prejudice. He was the author of the Life of Sir Philip Sidney and edited the Prose Works of John Milton. He also wrote a study for the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences (the Massey Commission).

A popular speaker, Principal Wallace lectured widely in Canada and the United States, in person and on the air. He served in various educational capacities, serving as president of the Ontario Educational Association and the Canadian Institute for International Affairs. He was a member of the Committee on Farm Radio Broadcasts and the Atlanta Negro University Commission.

In acknowledgment of his work, Principal Wallace was awarded honorary degrees from McMaster University (1930), Queen’s University (1943) and Northwestern University. For his work with the Young Men’s Christian Association, he received a life membership in 1951.

Dr. Wallace died at his home, 91 Walmer Road in Toronto, on 7 April 1960. He was survived by his wife, the former May Pitkin, who died in 1976, and two children, both professors at the University of Toronto: William Pitkin Wallace and Mary Elisabeth Wallace.


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Wallace, Mary Elisabeth (1910-2009)

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Wallace, Mary Elisabeth

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Wallace, Malcolm William

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Biographical history written by H. Averill for Malcolm William Wallace fonds (B2018-0011) finding aid.




[1] A1973-0026/492(83); alumni card, A2003-0005/; UTA people files – "Malcolm William Wallace"

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