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Lila Acheson Wallace facts for kids

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Lila Bell Wallace (December 25, 1889 – May 8, 1984) was an American magazine publisher and philanthropist. She co-founded Reader's Digest with her husband Dewitt Wallace, publishing the first issue in 1922.

Early life and education

Born Lila Bell Acheson in Virden, Manitoba, Canada, her father was a Presbyterian minister who brought his family to the United States when she was a child, and she grew up in Park River, North Dakota.

In 1917, she graduated from the University of Oregon, located in Eugene, Oregon, taught at schools for two years, and then worked for the Young Women's Christian Association. She also studied at Ward–Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee.


In 1921, she married DeWitt Wallace in Pleasantville, New York. The couple co-founded the Reader's Digest magazine, with the first publication in 1922. For many years, Reader's Digest was the best-selling consumer magazine in the United States.

In her lifetime, she made philanthropic contributions estimated at $60 million. One of her major projects was the establishment of the Metropolitan Opera National Company, the national touring company of the Metropolitan Opera, in 1963. She continued to support the MONC until the Metropolitan Opera decided to disband the organization at the conclusion of the 1966-1967 season.

Death and legacy

She died from heart failure, age 94, in Mount Kisco, New York. The Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Writers Award was given in her memory from 1990 to 2000.

In 1966, Wallace received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement. On January 28, 1972, she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon. In 1992, she was posthumously awarded the National Medal of Arts.

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