Lila Acheson Wallace

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Lila Bell Wallace (December 25, 1889 – May 8, 1984) was an American magazine publisher and philanthropist.

Wallace co-founded Reader's Digest with her husband Dewitt Wallace, publishing the first issue in 1922.

Early life and education[edit]

Born as Lila Bell Acheson in Virden, Manitoba, Canada, her father was a Presbyterian minister who brought his family to the USA when she was a child, and she grew up in the Midwest.

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.[1]

Marriage and career[edit]

In 1921, she married DeWitt Wallace. The couple co-founded the Reader's Digest magazine. 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.

Legacy and honors[edit]

The Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Writers Award was given in her memory from 1990 to 2000.[2]

On January 28, 1972, she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon.[3] In 1992, she was posthumously awarded the National Medal of Arts.[4]


She died from heart failure, age 94, in Mount Kisco, New York.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 7, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2007.. Wallace Foundation.
  2. ^ "Lila Wallace Readers Digest Writers Awards". Wallace Foundation. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  3. ^ The American Presidency Project
  4. ^ [dead link] "Lifetime Honors – National Medal of Arts" Archived August 26, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.. National Endowment for the Arts.
  5. ^ Staff (May 9, 1984). "Lila Wallace, Who Bestowed Reader's Digest Wealth, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved August 19, 2015.