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William Roy DeWitt Wallace; November 12, 1889 - March 30, 1981), publishing as DeWitt Wallace, was an American magazine publisher.
Room 108 of the New York Public Library, now known as the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room, services current unbound issues of 68 popular periodical titles and 22 domestic and foreign newspapers. In the 1920s DeWitt Wallace spent countless hours in this room, reading and condensing articles from the Library's collection. In 1983, the room's restoration was made possible by a gift from the Wallace Fund, established by DeWitt Wallace.
During World War I, Wallace enlisted in the U.S. Army and was wounded. He spent four months in a French hospital recovering from his injuries, passing the time by reading American magazines.
Returning to the U.S., Wallace spent every day of the next six months at the Minneapolis Public Library researching and condensing magazine articles. He wanted to create a magazine with articles on a wide variety of subjects, abridged so that each could be easily read. Wallace showed his sample magazine to Lila Bell Acheson, sister of an old college friend, who responded enthusiastically. He proposed to her and on October 15, 1921, they were married.
The Wallaces decided to publish the magazine themselves and market it by direct mail. The first issue appeared on February 5, 1922. Reader's Digest soon became one of the most widely circulated periodicals in the world. Wallace was a supporter of the Republican Party with strong anti-communist views, and the magazine reflected these beliefs. Wallace and his wife were strong supporters of Richard Nixon's presidential bid in 1968, giving Nixon cash donations and allowing Nixon to write articles for the Digest.
^"Three other publishers also enlisted in the anti-Communist ranks: Henry Luce (Time, Life), Robert McCormick, (Chicago Tribune), and DeWitt Wallace (Reader's Digest)." Larry Ceplair, Anti-Communism in Twentieth-century America: a critical history Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, 2011, ISBN9781440800481 (p. 43).
^"The Digest's editor, DeWitt Wallace, who shared the anti-union, anti-Communist views of Lorimer and his successors, searched for ways to convey those views in positive terms". Anne Loftis, Witnesses To The Struggle: Imaging the 1930s California Labor Movement. Reno, Nevada: University of Nevada Press, 1998. ISBN0874174406 (p. 156)
^John Heidenry, Theirs Was the Kingdom: Lila and DeWitt Wallace and the Story of the Reader's Digest, New York, W.W. Norton, 1993