Wallace, Edward Seccomb (1897–1964)

By: Ben E. Pingenot

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: August 1, 1995

Edward Seccomb Wallace, historian, was born in Ansonia, Connecticut, on June 15, 1897, the son of Frederic William and Grace Mary (Seccomb) Wallace. He graduated from Phillips-Andover Academy at Andover, Massachusetts, and Evans School in Mesa, Arizona, and received a B.A. from Yale, an M.A. from Harvard, and a Ph.D. from Boston University. His studies at Yale were interrupted by World War I, when he entered the service at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on April 11, 1917. In September he transferred to aviation and was sent to Love Field, Texas, for flight training. He received his commission there on March 22, 1918, and continued with advanced training at Ellington Field, Texas. During World War II Wallace served with the United States Army Air Force from February 1942 until October 1944 in the North Africa and Sicily campaigns. Following the war he lived for a time in San Antonio, where he served as military historian (civilian status) for the United States Air Force. Wallace taught at South Kent School, South Kent, Connecticut; Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts; Suffolk University, Boston; and Pan American College, Edinburg, Texas (now the University of Texas-Pan American). His special interest was military history in the American West, especially the Mexican War. He traveled widely in Texas and northern Mexico in connection with his scholarly pursuits and was very critical of works by academic armchair historians. He wrote four books of narrative history: General William Jenkins Worth, Monterey's Forgotten Hero (1953); The Story of the U.S. Cavalry, 1775–1942 (1954), which he coauthored with Maj. Gen. John K. Herr; The Great Reconnaissance: Soldiers, Artists and Scientists on the Frontier, 1848–1861 (1955); and Destiny and Glory (1957). The Great Reconnaissance is considered an outstanding book on the exploration of the West following the Mexican War. It was selected by Lawrence Clark Powell in his bibliography, A Southwestern Century, as one of the 100 best books written about the American Southwest. Wallace was a member of the Texas State Historical Association and a contributor to the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, American Heritage, and various Western journals. After 1956 Wallace and his wife, Betty Alden Wallace, spent several winters in Eagle Pass, Texas. He died at his home in Millington Green, East Haddam, Connecticut, on November 13, 1964.

Southwestern Historical Quarterly (Contributors, October 1950, January 1953). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Ben E. Pingenot, “Wallace, Edward Seccomb,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/wallace-edward-seccomb.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995