Wallace, Lucy Hopson (1901–1987)

By: Minnie Gilbert

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1996

Lucy Hopson Wallace, photojournalist, author, and civic leader, was born on June 15, 1901, in Riesel, Texas, the sixth of eleven children born to May Belle (Patterson) and James Henry Hopson. She graduated from Hubbard High School at age fifteen, attended normal school, and taught for four years at schools including New Hope and the JA Ranch in Palo Duro Canyon. In 1922 she married Richard Foster Wallace; they had two children. The family moved from Houston to Mission in 1936. Her first newspaper job was as a "stringer" for the Valley Morning Star. She wrote her first reports in longhand. After her first husband's death in 1940, she acquired professional skills in photography, edited the weekly Mission Times, and accepted assignments from the three valley dailies. In 1964 she married Charles F. McClelland; he died in 1979. Wallace researched and wrote Real de Catorce, Mexico: The Incredible City (1965), which won the Texas Women's Press Association award and the National Women's Press Association 1979 award for the best book written and published by a member. To celebrate the third edition of the book in 1984, a special tour was arranged in her honor to the Spanish colonial city of Real Catorce, high in the mountains of Mexico above Matehuala. A medallion of locally mined silver, designed and struck for her, was formally presented to Wallace in appreciation for her share in sparking a regional tourist industry. During 1941–42 Wallace was instrumental in the organization of Valley By-Liners. Among the group's activities was the writing and publication of three regional books: Gift of the Rio (1975), a comprehensive study of the history and growth of the lower Rio Grande valley; Roots by the River (1978), winner of the Texas Historical Commission's award in 1979; and Rio Grande Round-Up (1980). In 1989 Valley By-Liners established the Lucy Wallace Journalism Scholarship at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg. Wallace was a charter member of the Hidalgo County Historical Commission and a member of the Hidalgo County Historical Society. She was also president of the Texas Woman's Press. She researched and wrote texts for many of the historical markers in Hidalgo County and authored the history featured with the sesquicentennial map of Hidalgo County. With Margaret McAllen of the McAllen Ranch she had an active role in launching the Hidalgo County Museum in Edinburg. She contributed considerable memorabilia and effort to Hidalgo Archives Alert, a project aimed at collecting early photographs and other records for preservation and research. Wallace died on April 14, 1987, after a prolonged illness. She had been a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Mission for fifty years.

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Florence Ward Barton and Dorothy Abbott McCoy, "Lucy H. Wallace," in One Hundred Women of the Rio Grande Valley, ed. the Rio Writers (Austin: Eakin Press, 1983). Jean and Robert McElroy, Lucy N. Wallace: The Incredible Lady (Mission, Texas, 1987).
  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Women
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Historians

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

Minnie Gilbert, “Wallace, Lucy Hopson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/wallace-lucy-hopson.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1996

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