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Cleo Wallace Papers

Identifier: M073


Cleo Spurlock Wallace (1914-1985), was born and raised in Colorado. She was a teacher who founded the Wallace Village for Children, a school for children with brain injuries. She received her Master's Degree in speech pathology from the University of Denver, Denver, Colo. in 1943. She provided therapy service to children from her home. She started the Wallace School in 1948 with the assistance of businessman Henry Winter. In 1960, the Wallace School was renamed the Wallace Village for Children.

As the founder and executive director of The Wallace Village for Children until her retirement in 1974, Wallace provided innovative treatment and rehabilitation to children with brain injuries and other disabilities.


  • 1947-1985


Digital Repository

Cleo Wallace Papers

Language of Materials

The materials are predominately in English.

Biographical / Historical

Cleo Spurlock Wallace, the founder and longtime director of Wallace Village for Children, was born in Garo, Colorado, on July 29, 1914. She was a distinguished teacher and humanitarian, who dreamed of developing a unique school for children with brain injuries.

She attended primary and secondary schools in Longmont and Salida, Colorado and graduated as salutatorian from Manitou Springs High School in Manitou Springs, Colorado in 1933. In the fall of that year, she entered the University of Denver as one of the first six recipients of full four-year tuition alumni scholarships. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1937. That same year, she married Thomas Wallace, an investment banker.

In 1942, Wallace received a Rockefeller Foundation Teaching Fellowship and returned to the University of Denver, where she received her master's degree in speech pathology in 1943. In December 1943, while teaching at Wheat Ridge High School, a Denver physician asked Wallace if she would provide private speech therapy to one of his young patients after school. By June, she had three children with whom she was working in the basement of her home. ''That first child back in 1943 actually started Wallace Village,'' she later stated.

With the assistance of local businessman Henry Winter, the Wallace School for Speech Therapy was incorporated as a non-profit organization at 4414 Logan Street on June 1, 1948. Wallace moved in with five teachers and thirty students. That same year, Wallace's husband died, and Wallace dedicated the rest of her life to the school.

In 1954, Wallace was able to purchase eighty-four acres of land near Broomfield, Colorado for her school. Construction of a new school began and the entire program moved to its new location by 1960. That same year, the Board of Trustees renamed the school The Wallace Village for Children.

Wallace received numerous awards and honors during her lifetime for her work with children with disabilities, including the Evans Award from the University of Denver Alumni Association and the First Citizen Award from Regis College. She also received an appointment to the White House Conference on Services for Handicapped Children in 1950 and a presidential appointment to the National Advisory Neurological Diseases and Stroke Council in 1972.

Wallace remained Executive Director of Wallace Village until her retirement in 1974. She later moved to Sun City, Arizona, but she continued her relationship with Wallace Village as a consultant until her death on August 26, 1985. She was seventy-one years old.


4.5 Linear Feet (3 record boxes, 1 flat box)

Scope and Contents

The Cleo Wallace Papers consist of materials related to Wallace's personal life, as well as her professional career as founder and Executive Director of Wallace Village. The collection traces the history of Wallace Village, including the role of Wallace in its creation, development and growth through the years. The collection spans 1947-1985 and ultimately speaks to one woman’s history and vision to create a school that met the unique educational needs of children with brain injuries. Included in the collection are Wallace’s academic records and diplomas, awards and honors, correspondence, photographs, memorials, newspaper clippings, and other private papers. The collection also contains handmade tactile boards used in speech therapy. In addition, the collection contains some of Wallace's subject files related to her work as Executive Director of Wallace Village. The Wallace Village records include administrative, development, history, technique manuals, speeches, staff training manuals and school self-study evaluations. Also included are materials related to Henry A. Winters, an early benefactor of the Wallace School.


The collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Personal Papers
  2. Wallace Village Subject Files
  3. Oversized Materials

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source unknown.


No further accruals are expected.


There is no PastPerfect accession record for this collection.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428