Nashville’s Wallace University School was established in 1886 through the leadership of A. G. Adams, J. B. O’Bryan, and R. B. Throne. Desiring to establish a boys’ school that emphasized character and scholarship, these men offered the position of headmaster to Clarence B. Walker, a young teacher at the University School at Charleston, South Carolina. A Hampden-Sydney graduate with a master’s degree from University of Virginia, Wallace served as headmaster until 1941, when he retired at age eighty-two and the school closed.
Wallace School was small and consequently had difficulty competing in athletics with prep school powerhouses such as Battle Ground Academy; Montgomery Bell Academy; Braham and Hughes; and Morgan. Professor Wallace never encouraged athletics, fearing they might interfere with studies. Still, he remained loyal to his boys and was often seen racing up the sidelines during football games.
Each day, Wallace read to the students from a battered old Bible as part of his educational aim to produce men of honesty, integrity, refinement, and culture who valued sound learning and scholarship. Sawney Webb, the headmaster of Webb School, believed Wallace succeeded in his goals. He praised Wallace graduates as the scholarly peers of any other school, with the additional advantage of a set of values and philosophy of life to carry them through college and the business world.