1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hall, James (geologist)

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HALL, JAMES (1811–1898). American geologist and palaeontologist, was born at Hingham, Massachusetts, on the 12th of September 1811. In early life he became attached to the study of natural history, and he completed his education at the polytechnic institute at Troy in New York, where he graduated in 1832, and afterwards became professor of chemistry and natural science, and subsequently of geology. In 1836 he was appointed one of the geologists on the Geological Survey of the state of New York, and he was before long charged with the palaeontological work. Eventually he became state geologist and director of the museum of natural history at Albany. His published papers date from 1836, and include numerous reports on the geology and palaeontology of various portions of the United States and Canada. He dealt likewise with physical geology, and in 1859 discussed the connexion between the accumulation of sedimentary deposits and the elevation of mountain-chains. His chief work was the description of the invertebrate fossils of New York—in which he dealt with the graptolites, brachiopods, mollusca, trilobites, echini and crinoids of the Palaeozoic formations. The results were published in a series of quarto volumes entitled Palaeontology of New York (1847–1894), in which he was assisted in course of time by R. P. Whitfield and J. M. Clarke. He published also reports on the geology of Oregon and California (1845), Utah (1852), Iowa (1859) and Wisconsin (1862). He received the Wollaston medal from the Geological Society of London in 1858. He was a man of great energy and untiring industry, and in 1897, when in his eighty-sixth year, he journeyed to St Petersburg to take part in the International Geological Congress, and then joined the excursion to the Ural mountains. He died at Albany on the 7th of August 1898.

See Life and Work of James Hall, by H. C. Hovey, Amer. Geol. xxiii., 1899, p. 137 (portraits).