Hall, Basil, 1788-1844, British naval officer and traveler. In the service from 1802 to 1823, he commanded vessels on scientific assignments and voyages of exploration. He wrote of them in his Account of a Voyage of Discovery to the West Coast of Corea and the Great Loo-Choo (1818); in Extracts from a Journal Written on the Coasts of Chile, Peru, and Mexico (2 vol., 1823, repr. 1968); and in Fragments of Voyages and Travels (1831-33), in three series, each series in three volumes. After leaving the navy he traveled in the United States, his Travels in North America (3 vol., 1829) forming a valuable description of America.
Hall, Charles Francis, 1821-71, American arctic explorer, b. Rochester, N.H. He became interested in the many search expeditions for Sir John Franklin's party, and with Eskimo companions he explored (1860-62) the southeast corner of Baffin Island, finding traces of Sir Martin Frobisher's party but none of Franklin's. Hall was the first explorer in three centuries to visit Frobisher Strait, which he found to be a huge bay almost bisecting Baffin Island. His Arctic Researches and Life among the Esquimaux (1864, repr. 1970) is a narrative of this journey. On his second arctic expedition (1864-69) he found traces of the fate of Franklin's party on Boothia Peninsula and King William Island and in his searching added much to the geographical knowledge of the whole area. In 1871 he was placed in command of a government expedition to the North Pole. In the Polaris his party went northward in the passages between Greenland and Ellesmere Island to the Arctic Ocean and achieved a new northern record of 82°11'. Hall died suddenly at the party's wintering quarters. On the homeward journey most of the crew died aboard the Polaris when it was struck by an enormous ice floe.

See biography by C. Loomis (1971).

Hall, Edward, 1499?-1547, English chronicler. He wrote The Union of the Noble and Ilustre Famelies of Lancastre and York (1548), usually called Hall's Chronicle. A glorification of the Tudors, it is important for the light it sheds on social life early in the reign of Henry VIII and for the use Shakespeare made of it in his historical plays.
Hall, Granville Stanley, 1844-1924, American psychologist and educator, b. Ashfield, Mass., grad. Williams, 1867. G. Stanley Hall taught at Antioch and Harvard, studied experimental psychology in Germany, and in 1882 organized at Johns Hopkins a psychological laboratory that rapidly took a leading position in the field. He founded (1887) the American Journal of Psychology and was one of the organizers (1891) of the American Psychological Association. As first president (1889-1920) of Clark Univ., he raised it to prominence for its courses in education. Among his works are The Contents of Children's Minds (1883), which inaugurated the child-study movement in the United States; Adolescence (1904); Educational Problems (1911); Jesus, the Christ, in the Light of Psychology (1917); and his autobiography (1923).

See biographies by L. Pruette (1926, repr. 1970) and D. Ross (1972); R. J. Wilson, In Quest of Community (1970).

Hall, James, 1811-98, American geologist and paleontologist, b. Hingham, Mass., grad. Rensselaer School (later Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), 1832. An authority on stratigraphy and invertebrate paleontology, he joined the New York state geological survey in 1836 and in 1839 became state geologist for New York. He wrote Paleontology of New York (8 vol. in 13, 1847-94), a monumental report on the paleontology of the state; his work formed the basis for the later geological histories of North America. He also served briefly as state geologist for Iowa and Wisconsin and was director (1866-94) of the New York State Museum at Albany.

See studies by R. C. Randall (1964) and J. M. Clarke (1921, repr. 1973).

Hall, John Lewis, 1934-, American physicist, b. Denver, Colo., Ph.D. Carnegie Institute of Technology, 1961. He has been a researcher at the National Bureau of Standards in Boulder, Colo., since 1962. Hall, Roy Glauber, and Theodor Hänsch shared the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in advancing optics technology. Hall and Hänsch are credited with developing laser-based precision spectroscopy, which enables the color of the light of atoms and molecules to be determined with tremendous precision. The technique, which aids in precise timing in communication systems, provided the foundation for the development of extremely accurate clocks and improved global positioning system technology.
Hall, Joseph, 1574-1656, English prelate and author. He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and became bishop of Exeter, 1627-41, and of Norwich, 1641-47. The rise of Puritanism involved him in serious church difficulties, and his vigorous defense of the episcopacy against its attackers resulted in his imprisonment in 1641 on charges of high treason. He was eventually released, but he lived the remainder of his life in poverty. Hall's most notable work, his verse satires, modeled after the Roman satirist Juvenal, appeared in two parts: Virgidemiarum or Toothless Satires (1597) and Biting Satires (1598). He also wrote prose satires, poems, meditations, and autobiographical tracts.

See his poems, ed. by A. Davenport (1949, repr. 1969).

Hall, Lyman, 1724-90, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Wallingford, Conn. He was a Congregational minister for some time before practicing medicine. Hall moved to Georgia, became involved in politics, and was sent (1775) to the Continental Congress as a delegate from St. John's Parish before the colony sent any official delegation. Hall served until 1780, when he returned to Georgia. He became governor in 1783. It was at his suggestion that Georgia chartered a state university in 1785.

See biography by J. W. Hall (1959).

Hall, Marshall, 1790-1857, English physician and physiologist, M.D. Univ. of Edinburgh, 1812. He practiced medicine in Nottingham and in London. He opposed bloodletting and devised a method of artificial respiration named for him. As a result of his experiments with animals he advanced (1833) the theory of reflex action in a paper before the Royal Society; despite some opposition the theory was later universally accepted. His works also include The Diagnosis of Diseases (1817) and Memoirs on the Nervous System (1837).
Hall, Samuel Read, 1795-1877, American educator and clergyman, b. Croydon, N.H. After teaching in Rumford, Maine, and Fitchburg, Mass., he founded (1823) at Concord, Vt., a training school for teachers, one of the first in the United States. He also helped to organize (1830) the American Institute of Instruction, the oldest educational association in the United States. Hall became principal of the teachers seminary at Phillips Academy (1830-37), of Holmes Plymouth Academy (1837-40), and of Craftsbury Academy, to which he added a teachers training department (1840-46). From 1846 to 1875 he served as pastor in Brownington and in Granby, Vt. He wrote numerous textbooks, and his famous Lectures on School-Keeping (1829) were republished in 1929, with a biography of Hall and a bibliography of his works by A. D. Wright and G. E. Gardner.
hall, a communicating passageway or, in medieval buildings, the large main room. In the feudal castle of N Europe it was a single apartment, and in it lord and retainers lounged, ate, and slept. From the hearth in its center the smoke rose to an outlet in the roof. At one end was the raised dais reserved for the master and those of his own rank. With developing amenities extra spaces were added for cooking and sleeping, and the hall advanced beyond its early rude and unfinished appearance. In English manor houses of the 14th and 15th cent. the characteristic great hall was covered by a fine open-timber roof, heated by one or more huge fireplaces, and lighted with lofty windows often arranged in deep, projecting bays. Westminster Hall, part of the ancient royal palace commenced in the 11th cent. and rebuilt in the 14th cent., was the most splendid. By the 17th cent., with the addition of drawing room, library, and bedrooms, the hall of the English house was no longer of great size and dominance. The English colleges of the Middle Ages and Renaissance also had halls or commons, chiefly for dining, that were architecturally similar to the baronial examples. Some were covered with fine fan vaults, others with timber roofs as at Christ Church, Oxford, perhaps the most splendid hall next to Westminster. The various guilds of N Europe had their halls, especially impressive in Flanders, e.g., the cloth halls at Bruges, Brussels, and Ypres. In Italy communal independence produced the remarkable series of local civic halls, often with imposing towers, as at Siena and Florence. The word hall came to be used in the title of many great English houses (Haddon Hall) and similarly in that of some Southern estates in the American colonies.

See J. A. Gotch, Growth of the English House (1909).

Hall, Fort: see Fort Hall.
Caine, Hall (Sir Thomas Henry Hall Caine), 1853-1931, English novelist. Secretary to Dante Gabriel Rossetti, he lived with him from 1881 until the poet's death and wrote Recollections of Rossetti (1882). His enormously popular novels, some of Manx life, others on biblical themes, include The Shadow of a Crime (1885), The Deemster (1887), The Manxman (1894), The Christian (1897), The Prodigal Son (1904), and The Master of Man (1921).

See his autobiography, My Story (1908); study by C. F. Kenyon (1901, repr. 1974).

Several things are commonly known as Halls or halls. For the development of meaning of the word 'hall', see Hall (concept).

A hall is fundamentally a relatively large space enclosed by a roof and walls. In the Iron Age, a mead hall was such a simple building and was the residence of a lord and his retainers. Later, rooms were partitioned from it, so that today the hall of a house is the space inside the front door from which the rooms are reached.


  • Deriving from the above, a hall is often the term used to designate a British or Irish country house.
  • In later medieval Europe, the main room of a castle or manor house was the great hall.
  • Where the hall inside the front door of a house is elongated, it may be called a passage, or hallway. The corresponding space upstairs is a landing.
  • In a medieval building, the hall was where the fire was kept. With time, its functions as dormitory, kitchen, parlour and so on were divided off to separate rooms or, in the case of the kitchen, a separate building.

On the same principle:


  • A hall is also a building consisting largely of a principal room, that is rented out for meetings and social affairs. It may be privately or government-owned, such as a function hall owned by one company used for weddings and cotillions (organized and run by the same company on a contractual basis) or a community hall available for rent to anyone.

Following a line of similar development:

  • In office buildings and larger buildings (theatres, cinemas etc), the entrance hall is generally known as the foyer (the French for fire-place). The atrium, a name sometimes used in public buildings for the entrance hall, was the central courtyard of a Roman house.

Derived from the residential meanings of the word:

  • Hall is also a surname of people, one of whose ancestors lived in a hall as distinct from one such as David M. Cote, whose ancestor will have lived in a cote, a much humbler place shared with the livestock.

Association with salt

From a completely separate derivation:

A Hall is a brand of bitter (beer) made in Germany and sold worldwide, mainly across America.

  • In German speaking areas, Hall (with a short a) can also form part of a town name, like Halle, where the name refers to hall, the Celtic word for salt (compare Welsh halen or Breton holen or Cornish holan). In this connection, Hall is the short form of the name of:
  • the medieval German town Schwäbisch Hall, where Hall was its whole name prior to 1933
  • the Austrian town Hall in Tirol near Innsbruck, which used to be called Solbad Hall from 1938 to 1974,
  • Hallstatt in Austria which gave its name to the Celtic Hallstatt culture.

Sir Charles Hallé (originally Karl Halle) lent his name to the Hallé Orchestra. His forbears were probably associated with the German town of Halle. The accent was added to his name in order to assist English-speakers in pronouncing the word.

In the ancient world, the Celts were neighbours of the Greeks whose word for salt was halos (`αλοσ). While European science was developing, some branches of it adopted the Greek language as the source of its terminology. We therefore have words like halogen, halide, halotrichite and halocarbon.

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