September 12, 1811–August 7, 1898
BY ROBERT H. DOTT JR.
JAMES HALL OF NEW YORK was North America’s preeminent paleontologist and geologist of the nineteenth century. That he was a giant among early American scientists is evidenced by the facts that he was a founder of and served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1856), was a charter member of the National Academy of Sciences (1863), and was chosen to be the first president of the Geological Society of America (1889). Hall was also the best-known American geologist on the international scene in his time. As early as 1837 he was elected to membership in the Imperial Mineralogical Society of St. Petersburg. Later he was the organizing president of the International Geological Congress meetings at Buffalo, New York (1876) and at Paris (1878); he was a vice-president of the congresses at Bologna (1881) and Berlin (1885) and was honorary president of the congress at St. Petersburg (1897). Hall was elected a foreign correspondent to the Academy of Sciences of France in 1884, being its first English-speaking member. It was primarily the 13-volume Natural
Adapted with permission from Encyclopedia of Geology, pp. 194-200. New York: Elsevier, 2005.