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HALL, Frederick.

(1780 – 1843)

(Born: Grafton, Vermont, U.S.A., 1780; Died: Peru, Illinois, U.S.A., 27 July 1843) American chemist & mineralogist.

After graduating from Darthmouth in 1803, Hall tutored there for a year before accepting a position at Middlebury College. He taught mathematics and natural philosophy there until 1824. In 1808 he visited Europe, meet many of the notable scientists and sent back word of Humprey Davy's isolation of potassium and sodium-probably the first announcement to reach America. During his forties, Hall studied to become a physician, receiving his M.D. from Castleton (exinct) in 1827. From 1824 to 1828, he taught chemistry and mineralogy at Trinity College. He then went to Baltimore as president of Mt. Hope College (exinct) and from 1835 onwards he also lectured on mineralogy at Columbian College in Washington, D.C. In 1840, he was elected to a professorship in chemistry and pharmacy in Columbian's Medical School. Perhaps to seek information on mineral resources, Hall traveled west in the spring of 1843. Several weeks later word arrived back that he had succumbed to some form of cerebral disease.

Biographical references: ABA: I 677, 208-211. Adams, Dictionary of American Authors, 1904. American Chemists & Chemical Engineers: 2, 119-20 [by W.D. Miles]. American Journal of Science: 1st Series, 45 (1843), 404. Appleton Cyclopedia of American Biography. Barr, Index to Biographical Fragments, 1973: 109. Drake, Dictionary of American Biography, 1872. Elliott, Biographical Index, 1990: 97. Herringshaw's National Library of American Biography. Lancet Clinic: 2 (1843-4), 200. National Cyclopedia of American Biography: 3,. Wallace, Dictionary of North American Authors, 1951. WBI.

Catalogue of Minerals, 1824

1. English, 1824.
Catalogue | Of | Minerals, | Found In The State Of Vermont, | And | In The Adjacent States; | Together With Their Localities: | Including A Number Of | The Most Interesting Minerals, | Which Have Been Discovered | In | Other Parts Of The United States; | Arranged Alphabetically. | Designed, Principally, For The Use Of Persons, | Who Have Attended Mineralogical Lectures, | In Making Collections Of Specimens. | [double rule] | By Frederick Hall, | Professor Of Mathematics And Natural Philosophy, And | Lecturer On Mineralogy, In MiddleBury College. | [double rule] | Hartford: | P.B. Goodsell, Printer. | 1824.

8°: π2 2-64; 22l.; [1]-44 p. Page size: 215 x 124 mm.

Contents: [1-2], Title page, verso "District of Connecticut, ss."; [3]-4, "Advertisement."; [5]-44, Text.

Very scarce. This is the earliest example published in the United States of a separately issued state mineralogy. Approximately 140 mineral species are alphabetically arranged and described within this slim volume. Most species mentioned have localities within the state boundaries of Vermont, while a few are found only in the adjoining states. For his research, Hall relied heavily upon the mineralogical texts of Parker Cleaveland and Henry Schoolcraft, as well as the periodical The American Journal of Science.

Bibliographical references: Hazen & Hazen, American Geological Literature, 1980: no. 4650 [lists 3 notices of].

2. English, 1836.
A Synopsis of a Course of Lectures on Mineralogy Delivered at the Medical College, Washington, in the Winter of 1835-6. Washington: J. Gideon, jr. (printer), 1836. By Frederick Hall, M.D., L.L.D., late president of Mount Hope College, Md. Washington, Jacob Gideon, Jr., printer, 1836.

4°: [1]-24 p.

Very rare. Hall was probably self-taught as a mineralogist there being few formal classes in the subject in New England. Even so, he excelled in the subject and was able to offer in the winter of 1835-6 a course on the subject. It consisted of 30 lectures. Students were also allowed to view more than 5,000 specimens from his own collection to reenforce concepts taught. Non-students could also attend at a cost of $10 per head. In 1838, he gave Darthmouth $5,000 to endow a professorship of mineralogy, plus specimens appraised at $5,000. In addition, he bequeathed the college, his alma mater, land valued at several thousand dollars and the remainder of his collection for the same purpose.

Bibliographical references: American Chemists & Chemical Engineers: 2, 119-20 [by W.D. Miles]. Evans, American Bibliography: no. 37861. Hazen & Hazen, American Geological Literature, 1980: no. 4655.