The Lazzaroni: Science and Scientists in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America

By Lillian B. Miller; Frederick Voss et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

James Hall 1811-1898

Although not a member of the Lazzaroni, James Hall maintained close professional relationships with many of its members, particularly Louis Agassiz, with whom he corresponded for many years. He was respected by all the members: Dana believed that without Hall, "the geological history of North America could not have been written;" and Agassiz was so fascinated by Hall's collection of fossils that he tried to persuade Harvard officials to bring him--and his collection --to Cambridge.

The son of a poor New England family, Hall became determined at an early age to gain an education despite the many obstacles arising from his poverty. As a youth, by securing private tutoring and attending public lectures, he managed to compensate for the school time lost in work to supplement his family's meager finances. At the age of 19, he made the trek on foot to Rensselaer Institute in Troy, New York, where he was graduated in 1832.

Here, his inclination for the sciences--a bent that had already been fostered by his boyhood friendship with Dr. Martin Gay, a chemist and lecturer living in Hall's native town--came into full bloom under the tutelage of botanist Amos Eaton and geologist Ebenezer Emmons. After spending the summer months on field excursions with Emmons, Hall settled on geology as a career and in the summer following his graduation, he went to the Heldeberg Mountains near Albany to undertake his first independent geological study. Shortly afterward, Eaton brought Hall to the attention of Patroon Stephen Van Rensselaer, benefactor of the Rensselaer Institute, who hired the youth to complete a survey of New York's St. Lawrence County. Impressed with his work, his new patron obtained appointment for Hall as an assistant in the New York State Geological Survey. Within a short time, he took over as head of the Survey's fourth district. With the publication of his study of the region under his charge in 1843, Hall's


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Lazzaroni: Science and Scientists in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 123

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?