Papers of Anna Maria Hall (1800-1881)

Scope and Content

The papers consist of correspondence, including: a letter of Hall to a Mrs. Finlay about her literary work and fashions etc, 1841; a letter to Miss Catmar in Musselburgh, circa 1843; a letter to James Montgomery asking for a contribution to a women's magazine, 1844; and, a letter to W. C. Macready requesting his autograph, 1846. There is also a portrait of Hall.

Administrative / Biographical History

The novelist and miscellaneous writer Anna Maria Hall was born in Dublin on 6 January 1800. Her own family name was Fielding. On the death of her father, she and her mother went to live in Wexford and they stayed there until 1815 when they came to England. On 20 September she married author and editor Samuel Carter Hall (1800-1889). Her first recorded writing was an Irish piece called Master Ben (1829). Other tales quickly followed and these were collected together and published as Sketches of Irish character (1829). Her first novel was The buccaneer (1832) a story from the Civil War and Commonwealth period with Cromwell as one of the characters. Articles for her husband's magazine followed and these were republished in three volumes as Lights and shadows of Irish life (1838). Hall also wrote for the stage and The French refugee was produced at the St. James's Theatre in 1836. Another of her dramas was in the possession of Irish comedian Tyrone Power (1797-1841) when he was lost with the 'SS President' when it went down in April 1841. Around this time Hall contributed to Chambers's Edinburgh Journal and her stories in that were collected and published as Tales of the Irish peasantry (1840). She also assisted her husband with Ireland, its scenery, characters (1841-1843), The book of south Wales (1861), and A companion to Killarney (1878). Other writing included Pilgrimages to English shrines (1849), Stories of the governess (1852), Daddy Dacre's school (1859), and The playfellow and other stories (1866). Hall was instrumental in the founding of a hospital for consumption in Brompton, an institution for governesses, and the Nightingale Fund. She also supported the temperance movement and her work Boons and blessings: stories of temperance (1875) was dedicated to Lord Shaftesbury. In her lifetime, Hall's writing had never been particularly popular in Ireland chiefly because on each side of the historical divide there she saw both the negative and the positive and failed to please either Catholic or Protestant. Anna Maria Hall died at East Moulsey on 30 January 1881.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Letter to Catmar purchased November 1972, Accession no. E72.60. Letter to Finlay and Montgomery, and portrait, purchased 1973, Accession no. E73.56. Letter to Macready, purchased February 1975, Accession no. E75.7.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Stephen, Leslie. and Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 8. Glover-Harriott. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show other references to Hall related material at shelfmark L.O.A. among the Halliwell-Phillipps collection (check the Indexes for more details): letters of Hall to J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps, L.O.A. 71/65, 79/7, 82/32, 209/41. There is also correspondence to Hall at Gen. 1730, and at L.O.A. 91/60.

There is also material relating to Samuel Carter Hall, including: letters, 1852, at Dc.2.59; letter, 1855, at Gen1731; letters in the Halliwell-Phillipps collection at L.O.A. 71/22 and L.O.A. 80/52; and, letter in the Laing Collection at La.IV.17. There are also letters to S. C. Hall (check the Indexes for more details).

In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes for Anna Maria Hall: correspondence and papers, University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections, see NUC MS 72-926; personal and professional correspondence, Knox College, see NUC MS 78-1208; papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, see NUC MS 61-352; letters to Lord Lytton, 1840-1859, Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, Ref. D/EK NRA 4598 Bulwer-Lytton; letters (24) to the Milner-Gibsons and others, 1867-1880, Cambridge University, Trinity College Library, Ref. Cullum N1:8-46; and letters, as sponsor, to the Royal Literary Fund, 1842-1879, British Library, Manuscript Collections, Ref. Loan no.96.