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Edward Hagaman Hall

Edward Hagaman Hall

Also known as Edward Hall

Edward Hagaman Hall was the secretary of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society from 1897-1927 and was involved in the efforts to save the Poe Cottage and the Billopp House.

People: Albert S. Bard, Eugene Philbin
Places: Billopp House, Edgar Allen Poe Cottage, the Palisades, Philipse Manor Hall, Stony Point Battlefield
Above: Edgar Allen Poe Cottage, c. 1910-1920; Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Dr. Edward Hagaman Hall was born on November 3, 1858, in Auburn, New York. His father, Benjamin Franklin Hall, was the mayor of Auburn. Edward Hall attended Auburn Academic High School, and graduated with honors in 1877. Immediately following graduation, he began work as the editor of the Norwich Morning Bulletin. He then went on to work for several other publications including: Waterbury Daily Republican, New England Correspondent of the New York Tribune, Republic Press (New York City), The Spirit of Seventy-Six, and Commerce and Labor.1

In 1900, Hall took a respite from his career in journalism in order to devote time to his independent research and writing. One of his most notable works was a published study on the voyages of Henry Hudson, and the design of his ship, the Half Moon. In 1908, Hall was awarded an honorary degree from New York University and an LL.D. degree from Hobart College.2

In 1902, Hall was hired as the full-time executive secretary of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks.3

His efforts in preservation can be attributed in large part to the City Beautiful movement in the early 1900s. Along with Albert S. Bard, Hall was pivotal in the nascent efforts to pass legislation monitoring the aesthetic fabric in New York City. Of prime importance was the regulation of billboard advertisements on Fifth Avenue.

He is most noted for being the paid executive secretary for the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society. The Billboard Committee hired him to help write the “Report of The Mayor’s Billboard Advertising Commission of the City of New York.”4

He was also involved with the New York City Art Commission, however, he resigned from his post in 1929 due to ill health. He passed away on May 4, 1936.5

American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society
Secretary, 1897-1927

Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks
Executive Secretary, 1902-1929

Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission
Trustee, 1909
Assistant Secretary, 1909

New York City Art Commission
Secretary, 1927-1929

Laymen’s Club of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
President

 

Over the course of his life, Edward Hagaman Hall advanced preservation efforts on the city, state and national level.

As the paid executive secretary of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society (ASHPS), Hall was involved in the battle over billboard regulation in New York City. Hall became an expert on the topic of aesthetic regulation through researching and studying European precedents. In 1913, Mayor Gaynor assembled a special committee to examine the increasing phenomenon of billboard advertising. Hall was hired by the Billboard Committee to help write the Billboard Advertising Commission's final report, entitled "The Poster Nuisance/An Argument Against the Abuses of Outdoor Advertising." He subsequently testified at several public hearings regarding billboard regulation.6

Also under the auspices of ASHPS, Hall attempted to save Poe Cottage. In 1908, he told New York's Board of Estimate that "The ASHPS would install rare daguerreotypes and other relics so that the visitors would have something more to see than the bare walls and roof that sheltered this man who lacked bread but not an immortal name." However, the City rejected Hall’s proposal.7

In addition, Hall was involved with the efforts to protect the Billopp House on Staten Island.8 Furthermore, Hall was involved with efforts to save New York City’s parks. He joined the Central Executive Committee to Work for the Preservation of Existing Park Spaces, which was organized by Eugene Philbin, head of the Parks and Playgrounds Association.9

Hall was also involved in many preservation efforts on the national level. For example, on February 22, 1902, The New York Times published an editorial written by Hall, in which he suggested that Jamestown Island should be acquired by the Federal Government and made a National Park Site.10 Hall was active in the preservation of Stony Point Battlefield, the Palisades, Philipse Manor Hall, Watkins Glen, John Boyd Thatcher Park near Albany, and Letchworth Park on the Genessee River.11 In 1910, the ASHPS published Hall's Appeal for the Preservation of City Hall Park, New York: With a Brief History of the Park.12 In addition, Hall supported the establishment of Fraunces Tavern Park as a national park.13 Furthermore, Edward Hagaman Hall testified before the Mayor's Billboard Advertising Commission at the public hearings on January 24, 1913.14

  • Archives of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks
    Adirondacks Research Library
    897 St. Davids Lane
    Niskayuna, NY 12309
    Tel: (518) 377-1452
    Fax: (518) 393-0526
    Email: [email protected]
  1. 
”Dr. Edward H. Hall Dead at Laramie,” The New York Times, 5 May 1936.
  2. 
Ibid.
  3. 
Edith Pilcher, “Watchdog of the Forest Preserve,” Conservationist Magazine, January-February 1984.
  4. 
Anthony C. Wood, Preserving New York: Winning the Right to Protect A City’s Landmarks (New York: Routledge, 2008), page 29.
  5. 
”Obituary,” New York Times, May 6, 1936.
  6. 
Edith Pilcher, “Watchdog of the Forest Preserve,” Conservationist Magazine, January-February 1984.
  7. 
”To Move Poe’s Cottage,” Times, 12 January 1908; As quoted in Gregory F. Gilmartin, Shaping the City: New York and the Municipal Art Society (New York: Clarkson Potter, 1994), page 334.
  8. 
”New York’s Historic Landmarks: Shall they be Allowed to Pass Away?” The New York Times, 28 January 1906.
  9. 
Gregory F. Gilmartin, Shaping the City: New York and the Municipal Art Society (New York: Clarkson Potter, 1994), page 251.
  10. 
Edward H. Hall, “Jamestown: Proposal that it be Made a National Park- The Birthplace of Our Civilization,” The New York Times, 22 February 1902.
  11. 
”Dr. Edward H. Hall Dead at Laramie,” The New York Times, 5 May 1936.
  12. 
Edward H. Hall, Appeal for the Preservation of City Hall Park, New York: With a Brief History of the Park (American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, 1910).
  13. 
”Fraunces Tavern Park,” The New York Times, 5 December 1902.
  14. Anthony C. Wood, Preserving New York: Winning the Right to Protect A City’s Landmarks (New York: Routledge, 2008), page 29.