Hall, Anna Maria (DNB00)

HALL, ANNA MARIA (1800–1881), novelist and miscellaneous writer, was born in Anne Street, Dublin, 6 Jan. 1800. Her mother, Sarah Elizabeth Fielding, being left a widow, took up her residence with her stepfather, George Carr of Graigie, Wexford, where she remained until 1815. The daughter came to England with her mother in 1815, and on 20 Sept. 1824 married Samuel Carter Hall [q. v.] From 1826 Mrs. Fielding resided with the Halls, in whose house, 21 Ashley Place, London, she died 20 Jan. 1856, aged 83. Mrs. Hall's first recorded contribution to literature is an Irish sketch called ‘Master Ben,’ which appeared in ‘The Spirit and Manners of the Age,’ January 1829, pp. 35–41 et seq. Other tales followed. Eventually they were collected into a volume entitled ‘Sketches of Irish Character,’ 1829, and henceforth she became ‘an author by profession.’ Next year she issued a little volume for children, ‘Chronicles of a School-Room,’ consisting of a series of simple tales. In 1831 she published a second series of ‘Sketches of Irish Character’ fully equal to the first, which was well received. The first of her nine novels, ‘The Buccaneer,’ 1832, is a story of the time of the protectorate, and Cromwell is among the characters. To the ‘New Monthly Magazine,’ which her husband was editing, she contributed ‘Lights and Shadows of Irish Life,’ articles which were republished in three volumes in 1838. The principal tale in this collection, ‘The Groves of Blarney,’ was dramatised with considerable success by the authoress with the object of supplying a character for Tyrone Power, and ran for a whole season at the Adelphi in 1838. Mrs. Hall also wrote ‘The French Refugee,’ produced at the St. James's Theatre in 1836, where it ran ninety nights, and for the same theatre ‘Mabel's Curse,’ in which John Pritt Harley [q. v.] sustained the leading part.

Another of her dramas, of which she had neglected to keep a copy, was ‘Who's Who?’ which was in the possession of Tyrone Power when he was lost in the President in April 1841. In 1840 she issued what has been called the best of her novels, ‘Marian, or a Young Maid's Fortunes,’ in which her knowledge of Irish character is again displayed in a style equal to anything written by Maria Edgeworth. Her next work was a series of ‘Stories of the Irish Peasantry,’ contributed to ‘Chambers's Edinburgh Journal,’ and afterwards published in a collected form. In 1840 she aided her husband in a book chiefly composed by him, ‘Ireland, its Scenery, Characters, &c.’ She edited the ‘St. James's Magazine,’ 1862–3.

In the ‘Art Journal,’ edited by her husband, she brought out ‘Pilgrimages to English Shrines’ in 1849, and here the most beautiful of all her books, ‘Midsummer Eve, a Fairy Tale of Love,’ first appeared. One of her last works, ‘Boons and Blessings,’ 1875, dedicated to the Earl of Shaftesbury, is a collection of temperance tales, illustrated by the best artists.

Mrs. Hall's sketches of her native land bear a closer resemblance to the tales of Miss Mitford than to the Irish stories of Banim or Griffin. They contain fine rural descriptions, and are animated by a healthy tone of moral feeling and a vein of delicate humour. Her books were never popular in Ireland, as she saw in each party much to praise and much to blame, so that she failed to please either the Orangemen or the Roman catholics.

On 10 Dec. 1868 she was granted a civil list pension of 100l. a year. She was instrumental in founding the Hospital for Consumption at Brompton, the Governesses' Institute, the Home for Decayed Gentlewomen, and the Nightingale Fund. Her benevolence was of the most practical nature; she worked for the temperance cause, for women's rights, and for the friendless and fallen. She was a friend to street musicians, and a thorough believer in spiritualism; but this belief did not prevent her from remaining, as she ever was, a devout Christian. She kept the fiftieth anniversary of her wedding day on 20 Sept. 1874. She died at Devon Lodge, East Moulsey, 30 Jan. 1881, and was buried in Addlestone churchyard 5 Feb.

She was the author of:

  1. ‘Sketches of Irish Character,’ 1829, 3 vols., second series, 1831.
  2. ‘The Juvenile Forget-me-Not,’ edited by Mrs. S. C. Hall, 1829 and 1862.
  3. ‘Chronicles of a School-Room,’ 1830.
  4. ‘The Buccaneer,’ anon., 1832.
  5. ‘The Outlaw. By the Author of “The Buccaneer,”’ 1835.
  6. ‘Tales of a Woman's Trials,’ 1835.
  7. ‘Uncle Horace,’ anon., 1837.
  8. ‘St. Pierre, the Refugee, a burletta,’ 1837.
  9. ‘Lights and Shadows of Irish Life,’ 1838, 3 vols.
  10. ‘The Book of Royalty: Characteristics of British Palaces,’ 1839.
  11. ‘Tales of the Irish Peasantry,’ 1840.
  12. ‘Marian, or a Young Maid's Fortunes,’ 1840, 3 vols.
  13. ‘The Hartopp Jubilee,’ 1840.
  14. ‘Sharpe's London Magazine, conducted by Mrs. S. C. Hall,’ 1845, &c.
  15. ‘The White Boy, a Novel,’ 1845, 2 vols.
  16. ‘Midsummer Eve, a Fairy Tale of Love,’ 1848.
  17. ‘The Swan's Egg, a Tale,’ 1850.
  18. ‘Pilgrimages to English Shrines,’ 1850.
  19. ‘Stories of the Governess,’ 1852.
  20. ‘The Worn Thimble, a Story,’ 1853.
  21. ‘The Drunkard's Bible,’ 1854.
  22. ‘The Two Friends,’ 1856.
  23. ‘A Woman's Story,’ 1857, 3 vols.
  24. ‘The Lucky Penny and other Tales,’ 1857.
  25. ‘Finden's Gallery of Modern Art, with Tales by Mrs. S. C. Hall,’ 1859.
  26. ‘The Boy's Birthday Book,’ 1859.
  27. ‘Daddy Dacre's School,’ 1859.
  28. ‘The St. James's Magazine, conducted by Mrs. S. C. Hall,’ 1861.
  29. ‘Can Wrong be Right? a Tale,’ 1862, 2 vols.
  30. ‘The Village Garland: Tales and Sketches,’ 1863.
  31. ‘Nelly Nowlan and other Stories,’ 1865.
  32. ‘The Playfellow and other Stories,’ 1866.
  33. ‘The Way of the World and other Stories,’ 1866.
  34. ‘The Prince of the Fairy Family,’ 1867.
  35. ‘Alice Stanley and other Stories,’ 1868.
  36. ‘Animal Sagacity,’ 1868.
  37. ‘The Fight of Faith, a Story,’ 1869, 2 vols.
  38. ‘Digging a Grave with a Wineglass,’ 1871.
  39. ‘Chronicles of a Cosy Nook,’ 1875.
  40. ‘Boons and Blessings: Stories of Temperance,’ 1875.
  41. ‘Annie Leslie and other Stories,’ 1877.
  42. ‘Grandmother's Pockets,’ 1880.

In conjunction with her husband she wrote:

  1. ‘A Week at Killarney,’ 1843.
  2. ‘Ireland, its Scenery, Characters, &c., 1841–3, 3 vols.
  3. ‘Handbooks for Ireland,’ 1853.
  4. ‘The Book of the Thames,’ 1859.
  5. ‘Tenby,’ 1860.
  6. ‘The Book of South Wales,’ 1861.
  7. ‘A Companion to Killarney,’ 1878.

With Mrs. Jonathan Foster she wrote:

  1. ‘Stories and Studies from the Chronicles and History of England,’ 1847, 2 vols., which went to nine editions.

Mrs. Hall also wrote upwards of fifty tales and sketches, the majority of which appeared in various libraries, collections of stories, and periodicals.

[Samuel Carter Hall's Retrospect of a Long Life, 1883, ii. 251–2, 421–78, with portrait; Fraser's Mag. June 1836, p. 718, with portrait; Colburn's New Monthly Mag. August 1838, pp. 559–62, with portrait; Dublin University Mag. August 1840, pp. 146–9, with portrait; Hale's Woman's Record, 1855, pp.691–5, with portrait; Illustrated News of the World, 1861, vol. viii., with portrait; Illustrated London News, 12 Feb. 1881, pp. 149–50, with portrait; Times, 1 Feb. 1881, p. 10; Godey's Lady's Book, August 1852, pp. 134–6.]

G. C. B.