Maurice C. Hall

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Citation

Unknown. “Maurice C. Hall.” Special Collections, USDA National Agricultural Library. Accessed August 15, 2022, https://www.nal.usda.gov/exhibits/speccoll/items/show/8197.

Biography

Maurice Crowther Hall was born on July 15, 1881 in Golden, Colorado. He graduated from Colorado College in 1905, and earned a master’s degree the following year from the University of Nebraska.  He received his Ph.D. in 1915 and his D.V.M. in 1916, both from George Washington University.

From 1906 to 1907, Hall taught high school biology and chemistry at Cañon City (Colorado) High School.  Later in 1907, he was hired as a zoologist for the USDA’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI). He served in this position until 1916, when he left the BAI to take a job with Parke, Davis and Company’s research laboratory. In 1918 and 1919, he served in the United States Army's Veterinary Corps.  Upon leaving the army, Hall returned to his former post at the BAI. He became head of the BAI's Zoological Division in 1925.

Hall’s research focus was anthelmintics, or substances that eliminate worm parasites.  His critical tests of anthelmintics led to his greatest therapeutic discovery, which proved that the chemical compound carbon tetrachloride was exceptionally effective against hookworms. This discovery further led Hall to test tetrachlorethylene, which he found to be an even more effective treatment.  Tetrachlorethylene therapy played a vital role in the eradication of hookworm disease in the United States and abroad. Hall's innovation was hailed as a breakthrough in the field of tropical medicine.

Among his administrative accomplishments at the BAI, Hall oversaw the establishment and construction of the Zoological Division's first field station in Beltsville, Maryland.

Hall produced a large body of published work during his career and served in leadership roles in a number of professional organizations.  He was president of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1930, and in 1932 he became president of the American Society of Parasitologists. He was known among his colleagues as a witty man, who wrote verse and had some of his poems published in magazines.

In April 1936, Hall left the BAI a second time to lead the Zoological Laboratory at the National Institutes of Health, where he remained until his death in 1938.


Source:

Schwartz, Benjamin, and Paul D. Harwood. “Maurice Crowther Hall as a Parasitologist.” The Journal of Parasitology 24, no. 4 (August 1, 1938): 283–90. doi:10.2307/3272439.