Biographical / Historical
Dr. Joseph Underwood Hall Jr. was born on February 9, 1868 at Gold Hill, Story County, Nevada, the second child of Dr. Joseph Underwood Hall Sr. (1822-1898) and Katherine Bess White (1844-1918). Hall received his primary education at Gold Hill High School where he graduated in 1883 at the age of fifteen. Upon graduation, he left Nevada and travelled to San Francisco, California where he worked at a drug store while pursuing an education at the University of California School of Pharmacy. Following this phase of his education, he acquired a position at the Quicksilver Mining Company in New Almaden, California as a clerk and druggist for the Miners Fund Dispensary. In 1886, Hall studied medicine under Dr. S. E. Winn and assisted him in visiting patients, prescribing treatments and performing surgical procedures. In 1887, Hall attended Cooper Medical College and served as chief assistant at Dr. L. C. Lane's private clinic. Upon completion of this course of study, he moved to Philadelphia to attend Jefferson Medical College where he received his medical degree in April 1889.
Dr. Hall returned to California, in the summer of 1889, where he served as resident physician to the Quicksilver Mining Company in New Almaden, California, and remained there until 1894. He then pursued more medical training in Chicago and New York before returning to San Jose, California. He married Grace May Spencer (1871-1954), the daughter of Judge Francis Elias Spencer (1835-1898) and Mary Catherine Pray (1838-1903) on December 27, 1894 and opened a medical practice. To this union four children were born: Francis Spencer Hall (1896-1998), Joseph Underwood Hall III (1906-1907), Marshall Spencer Hall (1908-1990), and Marian Catherine Hall (1910-2003).
It was during this time that the doctor began working with the O'Connor Sanitarium and remained an important force for twenty-five years. On September 17, 1917, the United States Army appointed him Captain in the medical section of the Officer's Reserve Corps. He served on active duty at Fort Riley, Kansas until December 15, 1918. Upon his discharge, he opened a medical office in San Francisco, California. He continued to open offices throughout California during his medical career serving the local communities well. Dr. Hall's significance to the medical profession is his use of the new X-ray technology and the creation of his own X-ray machine, which is documented in in this collection.
Dr. Joseph Underwood Hall Jr. died on October 25, 1946 at the age of seventy-eight in San Francisco, California as the result of a rare type of bone cancer. He had assisted others for fifty-seven years in his medical practice.