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John Lesslie Hall, Jr. Papers

Identifier: Mss. 78 H14

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Papers, 1937-1973, of Admiral John Lesslie Hall, Jr. of Williamsburg and Alexandria, Va. and while stationed at Pearl Harbor, San Francisco and Norfolk, Va. The papers are both personal and professional. The collection contains material concerning World War II Operations TORCH (North Africa), BIGOT-HUSKY, AVALANCHE (Salerno), NEPTUNE-OVERLORD, and as well as the Army-Navy joint agreement on Normandy. Also includes material pertaining to his work with the USO, the Naval War College, Army War College and Armed Forces Staff College as well as speeches, newspaper clippings, photographs and pamphlets. While the majority of the correspondence is with his wife and with his brother Channing M. Hall, there is correspondence with prominent individuals: Omar Bradley, Arleigh Burke, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Ernest Joseph King, George C. Marshall, Chester W. Nimitz, George S. Patton, Jr., Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman and other high-ranking military and civilian figures.

Additions (2000.8A) to the collection includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, as well as photographs of a Swem Library exhibit relating to the papers and memorabilia of Admiral Hall and (2007.84) research papers, memoirs, interviews, and correspondence of and with Hall by one of his biographers, Susan H. Godson, which was used by Godson for compiling "Viking of Assault: Admiral John Lesslie Hall, Jr., and Amphibious Warfare" (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1982).

Humorous certificate, "Imperium Neptuni Regis" signed by Commander J.L. Hall, Jr. , U.S. Navy, dated December 13, 1934.  Filed in first box of oversize.

Letter from Press Secretary James Hagerty to Lesslie Hall, dated 1955, attached to April 20, 1953 letter from Dwight Eisenhower to Lessie Hall.  Box 5, Folder 5, 1953 correspondence.


  • Creation: 1893-1973


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers with the exception of Folder 41: John W. Wilcox, Jr., (part of Mss.Acc. 2007.84) which is closed until 2018.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

John Lesslie Hall, Jr. (April 11, 1891 - March 1978) was an admiral of the United States Navy during World War II.

Hall was a native of Williamsburg, Virginia, and attended the College of William and Mary for three years before transferring to the U.S. Naval Academy where he graduated in 1913. He starred in football for three seasons at William and Mary and four years at the Naval Academy. As a matter of fact, he excelled in three sports at the Academy and was awarded the coveted "Academy Sword" for athletic excellence.

Admiral Hall was the Chief of Staff of the Western Naval Task Force during the North African landings in 1942 and received the Distinguished Service Medal for opening ports and preventing sabotage while Commander Northwest African Sea Frontier.

In February 1943, he became Commander Amphibious Force, North African Waters (Eighth Fleet), expertly cross-training Army artillerymen and Navy gunners so that his ships' call-fire missions could be conducted in direct support of troop advances rather than at "targets of opportunity." His concept proved devastating to enemy forces and tank divisions as he led one of the major assault forces engaged in the Sicilian Occupation (9-12 July 1943) and the bitterly contested landings at Salerno (9-21 September 1943).

These bold achievements brought him two awards of the Legion of Merit. In November 1943, he took command of the 11th Amphibious Force in the United Kingdom, earning the Army's Distinguished Service Medal for his superb leadership of this amphibious Force "O" which landed and so effectively supported the Army V Corps on the Omaha beach sector off the coast of Normandy in June 1944. he received a second Navy Distinguished Service Medal for command of the Southern Attack Force (TF 55) during the Okinawa campaign. In October 1945, he became Commander Amphibious Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

He later was Commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District and Commander of the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia. From August 1951 until his retirement in May 1953, he was Commander Western Sea Frontier with additional duty as Commander Pacific Reserve Fleet.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower gave him the nickname "Viking of Assault". General George Patton, tough critic of fellow military leaders, heaped high praise on him.

Admiral Hall died in 1978 at the age of 87.

The frigate USS John L. Hall (FFG-32) was named in his honor.


14.50 Linear Feet

Acquisition Information:

Gifts of John L. Hall, Jr.(Acc. 1978.33)  (08/09/1978) and Susan H. Godson (10/16/1992, 05/16/1992, 08/01/2003, and 2007).

Related Materials:

Mss. 90 H14 Hall Family Papers

Audiocassettes from this collection have been moved to the Manuscripts Audiovisual Collection.

Separated Materials:

All audiovisual material from this collection has been moved to the Manuscripts Audiovisual Collection.

Physical Description

27 boxes

Processing Information:

Processed by Derek Stepp in 1991.

Guide to the John Lesslie Hall, Jr. Papers
Derek Stepp, SCRC Staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository