John Hall: Shakespeare’s son-in-law

John Hall matriculated at Queens’ College Cambridge in the Michaelmas Term 1589, graduated B.A. in 1593/4, and M.A. 1597 (as Hale). He married Susanna, daughter of the playwright William Shakespeare, 1607 June 5.

He became a successful physician, practising around Stratford-upon-Avon, and kept case notes. In later life, he prepared the case-notes for publication in Latin. After his death in 1635, his widow sold his manuscript to James Cooke (1614–​88), who translated the case-notes into English and published them as Select Observations on English Bodies of Eminent Persons in Desperate Diseases in 1657, with further editions in 1679 and 1683: evidence of demand for them.

The reputation that Hall enjoys today, thanks to the continuing interest in his published case-notes, would be just as strong had he not been related to the playwright, but he is fated for ever to be referred to as: Shakespeare’s son-in-law.

Further reading

1657: Select Observations on English Bodies: or, Cures both Empericall and Historicall performed upon very eminent Persons in desperate Diseases. First, written in Latine by Mr. John Hall ... ; Now put into English for common benefit by James Cooke;
1679: Second edition as: Select Observations on English Bodies of Eminent Persons in desperate Diseases. First written in Latin by Mr. John Hall, Physician : After Englished by James Cook …;
1683: Third edition.

1890: John Hall (1575–1635), by Sidney Lee, in The Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 24, pp. 70–​1.

1916: Dr John Hall — Shakespeare’s son-in-law, by Walter Lindley, in Medical Record: A Weekly Journal of Medicine and Surgery, Vol. 89, No. 21(2376), 1916 May 20, pp. 910–​912. (ISSN 0096-6797) (offprint OCLC 560649106).

1918: John Hall, Physician (Shakespeare’s son-in-law), by Ralph Winnington Leftwich, M.D. in Shakespeare’s Handwriting and other papers, 1919, pp. 61–​81. (OCLC 41332873)

1918: Dr John Hall: Shakespeare’s son-in-law, by Eli Moschcowitz, in Johns Hopkins Hospital Bulletin, Vol. 29, No. 328, 1918 June, pp. 148–​52. (ISSN 0097-1383) (offprint OCLC 81981169)

1936: Shakespeare’s Son-in-Law. The Antecedents of Doctor John Hall, by Irvine Egerton Gray (1903–​92), in Genealogists’ Magazine, Vol. 7, No. 7, 1936 September, pp. 344–​54. (OCLC 77309455) (ISSN 0016-6391)

1939: Shakespeare’s son-in-law John Hall, by Arthur Gray. (OCLC 10365533)

1940: Shakespeare’s Son-in-Law: Doctor John Hall, by Earle Parkhill Scarlett, in Canadian Medical Association Journal, Vol. 43, No. 5, 1940 November, pp. 482–​8. (ISSN 0008-4409) (OCLC 673008539)

1947: The Shakespeare Circle : A Life of Dr. John Hall, Shakespeare’s son-in-law, with glimpses of their intimate friends and relations, by C. Martin Mitchell. [possibly Charles Martin Mitchell, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., 1873–​1962 at Stratford] (OCLC 1852647)

1964: Shakespeare’s Son-in-law: John Hall, Man and Physician : With a facsimile of the Second Edition of Hall’s Select Observations on English Bodies, by Harriet Bloomfield Joseph; (OCLC 14626468)
1976: paperback edition.

1972: King Lear and John Hall’s Casebook, by David M. Bergeron, in Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 206–​7. (ISSN 0037-3222)

1977: John Hall: Seventeenth-century Physician of Stratford upon Avon, by Virginia Alun Jones, in Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, Vol. 70, No. 10, 1977 October, pp. 709–​14. (ISSN 0035-9157)

1981: Dr John Hall, Shakespeare’s son-in-law. A vignette of Elizabethan medicine, by R.G. Richardson, in Practitioner, Vol. 225, No. 1354, 1981 April, pp. 593–​5. (ISSN 0032-6518)

1996: John Hall and his patients : the medical practice of Shakespeare’s son-in-law, by Joan Lane, with medical commentary by Melvin Peter Earles. (ISBN 978-0-7509-1095-8) [with facsimile of the Third Edition of Hall’s Select Observations on English Bodies] 

1997: The medical practice of John Hall, Shakespeare’s son-in-law, by Melvin Peter Earles, in Pharmaceutical Historian, Vol. 27, No. 1, 1997 March, pp. 10–​12. (ISSN 0079-1393)

1998: Shakespeare and Queens’ (Part II), by Iain Richard Wright [Fellow], in Queens’ College Record 1998, pp. 14–​16. (OCLC 265498993)

1998: John Hall and his epileptic patients — epilepsy managment in early 17th century England, by Tim Betts and Hannah Betts, in Seizure, Vol. 7, No. 5, 1998 October, pp. 411-4. (ISSN 1059-1311)

2000: Physician of Stratford. Dr John Hall: His Life, Times and Patients, by Nicholas J. Barton, in Journal of Medical Biography, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2000 February, pp. 8–​15. (ISSN 0967-7720 eISSN 1758-1087)

2004: Hall, John (1574/5?–1635), by Joan Lane, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

2004: Migraine treated by Shakespeare’s son-in-law, Dr John Hall, by J.M.S. Pearce, in Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, Vol. 75, No. 7, 2004 July, p. 987. (ISSN 0022-3050 eISSN 1468-330X)

2006: Dr John Hall (1575-1635) and Shakespeare’s medicine, by J.M.S. Pearce, in Journal of Medical Biography, Vol. 14, No. 4, 2006 November, pp. 187–​191. (ISSN 0967-7720 eISSN 1758-1087)

2010: On the practice of John Hall in the field of dermatology in the 17th century, by Angel Fernandez-Flores, in Clinics in Dermatology, Vol. 28, No. 3, 2010 May–​June, pp. 356–​63. (ISSN 0738-081X)