Hall's career with New York State was as stormy as his relations with many of his disciples. A few years after completing his education with Amos Eaton at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Hall served during 1836-1837 as Ebenezer Emmons' assistant on the New York State Natural History Survey, working on the iron ores of the Adirondacks. From 1837 to 1842, Hall was the survey geologist assigned the western counties of the state. He contributed equally with the other geologists to the creation of the New York System for Paleozoic rocks; it is important, in focusing on Hall, not to lose sight of what the others provided to its development. Hall's final district report, published in 1843, evidenced his ability and interest in paleontology. The state hired him to research and write up New York's fossils, an assignment given in 1837 to Timothy Conrad, who had not completed the report. Hall was to spend the next several decades on the task, issuing thirteen sumptuously illustrated volumes. Through 1859, Hall took the fossils in stratigraphic order, but by 1867 he had switched to a biological approach, in part because by that time he had reached the rich and complex Devonian fauna. State support for the Palaeontology was uneven; in 1850-55, Hall worked without salary on the books. He used the reports to discuss other important geological topics and to air his position on geological controversies, some of them centered on rocks outside of New York. His parade of laboratory and field assistants helped in various degrees, sometimes with stinting acknowledgment from Hall. His international reputation was based in large part on his work for New York State, and it remains a durable legacy to science.

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