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Evelyn Beatrice Hall

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Evelyn Beatrice Hall
Born(1868-09-28)28 September 1868
Shooter's Hill, Kent, England
Died13 April 1956(1956-04-13) (aged 87)
Wadhurst, East Sussex, England
Pen nameStephen G. Tallentyre

Evelyn Beatrice Hall (28 September 1868 – 13 April 1956),[1][2][3][Note 1] who wrote under the pseudonym S[tephen] G. Tallentyre, was an English writer best known for her biography of Voltaire entitled The Life of Voltaire, first published in 1903. She also wrote The Friends of Voltaire, which she completed in 1906.

In The Friends of Voltaire, Hall wrote: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"[4] as an illustration of Voltaire's beliefs.[5] This quotation – which is sometimes misattributed to Voltaire himself – is often cited to describe the principle of freedom of speech.[6][7]

Personal life


Hall was born on 28 September 1868 in Shooter's Hill, Kent, the second of the four children of the Reverend William John Hall (1830–1910), Minor Canon of St Paul's Cathedral, and Isabella Frances Hall (née Cooper).[3][8] Her elder sister, Ethel Frances Hall (1865–1943), married the writer Hugh Stowell Scott (pseudonym Henry Seton Merriman) in 1889.[9] Evelyn Hall was to become an important influence in the life of her brother-in-law, with whom she co-authored two volumes of short stories, From Wisdom Court (1893) and The Money-Spinner (1896).[10] Upon his death in 1903, Scott left £5,000 to Hall, writing that it was "in token of my gratitude for her continued assistance and literary advice, without which I should never have been able to have made a living by my pen".[11]

Hall's death certificate

Hall never married, and died in Wadhurst, East Sussex, on 13 April 1956, aged 87.[Note 1]



All publications appeared under the name S. G. Tallentyre.

  • From Wisdom Court (with Henry Seton Merriman). Heinemann, London 1893 (reprinted 1896).
  • The Money-Spinner and Other Character Notes (with Henry Seton Merriman). Smith, Elder & Co., London 1896 (reprinted 1897).
  • The Women of the Salons, and Other French Portraits. Longmans, London 1901.
  • The Life of Voltaire. Smith, Elder & Co., London 1903. OCLC 609483264. Vols. 1 & 2 at Google Books.
  • The Friends of Voltaire. Smith, Elder & Co., London 1906.
  • The Life of Mirabeau. Smith, Elder & Co., London 1908 (US edition 1912).[12]
  • Early-Victorian, A Village Chronicle. Smith, Elder & Co., London 1910 (US title: Basset, A Village Chronicle)
  • Matthew Hargraves. Smith, Elder and Co., London 1914.
  • Voltaire in His Letters (translator). John Murray, London 1919.
  • Love Laughs Last. W. Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh / London 1919.


  1. ^ a b Sources which date Hall's death to 1919, such as Fred R. Shapiro's The Yale Book of Quotations, are in error. The confusion may have arisen because Hall published no further written work after 1919.


  1. ^ "Notices under the Trustee Act". The London Gazette (40786): 3084. 25 May 1956. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Wills and Probate 1858–1996". Gov.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b Cox, Homer T. (1967). Henry Seton Merriman (Twayne's English Authors Series). New York: Twayne Publishers.
  4. ^ Tallentyre, S.G. (1906). "Helvétius: The Contradiction". The Friends of Voltaire. London: Smith, Elder, & Co. p. 199 – via Internet Archive.
  5. ^ Kinne, Burdette (1943), "Voltaire Never Said it!", Modern Language Notes, 58 (7): 534–535, doi:10.2307/2911066, JSTOR 2911066 – Article citing a letter dated 9 May 1939.
  6. ^ Boller, Jr., Paul F.; George, John (1989). They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 124–126. ISBN 0-19-505541-1.
  7. ^ Chapman, Bill (23 May 2005). "Voltaire Wrote..." Classroom Tools. Archived from the original on 8 May 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  8. ^ Venn, John; Venn, J.A., eds. (2011). Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900, Volume 2. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 205. ISBN 9781108036139. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Ethel Frances Hall". Cobbold Family History Trust. Archived from the original on 24 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  10. ^ Seccombe, Thomas; rev. Mills, Rebecca (2004). "Scott, Hugh Stowell (1862–1903)". In Mills, Rebecca (ed.). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/35988. Retrieved 2 May 2015. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)(registration required)
  11. ^ The Advertiser, (Adelaide, SA) 9 March 1904
  12. ^ "The life of Mirabeau : Tallentyre, S. G. (Stephen G.), 1868–1919 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". Retrieved 6 June 2014.