John Lesslie Hall was one of the seven professors known as the Seven Wise Men. he was hired as the professor of English and History in 1888, while he was still a doctoral candidate. He earned his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University in 1892. When the curriculum was changed in 1898, he taught English Language and Literature and General History. He continued to teach at the College until 1928. He was born in Richmond, Va., 2 March 1856. He attended Randolph-Macon College. Taught school. Married Margaret Fenwick. Among other volumes, he published a translation of Beowulf and co-authored an Anglo-Saxon grammar. Hall died in 1928. He is the father of John Lesslie Hall, Jr., an admiral in the United States Navy during Wolrd War II.
Professor Hall's portrait hangs in the Botetourt Gallery in Swem Library.