Barbara Hall was born Isabelle Daniel Hall in Tucson, Arizona into an old Southern family. Her ancestors fought on the Southern side in the American Civil War. She studied painting in Los Angeles and moved to New York City in 1940,. She showed her portfolio to Harvey Comics in 1941, and was immediately hired to draw the comic 'Black Cat'. Her next strip was 'Girl Commandos', about an international team of Nazi-fighting women. This comic was developed from 'Pat Parker, War Nurse', about a "freelance fighter for freedom." When stationed in India, this nurse recruited a British nurse, an American radio operator, a Soviet photographer, and a Chinese patriot.
Barbara Hall continued this strip until 1943, when she married to writer and playwright Irving Fiske and became Barbara Hall Fiske. 'Girl Commandos' was taken over by Jill Elgin. Barbara Hall continued her art career as an oil painter. Together with her husband, she began an alternative living group/community in Rochester, Vermont, called the Quarry Hill Creative Center in 1946. She divorced Fiske in the 1970s and took the name Barbara Calhoun after her second marriage in the 1990s.