An important figure among American psychiatrists, Dr. George Alder Blumer has occupied a distinguished place in Rhode Island life for many years. He was born at Sunderland, England, on May 25, 1857, a son of Dr. Luke and Mary Jane (Bone) Blumer, both now deceased. He was educated successively at private school in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, the Moravian School at Neu-wiedon-Rhine, Germany, the Lycee Corneille de Rouen, France, the University of Durham, and the University of Edinburgh.
Coming to the United States in 1877, Dr. Blumer was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1879, and subsequently at Edinburgh in 1844; after further study there became Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians and of the Royal College of Surgeons. In later years, in recognition of his distinguished career, Brown
University conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in 1905, and Hamilton College the degree of Doctor of Literature in 1921.
Meanwhile, however, his professional work was well under way. During 1879-80 he was resident physician at Lankenau Hospital, Philadelphia, and from 1880 to 1886 was assistant physician at the Utica (New York) State Hospital. In the latter year he became superintendent of that institution, and in 1899 came to Butler Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island, as physician in chief and superintendent. This position he occupied for almost a quarter of a century with great efficiency and success. Dr. Blumer became superintendent emeritus of the hospital in 1922.
During the period of his active career, Dr. Blumer rose to a position of recognized importance among the psychiatrists of the world. He served as editor for a number of years of the “American Journal of Psychiatry,” as president of the American Medico-Psychological Association in 1903, the Boston Society of Psychiatry and Neurology in 1904, and the New England Society of Psychiatry from 1917 to 1920. Dr. Blumer is an honorary member of the Royal Medico-Psychological Association of England, the Society of Mental Medicine of Belgium, and the Medico-Psychological Society of Paris. He is a corresponding member of the Society of Psychiatry of Paris, and, in other fields, is or has been secretary of the Rhode Island School of Design, president of the Providence Athenaeum, a member of the Rhode Island Historical Society, of which he was also president in 1926-27, a member of the National Institute of Social Sciences, the American Philological Association, and the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-on-Tyne. From 1893 to 1899 Dr. Blumer was also adjunct professor of insanity at Albany Medical College. In the field of his chosen occupation he has won distinguished success. In 1930 he was elected a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Chapter of Brown University.
On June 23, 1886, at Utica, New York, George Alder Blumer married Helen Antoinette Spriggs, daughter of J. Thomas Spriggs of that city, a lawyer and member of Congress. They are the parents of the following children: 1. Thomas Spriggs. 2. Helen Henderson, now Mrs. Helen Henderson Howe. 3. Mary Hay. 4. Esther Breakenridge, now Mrs. Esther Breakenridge Marshall.
Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.