Hume, Samuel J. (Samuel James), 1885-1962

Alternative names
Birth 1885-06-14
Death 1962-09-01

Biographical notes:

Samuel J. Hume: Director of the UC Berkeley Greek Theatre and Professor of Dramatic Literature and Art, UC Berkeley, 1918-1924; scholar and in drama; antiquarian book dealer; died 1962.

Portia Bell Hume: Psychiatrist and Deputy Director the California State Department of Mental Hygine. Taught at UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley.

From the description of Samuel J. and Portia Bell Hume papers, 1848-1990 (bulk 1920-1971). (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 214973183

Biographical Information

Samuel J. Hume

Samuel James Hume, a leading scholar of drama and a nationally known theatrical director and producer, was born in San Francisco in 1885. Hume graduated from the University of California and Harvard.

He traveled widely in Europe, studying theaters and working under Edward Gordon Craig between 1908 and 1912. A member of the American Pageant Association, he directed pageants in Newark, N. J., Boston, St. Louis, St. Paul, Detroit and other cities. He was director of the Arts and Crafts Theater in Detroit from 1916-1918. Returning to California in 1918, Hume became Director of the Greek Theater and assistant professor of dramatic literature and art at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1924 he left the Greek Theater for a return to Europe to write Twentieth Century Stage Decoration with Walter Rene Fuerst. He married Portia Bell, who was studying sculpture in Paris, in 1927.

Hume returned again to California where he headed the Council on Oriental Relations from 1928-1936. He also served as a founder and director of the Berkeley Art Museum, director of the Berkeley Festival, and as the first Director of Avocational Activities for the State of California.

In 1949 Hume opened a bookstore called At the Sign of the Palindrome in Berkeley, a business he had conducted for several years from his home at, 2900 Buena Vista Way. The business specialized in books on fine arts, archaeology, decorative and graphic arts, textiles, the theater, costume, and ballet. Hume died in 1965.

Portia Bell Hume

Portia Bell Hume, Psychiatrist, was born in Napa, California on July 26, 1901. Hume was educated at the University of California. After graduation she studied sculpture in Paris, marrying Samuel J. Hume while there. When they returned to Berkeley, they built a home at 2900 Buena Vista Way. She returned to the university to study medicine, receiving her M.D. in 1938. She taught psychiatry at the Medical School in San Francisco, and at the Schools of Social Welfare and Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley from 1940 through 1971.

Hume began working for the State of California in 1942, first at the Langley Porter Clinic, then in 1947 she organized the Berkeley State Mental Hygiene Clinic. From 1951-1961 Dr. Hume was Deputy Director of the State Department of Mental Hygiene with offices in Sacramento and Berkeley. She was responsible for developing and administering a program for health services and clinics throughout the state. In this connection, she exercised considerable leadership in the passage of the Short-Doyle Act passed in 1957 by the California legislature. In April 1961 she was appointed Director of the new Center for Training in Community Psychiatry at Berkeley. With State support and federal training grants the Center offered a program of continuing education in the research, prevention and administration of comprehensive community psychiatry.

From the guide to the Samuel J. and Portia Bell Hume papers, 1848-1990, 1920-1971, (The Bancroft Library)


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Ark ID:


  • Pageants--History--20th century
  • Women in medicine
  • Theater
  • Neuropsychology
  • Theater--20th century


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  • United States (as recorded)
  • Berkeley (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California--Berkeley (as recorded)