Born in 1854 in Hoyerhagen, Hannover, Germany, Rudolph Harin Heinrich Blome emigrated with his family to the United States at age fourteen. After high school in Illinois, Blome decided to pursue a career in teaching and received a teacher's certificate from Northwestern College at Naperville in 1877. He taught in several elementary schools, before securing a position in 1883 as the Principal of Schools in Elmhurst, Illinois. In 1890, Blome graduated from Illinois State Normal School, and from 1892 to 1897 he served as principal of Rice Collegiate Institute at Paxton. Blome recognized that in order to progress in his chosen field he must earn an advanced degree. The most economical approach involved moving his family (wife Mary Jane Pierce and four children) to Germany and attending the University of Jena. In 1900, he was awarded the degree of doctor of philosophy and returned with his family to the United States.
Blome accepted a teaching position at Tempe Normal School and was soon promoted to Director. In 1909, he was named president of Northern Arizona Normal School. He immediately brought to the campus a sense of professionalism, initiative, and enthusiasm. Under Blome's leadership, a multitude of academic and recreational student activities were developed, including interscholastic sports. The number of students attending classes rose from sixty-eight to more than three hundred. Blome expanded the facilities to accommodate the growth.
Despite all of these accomplishments, Blome, one of the school's finest presidents, was forced to leave under the most unfortunate circumstances. A victim of the anti-German hysteria associated with World War I, Blome encountered hostility toward his German birth and education from a few politically placed individuals. For months, Flagstaff and the student body rallied against his removal; however, politics prevailed, and Blome was dismissed in the spring of 1918. He found employment as the principal of Bisbee High School and in 1919 became director of vocational education for Arizona. In 1921, Blome moved to Pasadena, California, where he died in 1923.
Condensed from Platt Cline, Mountain Campus: The Story of Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff: Northland Press, 1983), chapter III.