Papers of Alexander Garden Fraser

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Memoranda, press cuttings, printed items, correspondence, reports, articles and speeches relating to Fraser's work as a missionary and teacher in Uganda, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), the Gold Coast (now Ghana), Scotland and Jamaica. Included are circular letters (entitled "Journals" and "Letter to Prayer Helpers") written by Fraser and his wife whilst in Uganda, Ceylon and the Gold Coast, and letters from Fraser to his wife and son ("Sandy").

Administrative / Biographical History

Alexander Garden Fraser, CBE, was born on the 6 October 1873. He was educated at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh, and Trinity College, Oxford. He intended to read for the Bar but in his second year at Oxford changed to History with the intention of becoming a Colonial school teacher.

On leaving Oxford Fraser spent a year working as Secretary to the Student Volunteer Missionary Union. In 1900 he was accepted by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) who sent him to Uganda; there he married Beatrice Glass who was also engaged in missionary work. After less than three years in Uganda Fraser and his family had to return to England due to illness; Fraser with a disease later diagnosed as sleeping sickness. In England, Fraser studied theology for a year and then, in 1904, was invited by the CMS to go to Ceylon as Principal of Trinity College in Kandy. He held this post continuously until 1924 with the exception of a period in 1907 when he suffered from a recurrence of sleeping sickness which necessitated treatment in England, and during World War I when he served as Chaplain with the British Expeditionary Force in France (he had been ordained in 1914). Between 1920-1921 Fraser also served as Chairman of an Education Commission sent by the missionary societies of Great Britain and America to investigate the question of Indian village education. He was, in addition, Educational Adviser to the CMS for South India which involved making tours of the South Indian Missions.

In 1924 Fraser was appointed Principal of the Prince of Wales College in Achimota, Accra, in the Gold Coast, a post he held for eleven years. A book published in 1962 entitled Achimota: the early years by Charles Kingsley Williams, records the growth of the College under Fraser, the author was himself an Assistant Vice-Principal of the College from 1927 to 1938.

Fraser left the Gold Coast in 1935 when he was appointed as the first Principal of the College of Adult Education at Newbattle Abbey, Dalkeith, Scotland. When the college was closed at the outbreak of World War II, Fraser went to Jamaica as Principal of Friends' College in Highgate. His elder son, also A.G. Fraser ('Sandy'), was then headmaster of Munro College in Jamaica. Fraser returned to Great Britain in 1943 when he was appointed Chaplain to the Outward Bound Sea School in Aberdovey, Wales. Three years later he moved to Gordonstoun School in Elgin, Scotland, as Assistant Chaplain; a serious motorcycle accident in 1951 brought this appointment to an end. Fraser died on the 27 January 1962.

Conditions Governing Access

Bodleian reader's ticket required.

Note

Collection level description created by Marion Lowman, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room and a handlist is also available for this collection.

Listed as nos. 633 and 924 in Manuscript Collections of Africana in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, compiled by Louis B. Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1968) as no. 199 in Manuscript Collections (excluding Africana) in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, compiled by Louis B. Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1970).

Conditions Governing Use

No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.

Custodial History

Deposited with the Oxford Colonial Records Project.