TABLE OF CONTENTS
An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
British diplomat and author, Sir (Arthur) Ronald Fraser was born 3 November 1888 to John and Louise Fraser. After receiving his education at St. Paul's School, Fraser enlisted in the British military in 1914 and served in Flanders and France during World War I. In 1917, having been wounded and rendered unfit for further military service, Fraser joined the British Civil Service's Department of Overseas Trade.
Fraser enjoyed a rapid rise through the Civil Services ranks. His first appointment in 1918 was on the Inter-Allied Black List Committee as British Representative. In 1923 he took the position of assistant secretary to the Imperial Economic Conference. Advancing his career, Fraser moved on to a five-year stint as assistant secretary for the Balfour Committee on Industry and Trade. By the early 1930s, Fraser had achieved a level of success in the Civil Service which opened opportunities to serve Britain internationally. In Buenos Aires in 1933, Fraser acted as general secretary during the Anglo-Argentine negotiations and as a Board of Trade advisor to the British Ambassador during the subsequent tariff negotiations.
Upon completion of his duties in Argentina, Fraser returned to England and accepted the assistant secretary position at the Board of Trade until his appointment as Minister (Commercial) to the British Embassy in Paris in September 1944. After five years in Paris, Fraser moved to Cairo, Egypt, where he served as Resident Government Director, Suez Canal Company.
Throughout his diplomatic career, Fraser wrote, publishing 31 works from 1924 until 1974, the year of his death. The London Times commented on Fraser's "entertaining gift of fantasy" which at its best attained "a nice level of fantastic comedy." Fraser's earlier works are considered to be his best, particularly Rose Anstey (1930), the most highly regarded among his works.
Fraser accepted recognition for his service to his country beginning in 1930 with his induction into the Order of the British Empire (MBE), followed by the Companion of St. Michael and St. George (CMG) honor in 1934. Finally in 1949, Fraser received the Knights Commander Order of the British Empire (KBE). Sir Fraser married Sylvia Blanche Powell in 1915 and had four children, two sons and two daughters. Fraser died 12 September 1974 at the age of 85.
The Ronald Fraser Papers, ca. 1930-1955 (bulk 1930-1932), consist of two original manuscripts: Rose Anstey and Marriage in Heaven. Additionally, the papers include notes, gathered by Fraser, pertaining to a trial of importance to British interests in 1944.
Published in 1930, Rose Anstey was the first of Fraser's novels to gain attention. The original manuscript, written in ink, consists of five notebooks bearing Fraser's original title of "The Three Gentlemen. "Fraser revised extensively throughout the manuscript, showing many cancellations which remain legible. He also included a pen and ink drawing in the first notebook following the manuscript, and a diary entry, dated July 30 (ny), preceding the manuscript in the fifth notebook.
Fraser followed Rose Anstey with Marriage in Heaven in 1932. Also written in ink, the original manuscript shows heavy revision, including three versions of chapter one and an additional version of chapters two through four. Forty six pages lie between chapters 15 and 24. Though unnumbered and devoid of any chapter designations, these pages are probably chapters 16-23. The manuscript is written on 405 quarto pages, some of which bear the official seal of Fraser's employer, Department of Overseas Trade.
Fraser's typed notes pertain to the trial of two youths accused of assassinating Walter Edward Guinness Moyne, Minister of State in Cairo, in November 1944. Fraser covered the trial, held in January 1945, for the British government, and sent dispatches back to England summarizing the trial's proceedings. At least some of the notes, if not all, were written and gathered in 1954. Of special note are the excerpts of interviews conducted by Gerold Frank. There is also a single letter to an unidentified correspondent.
Open for research
Purchase, 1963 (Reg #1248)
Brenda Gunn, 1995