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Fraser Family fonds
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Education

This series begins with a single file of course notes taken by Frieda Fraser while a Form V student at Havergal College in 1915-1916. It is followed by others containing course and laboratory notes for the Physics and Biology section of the undergraduate honours Arts program at University College for second, third, and fourth year (1918-1921).

This is followed by a notebook for a biological project at St. Andrew's, New Brunswick, for the summer of 1921. It also contains a number of sketches that have no relationship to the course.

The series ends with some course and laboratory notes for the Bachelor of Medicine program at the University of Toronto.

Manuscripts, publications, and addresses

Professor Fraser had eleven scientific papers published between 1928 and 1964, though she wrote many reports and some papers that were not published. This series contains offprints of all of her published papers and a draft of one. Also included in this series is a short story she wrote in 1909, at the age of 10; a typescript of her undated "Report of a case of pernicious anemia", and an address, "D.P.T. vaccines" that she delivered on 4 December, 1964.

Research: general files

Beginning in the mid-1920s and even after her retirement in 1965, Dr. Fraser carried on research at the University of Toronto. For the first twenty years, usually with her brother, Donald, her research concentrated on the development of scarlet fever and other antitoxins. This research formed part of ongoing studies of certain aspects of infection and immunity in pneumonia, diphtheria, and scarlet fever, often in conjunction with health departments across Canada. It also involved the testing of products and the monitoring of scarlet fever outbreaks.

As the Second World War began, she started investigating the incidence of agglutinative types of strains of haemolytic streptococcus in a small scarlet fever ward at the Riverdale Isolation Hospital. Through the use of exacting technical procedures, she was able to prove the transfer of agglutinative types from one patient to another in the same ward. She continued work in this field and, in 1941-1942, by examining cultures from 650 people, was able to identify the incidence of particular types of streptococci in various groups of persons. The techniques perfected proved of particular use in studying the outbreak of scarlet fever in Royal Canadian Air Force bases across southern Ontario between 1941 and 1944. In 1942-1943 she worked on the preparation of a combined antigen containing diphtheria toxoid, tetanus toxoid, and tannic acid precipitate of scarlet fever toxin.

During the war, her research also included the development of penicillin, especially in relation to the campaign to combat venereal disease. From January, 1944, in co-operation with the penicillin committee of the armed forces, she conducted a bacteriological investigation of clinical material from patients treated with penicillin. At the same time she was actively engaged in the investigation of two antibiotics, streptothricin and streptomycin.

After the War Dr. Fraser continued her laboratory and clinical studies in antibiotics. One aspect of her research, between 1946 and 1948, was to test the effectiveness of penicillin in oil and wax in the treatment of gonorrhoea. In 1947, as a member of team including researchers from the Department of Botany, she spent much of her available time testing a group of new strain of micro-organisms for their activity against selected cultures. A number of new preparations of penicillin designed to prolong its action were also tested on laboratory animals and then on humans, this project extending into 1949. Further refinements in the testing of the effectiveness of penicillin were continued the next year.

In 1948 Dr. Fraser began a major study of antibiotic substances with special reference to tubercle bacillus and gram-negative cocci. A year later she was studying the antibiotic activity of several strains of penicillin against gram-negative bacilli of the enteric group. In 1950 she began another two-year project, studying the toxicity and protective effect of partially purified antibiotic substances isolated from fungi, utilizing
samples of Arctic soil. She also investigated the conditions for the production of antibiotics in deep culture.

In 1952 she began expanding on earlier research by exploring methods for the concentration of antibiotic from one of the strains of penicillin previously studied. The following year she was investigating methods for the electrophoresis on paper strips of vaccinia virus and a strain of bacteriophage, research that continued to be refined over the next several years with particular references to viruses. By 1957 she was beginning chemical tests of the fractions obtained by electrophoresis separation. Simple synthetic media were also developed for the propagation of phage on a non-pathogenic mycobacterium. In the late 1950s and the early 1960s Dr. Fraser's principal research was in a major project on the development of the anti-tuberculosis antigen, compound 377.

The eight boxes in this series contain research notes, background material, correspondence, data, articles and reports. The associated nine boxes of records of laboratory experiments are found in the next series.

The series begins with three boxes (019-021) of mimeographed and printed articles, and reports, and research notes on areas of interest, especially scarlet fever, tuberculosis, cultures, penicillin, electrophoresis, rheumatic fever, serum sickness, smallpox, spectrophotometry staphylococcus, streptococcus and venereal disease. The arrangement is largely alphabetical by topic.

Box 022 contains applications for, reports on, and correspondence regarding research grants for the years 1944-1964, on projects such as testing the effectiveness of penicillin, on new antibiotics, the electrophoresis of viruses, and tuberculosis vaccine trials.

Boxes 023 and 024 contain correspondence, notes, Dick, skin and lethal test results for research on scarlet fever streptococcus toxin production, and papers describing the results. Included are data for tests on rabbits, in schools, isolation hospitals, the Ontario School for the Deaf, orphanages, and students in the Public Health Nursing program at the University of Toronto. Much of this research was carried out at
the Connaught Laboratories, and the researchers corresponded with several other research institutes including the Richardson Pathological Laboratory at Queen's University.

Box 025 contains files on scarlet fever outbreaks amongst the Royal Canadian Air Force and other military personnel in bases across Ontario between 1941 and 1944. There are also more files of correspondence, notes, and reports, primarily from the 1930s and the early 1940s, on the development of scarlet fever antitoxin, on testing the effectiveness of penicillin in oil and wax in the treatment of gonorrhoea, and on the survival of streptococci and staphylococci in various products. The files from the 1950s relate largely to work on bacteria and viruses and to research methodology.

Box 026 contains the last general research files in this series. The correspondence, data, and reports are associated with a the development of compound 377. Sensitivity tests, clinical and drug trials were carried out at the Mountain Sanatorium in Hamilton, at the Toronto Hospital for Tuberculosis in Weston, and in London and Woodstock.

Personal and biographical

This series consists of a volume of Longfellow's poetry (last part, including back cover missing), with a bookplate with the coat-of-arms of the Williams family (Sir John Bickerton Williams, Kt., LLD, FSA), a certificate for the family plot in Mount Pleasant Cemetery (1916), a medical certificate for Edith (Bud) Williams from England (1927), and press clippings about her passion for mountain climbing (1962).

Fraser Family 1997 accession

Records documenting various members of the Fraser family including:

  • Zahn Family Chronicle and other family history items;
  • William H. Fraser's lecture notes in Spanish 1892-1905;
  • some family correspondence mainly belonging to either Donald T. Fraser and Frieda Fraser including Frieda Fraser's correspondence with her aunt and cousin in Germany;
  • sketches and paintings by Frieda Fraser;
  • family photographs.

Manuscripts and Publications

W. H. Fraser's principal writing were of textbooks on French and German grammar, co-authored by John Squair and William Henry Van der Smissen. They were used for two generations in Ontario schools and had wide acceptance elsewhere. They went through many editions, being published in Canada by Copp Clark, in the United States by D. C. Heath of Boston, and in the United Kingdom by George Harrap in London. On his own, Fraser wrote, in 1887, Un Philosophe sous les toits, Journal d'un Homme Hereux, par Emile Souvestre, and, later, a slim volume of Italian Exercises. Associated with the last is a scrapbook, mounted pages cut from a French grammar text with annotations in Italian.

Fraser Family 1995 accession

Records of the Fraser Family, principally William Henry Fraser, Prof. of Italian Studies and Spanish, and his wife, Helene; their children, Donald Thomas and Frieda Helen, both professors in the School of Hygiene, and Frieda's lifetime companion, Edith (Bud) Bickerton Williams, a veterinarian. Included are correspondence, course and laboratory notes, lecture notes, research files and notebooks (including work done during World War II), addresses, drafts of articles, prize books, photographs, slides, sketches and watercolours.

William Henry Fraser sous-fonds

This sous-fonds documents the career of William Henry Fraser as professor of Italian and Spanish at the University of Toronto and as a writer of high-school textbooks. It also includes correspondence by his wife, Helene Zohn.

Fraser, William Henry

Research: Laboratory Reports

Associated with the research files are nine boxes of laboratory notebooks with the results of experiments conducted between 1925 and 1964. The arrangement is chronological, and by notebook number where more than one is used in a project.

The earliest results, from 1925 to 1942 [boxes 027 to 029], relate largely to scarlet fever antitoxin research, though there are also some for vaccine research beginning in 1935. From 1942 to 1948 [boxes 030 and 031] the notebooks contain data for experiments on penicillin absorption, on Griffith cultures, on streptomycin, and the effectiveness of penicillin in the treatment of gonorrhoea.

The remaining notebooks in box 031 and the first one in box 032 (1948 to 1953) contain data collected for the experiments on the new strains of micro-organisms, on gram-negative cocci experiments. There follows five notebooks of data from experiments carried out between December, 1950 and December, 1952 on antibiotic strains of fungi, including strains isolated from samples of Arctic soil, and possibly on other projects as well.

The first notebook in box 033 contains data from experiments conducted in the first four months of 1953 that are not identified. There follow, in boxes 033 and 034, eleven notebooks of data from experiments conducted between May, 1953 and March, 1958 that are from Dr. Fraser's experiments on methods for the electrophoresis on paper of viruses and a strain of bacteriophage. These notebooks are related to six more containing data on phage experiments, beginning with the last file in box 034. They cover the period October, 1952 to September, 1957. This may be the data, which led to the development of simple synthetic media for the propagation of phage on a non-pathogenic mycobacterium.

The last two laboratory notebooks in this series contain later data (April, 1958-January, 1959) on phage experiments, and swabs from Public Health Nursing students taken between 22 January and 3 December, 1964.

Correspondence

This series consists of correspondence divided into two distinct parts. Except for a few letters received from family and friends between 1916 and the 1940s, the first part contains letters received by Bud from Frieda between 1924 and 1942, most of which were written before the end of 1927.

The second group of letters and cards is those received just before Bud's first stroke in 1976 and between then and her death in 1979. As Bud was unable to write, Frieda answered them, drafting most replies on the backs of cards and envelopes, which have been retained here. There was an enormous outpouring of support from friends and colleagues, and Bud's eldest sister, Betty, visited regularly.

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