FRASER, Margaret Ethel Victoria (1871-1962)



Born in Quebec City on October 5th 1871, Margaret Ethel Victoria Fraser was the daughter of Donald Fraser, banker, and of Elizabeth Jane Brown.

Fraser studied at the Girls’ High School in Quebec City. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree at Morrin College in 1894. She then moved to Toronto to pursue medical studies at the Ontario Medical College for Women, which she completed in 1899.

Since it was easier for female doctors to have careers in the United States at that time, Fraser began her medical practice at the New England Hospital for Women in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1905, she moved to Denver, Colorado, where she set up an office with Dr. Elsie S. Pratt. She also worked at the Denver County Hospital and for the Colorado State Board of Health.

During World War I, Fraser directed the American Women’s Hospital in La Ferté-Milon, a war-torn region of France. She was awarded the Médaille de la Reconnaissance française for her efforts in 1919.

Back in the United States, Fraser pursued higher studies in gynecology in New York City. She then worked in the health sector at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

In addition to her medical practice, Fraser was involved in women’s rights and environmental protection. She was a member of the American Association of University Women, worked on their scholarship program, and participated in meetings of the International Federation of University Women in Geneva, Helsinki and Copenhagen. She was also a co-founder of the Colorado Mountain Club in 1912, and the only woman on its first board of directors; this organization played a leading role in establishing Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.

She died in Montréal on March 3rd 1962.

– Patrick Donovan, June 2015

Image courtesy M. I. Pirie Drexel University College of Medicine Archives and Special Collections


  • BLAIR, Louisa, Patrick DONOVAN and Donald FYSON. From Iron Bars to Bookshelves. Quebec: Septentrion, 2015 (forthcoming).
  • Census of Canada 1871, 1881, 1891.
  • « Obituaries : Dr. Margaret Fraser ». The Gazette, Montreal, 14 March 1962, p.7.
  • KIRKWOOD, W. A. and A. H. YOUNG. The War Memorial Volume of Trinity College, Toronto. Toronto: Printers Guild, 1922.
  • McGill College and University. Annual Calendar of McGill College and University, Montreal, Session 1887-8. Montreal: John Lovell & Son, 1887.
  • Morrin College. Calendar of Morrin College, Quebec, 1897-98. Quebec : Printed at the Morning Chronicle office, 1897.
  • Registry of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Quebec. Baptism : 15 April, 1872. Drouin Collection.
  • Registry of Chalmers’ Church, Quebec. Wedding of parents : 30 June, 1869. Drouin Collection.