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COLLECTION Identifier: Arch GA 30.1

Cecil E. Fraser papers


Research, writing, administrative, and teaching records of Harvard Business School professor Cecil E. Fraser.


  • 1919-1947

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored offsite; access requires advance notice. HBS Archives collections require a secondary registration form, please contact for more information.
Access Restrictions: Access may be restricted. Details at the repository. An appointment is necessary to consult collection.


6 linear feet (19 boxes)
Researchers interested in the student experience at HBS may want to consult Series I, Student Work, containing notebooks prepared by Fraser while a graduate student at HBS.

Researchers interested in Fraser’s teaching activities or in the evolution of case teaching methods in the 1920s will want to look closely at Series II, HBS Teaching Records, which includes a variety of notes, questions, annotated cases, and other materials used by him in HBS classrooms. The series is especially interesting in that it affords an opportunity for comparing two sets of case teaching materials relating to the same subject (Finance) taught by Fraser circa 1927 and revised by him for reuse in another class circa 1930.

Fraser’s opinions on a number of topics are outlined in speeches and writings contained in Series III, HBS Research and Writing. Topics addressed include the war effort in World War II as it related to institutions of learning, and the advantages of the case method in business education.

Additional insight into Fraser’s approach to the case method of teaching business administration can be gleaned from the Series IV, HBS Administrative Records, containing notes and reports pertaining to case studies of businesses done in preparation for presenting business problems in the classroom. His feelings about the case system are more specifically spelled out in the HBS Research and Writing Series.

Also in Series IV, researchers will find pertinent documentation about Fraser’s activities as a coordinator of HBS interactions with the military during World War II. WWII materials include correspondence and reports regarding the mobilization effort in general, as well as documents specifically focusing on a particular Service School. Records pertaining to officer candidates for the Army and Navy are also included.

Biographical Note:

Cecil Eaton Fraser was born in 1895 in Champaign, Illinois, and died in 1947 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received the BA from Harvard in 1919 and the MBA from HBS in 1921. He served as a field artillery officer in 1917-1918 during World War I. His major focus at HBS was Finance. Positions held by him at HBS included: Research Staff Member and Office Manager, Bureau of Business Research, 1921-1926; Instructor in Finance and Transportation, 1923-1924; Instructor in Finance, 1924-1926; Assistant Professor of Industrial Finance, 1926-1929; Associate Professor of Industrial Finance, 1929-1931; Associate Professor of Business Administration; and Assistant Dean.

Business activities occupied Fraser from 1931-1940. He was Treasurer and later Director of Incorporated Investors from 1930-1936, and was President and Director of Massachusetts Distributors, Inc., from 1936-1939. Other positions of responsibility included: Commissioner of the Cambridge Sinking Fund; Director of the East End Union; President and Director of the Boston Fund; President of the Cambridge Club; President of the HBS Alumni Association; Treasurer of Buckingham School; Trustee of the Avon Home; and Trustee of the Cambridge Savings Bank. He also served on the Massachusetts Special Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

Fraser’s return to HBS in 1940 was at the request of Dean Wallace Donham, who wanted him to be a liaison between the Business School and the U.S. Army and Navy as they established various training programs for officers in World War II. Fraser’s principal field at HBS during the war was Industrial Mobilization and Demobilization. He served as liaison with the armed services for Harvard University in general, as well as for HBS.

Fraser was the author or editor of several books, including: Problems in Finance (several editions, including 1927 and 1930, based on his classroom materials used at HBS); Analyzing Our Industries, 1932; and Industry Goes to War, 1941.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:
  1. Series I. Student Work (HBS), 1919-1921
  2. Series II. HBS Teaching Records: MBA and Doctoral Programs, 1924-1947
  3. Series III. HBS Research and Writing, 1921-1946
  4. Series IV. HBS Administrative Records, 1924-1947
  5. ___Subseries A. Bureau of Business Research, 1924-1931
  6. ___Subseries B. World War II General Files, circa 1920s-1947
  7. ___Subseries C. World War II Service Schools, 1940-1945
  8. Series V. Restricted HBS Administrative Records, 1941-1947

Physical Location


Processing Information

Processed: November 1996

By: Jeff Mifflin
Link to catalog
Fraser, Cecil Eaton, 1895-1947. Cecil E. Fraser Papers, 1919-1947: A Finding Aid
Baker Library

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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