Mary Crawford Fraser

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Mary Crawford Fraser
Portrait of Mary Crawford Fraser.jpg
Born April 8, 1851 Edit this on Wikidata
Died 1922 Edit this on Wikidata (71 years)
Pen name Mrs Hugh Fraser Edit this on Wikidata
Occupation Novelist, travel writer, autobiographer edit this on wikidata

Mary Crawford Fraser (April 8, 1851[1] – 1922), usually known as Mrs. Hugh Fraser, was a writer noted for her various memoirs and historical novels.[2]


Mary Crawford was born in Italy, the daughter of American sculptor Thomas Crawford and Louisa Cutler Ward. She was sister to novelist Francis Marion Crawford and the niece of Julia Ward Howe (the American abolitionist, social activist, and poet most famous as the author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"). Her father died when she was young, and she was raised in Italy, as well as in England and New Jersey. She was educated at a girls' boarding school run by the Sewell sisters, famous for their contribution to Victorian educational literature, on the Isle of Wight.[3] The school received a number of pupils whose parents lived or worked in the British colonies and the sisters also took their charges on a number of foreign trips.[4] She credits the school with providing her with many of the skills necessary to be successful as a diplomat's wife, including proper correspondence and social graces.[5] As the wife of British diplomat Hugh Fraser, whom she married in 1874, she followed her husband to his postings in Peking, Vienna, Rome, Santiago, and Tokyo. In Rome in 1884, over the opposition of her mother, she converted to Catholicism.[6]

In 1889, her husband Hugh Fraser was posted to Japan as "Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary (head of the British Legation) to Japan—a diplomatic ranking just below that of full Ambassador. before the establishment of full and equal relations between Britain and Japan which Fraser was, in fact, negotiating. A month before the signing of the final treaty, her husband died suddenly in 1894, leaving her a widow after twenty years of marriage.

Still under her married name of Mrs. Hugh Fraser, she was the author of Palladia (1896), The Looms of Time (1898), The Stolen Emperor (1904), The Satanist (1912, with J. I. Stahlmann, the pseudonym of one of her sons, John Crawford Fraser)[7] Haining (1971)[8] considered that Fraser's "The Satanist" was one of the stories of the period which set the standards for 1960s occult fiction and is reflected in the stories of August Derleth and Dennis Wheatley.


  • More Italian Yesterdays (1915)
  • Italian Yesterdays, vol. 1 and vol. 2 (1913)


  1. ^ Hugh Cortazzi (1982). A Diplomat's Wife in Japan. Weatherhill. pp. xiii. ISBN 0-8348-0172-8.
  2. ^ "FRASER, Mrs. Hugh". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 636.
  3. ^ Mrs Hugh Fraser, A Diplomatist's Wife in Many Lands, 1911
  4. ^ Fraser, A Diplomatist's Wife in Many Lands, 1911
  5. ^ Fraser, A Diplomatist's Wife in Many Lands, 1911
  6. ^ Jozef Rogala (2001). A Collector's Guide to Books on Japan in English. Routledge. pp. xiii. ISBN 1-873410-90-5.
  7. ^ Punch – Volume 142 1912 – Page 125 "I suspect that Mrs. Hugh Fraser is responsible for the plot of The Satanist (Hutchinson), Mr. J. I. Stahlmann for the curious information, and Providence for the very happy combination of the two".
  8. ^ Peter Haining A circle of witches: an anthology of Victorian witchcraft 1971 p220 "THE SATANIST Mrs Hugh Fraser Mrs Hugh Fraser (1864–1925). With the death of Queen Victoria and the end of her long and restrictive reign, a great many aspects of the social climate changed : not the least of these being in the world of literature. Of course, there had been the occasional outspoken writer... To close, then, I have selected the following story of Satanism with its quite chilling scenes and vivid descriptions of a black mass. "The Satanist", along with several other stories of the same period set the standards for today's occult fiction and can be seen mirrored in the tales of August Derleth, Dennis Wheatley and, ..."

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