Born of a Scottish father and English mother, Gordon Fraser was brought up in England. He attended the Universities of Leeds, Cambridge and Munich and also the London School of Economics. While an undergraduate at Cambridge he started a small publishing business, The Minority Press. In the mid-thirties he opened a bookshop and picture gallery in Cambridge. In 1938, unable to find a Christmas card that was both inexpensive and in good taste he started the card company which bore his name. During the Second World War he served in the Intelligence Corps and was involved in the Partisan movement in Yugoslavia. A Russian speaker, he became head of Eastern European Broadcasting at the BBC after the war, which at that time included Russia. In 1948 he became Head of Radio at UNESCO in Paris where he remained until 1954. He resigned, feeling the organisation had moved from its early idealistic philosophy and become too political. From 1954 until his death in 1981 he devoted himself to the Gordon Fraser Gallery, the card company, which had continued to operate both during the war and during Gordon Fraser's time with the BBC and UNESCO. The company grew and additional companies were founded in the USA, Canada, France, Switzerland and Australia. He returned to publishing, his greatest love, and there were some fine publications of the classics under The Fraser Press as well as a wide selection under Gordon Fraser.
In 1936 he married Nancy Katharine Jones, an American whom he met while a student in Munich; they had two children Margaret and Ian who took over the running of the company following Gordon Fraser's death in a car accident. The company was sold in 1989. The Gordon Fraser Charitable Trust, created in 1966, was the largest shareholder in the Gordon Fraser Gallery, which had remained a private company. The Trust thus greatly benefited from the sale and grew in importance. Having been set up as a discretionary trust, the two trustees may give their support to whatever charitable organisations they wish. Gordon Fraser had a deep love for the Russian language, Russian literature and things Russian and also things a little eccentric. His Trust's support for Sharmanka is therefore eminently appropriate.
Created by: Nahm Record added: Oct 07, 2008
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