Register of the Russell G. Frazier Papers,

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information

Collection Overview +/-

Title: Russell G. Frazier Papers
Dates: 1930-1968 (inclusive)
Collection Number: Mss B 112
Summary: Physician, explorer. Correspondence, diaries, unpublished articles, scrapbooks. Correspondents include Julius F. Stone, and Amos Burg, explorer for the National Geographic Society. Diaries concern river trips on Yampa, Yellowstone, Missippi, and Missouri Rivers. There are also notes made on acclimatization in the Antarctic and tests of military antiexposure suits. One scrapbook documents Admiral R. E. Byrd's Antarctic expedition in 1939.
Repository: Utah State Historical Society

Collection Inventory +/-

Box Folder Contents
box , folder : Correspondence
box 1, folder 1 : With Julius F. Stone, Everett Cooley, Amos Burg,
box , folder : Articles by Frazier
box 1, folder 2 : "Bingham Canyon"
box 1, folder 3 : "A Doctor Goes to the Antarctic"
box 1, folder 4 : Grand Canyon Articles (untitled)
box 1, folder 5 : "Hermits I have Met"
box 1, folder 6 : "Rapids Ahead"
box 1, folder 7 : "Utah's Tierra Del Fuego"
box , folder : Miscellaneous papers
box 1, folder 8 : Yellowstone-Missouri-Mississippi Trip, 1949
box 1, folder 9 : Diary, Yellowstone-Missouri-Mississippi Trip, 1949
box 1, folder 10 : Notes, Yampa River Trip, 1937
box 1, folder 11 : Diary, Lake Powell, 1965
box 1, folder 12 : Notes and Articles, Acclimatization in Antarctic
box 1, folder 13 : Tests on Military Anti-exposure Suits
box 1, folder 14 : Published Articles, Dr. Russell G. Frazier
box 1, folder 15 : Certificates
box 1, folder 16 : Clippings
box , folder : Scrapbooks (located in oversize "B" Mss)
box 2, folder 1 : 1938-1940
box 2, folder 2 : 1947-1954
box 3, folder 1 : 1953-1960
box 3, folder 2 : 1964-1968
box 4, folder : South Pole Expedition

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

Dr. Russell G. Frazier (1893-1968) claimed that he was predestined both by ancestry and early upbringing for the adventuresome career he enjoyed as a mining camp physician, river runner, and Antarctic explorer. One of his ancestors, he said, was John Paul Jones, and another was one of George Washington's generals who became an aide-de-camp to Lafayette. After his birth at Frazier Bottoms in Kanawha Valley, West Virginia, Frazier recalled, his mother had to hire a cousin to keep watch on him to keep him out of the river, and his earliest reading included the stories of such seagoing adventurers as Robinson Crusoe.

After graduation from Morris Harvey College in Charleston, West Virginia, Frazier became interested in the field of medicine, and went on to receive his medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in 1919. On 28 July of that same year, in Louisville, he married Irene Johnson of Chesley, Ontario, Canada.

Frazier's instinct for adventure was aroused by an offer he received to become a company physician for the Utah Copper Company at Bingham, Utah. Leaving his wife behind temporarily, he made the trip on borrowed money and reported for work with a mere three dollars in his pocket. It proved to be just the kind of employment that he wanted.

Although Frazier remained at his medical practice in Bingham until his retirement in 1951, he became so enamored with the scenic back country in Utah that he accepted two associates into his practice to allow himself more time for exploration. Soon he discovered the thrill of running Western rivers such as the Middle Fork of the Salmon in Idaho, the Yampa and the Colorado. His river trips led to other historical explorations, including the search for the stone steps that revealed that the Dominguez-Escalante party actually crossed the Colorado River at Padre Creek rather than the "Crossing of the Fathers."

Frazier's greatest achievement as an explorer, though, was his participation in Admiral Richard E. Byrd's third Antarctic expedition in 1939-1941, for which he received a Congressional medal in 1947. During that trip, Frazier, who was the party's physician, carried out significant research on the physiological effects of exposure to extreme cold over long periods of time. It was during that trip, in 1940, that Frazier carried the Utah state flag to the South Pole.

After retirement from his medical practice in 1951, Frazier lived with his wife in Salt Lake City, where he spent much of his time writing and compiling narratives and records of his expeditions. Cancer claimed his life in 1968.

Content Description +/-

The manuscript collection for which this register serves as a guide is only a small part of the material donated to the Utah State Historical Society by the heirs of Dr. Russell G. Frazier. The Society also received a large number of books from his personal library and many still photographs and motion pictures documenting his explorations. In addition, the researcher is advised to check other manuscript collections relating to the Colorado River for material on Frazier.

The first folder of manuscripts in this collection contains correspondence with fellow river runners and other friends. The next six folders contain manuscript drafts of articles written by Frazier describing various episodes in his career as doctor at Bingham and as an explorer. Several successive folders contain diaries and miscellaneous papers regarding river trips on the Yellowstone-Missouri-Mississippi system, the Yampa, and the Colorado. Folders 12 and 13 contain notes and results of various experiments undertaken in the Antarctic regarding acclimatization of the members of the Byrd party and tests (not done by Frazier) of a specialized antiexposure suit manufactured for the military by B. F. Goodrich.

The last three folders in the collection contain a variety of materials relating to Frazier's career. They include published articles both by and about him, various certificates, including his membership in the Explorers' Club and the Royal Geographic Society, and a copy of a poem, "Colorado Days," written and autographed by Frederick S. Dellenbaugh. Finally, there is a folder of newspaper clippings about Frazier and his achievements.

Five large scrapbooks are also part of the collection. They document the period 1938-1968, and are wrapped and shelved separately because of their large size. A chronological list of scrapbook contents is appended to this register.

Collection Use +/-

Restrictions on Access:

Restrictions on Access

Administrative Information +/-



Frazier, Russell G., 1893-1968.




Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008


4 boxes (2 linear ft.)

Language of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written in Englishin Latin script

EAD Creation Date: