David Kennedy Fraser's father was Alec Yule Fraser (1850-1890). His mother was Marjory Kennedy (1857-1930). David's father died when he was two years old. His mother, Marjory, then lived in Mayfield Road, Edinburgh, with her own mother Elizabeth Kennedy and her two sisters Margaret and Jessie. David had a younger sister, Helen (born 1890).
David Kennedy Fraser attended George Watson's Boys' College in his home town of Edinburgh from 1893 to 1904. Fraser passed Latin at Higer level in the Scottish Leaving Certificate examinations in 1903, then, also at the Higher grade, Mathematics (Honours), Dynamics, and English in the following year. After having passed the Preliminary Examination for Edinburgh University, he first matriculated there in October 1904 at the age of sixteen. When he first matriculated he gave his address as 3 Mayfield Road, Edinburgh, but it was scored out and replaced by 95A George Street, Edinburgh.
In 1904-05, his first year of study, he took classes at Ordinary level in Mathematics, Latin, and Natural Philosophy. In 1905-06 he studied Logic and Chemistry at Ordainary level and Intermediate Mathematics at Honours level. After taking a Chemistry Laboratory course in the summer of 1906, he then studied Honours Advanced Mathematics in 1906-07. He took courses on Electricity, and Constitution of matter in the summer of 1907, then, in session 1907-08, he took Honours courses on Advanced Mathematics, Dynamics and Thermodynamics, and Electrostatics. He completed his degree with courses on Electrokinetics and on Function Theory in 1908-09.
Kennedy-Fraser was awarded a B.Sc. (Pure) in 1908 and an M.A. with Second Class Honours in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in 1909. He then studied at the University of Leipzig and at Moray House in Edinburgh before going to the Cornell University in 1913 to study under G M Whipple. In the following year he was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at Cornell University. In May 1914 Cornell University newspaper contained this report:-
D Kennedy Fraser, a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, was elected assistant professor in the department of education, on account of the coming retirement of Professor De Garmo. Mr Fraser studied at the Teachers' Training College at Edinburgh and also at the University of Leipzig. During the last year he has been a student here under Professor G M Whipple.
In October 1914 there was a further report:-
Dr D Kennedy-Fraser, a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, who was assistant in the educational laboratory in 1913 - 14, has been appointed assistant professor of education for the coming year. He will carry on the courses of instruction announced by Dr Whipple and will have full charge of the educational laboratory. Dr Fraser is a man of broad education, thoroughly conversant with his field, and familiar with the methods which have made the work of the educational laboratory famous.
Back in Scotland, Kennedy-Fraser was appointed as a Lecturer in Education at Edinburgh University in 1919 and also at Moray House. He held these posts until 1923 when he was appointed as a Psychologist to Glasgow Education Authority and at the same time Lecturer in Psychology at Jordanhill Training College.
David Kennedy Fraser joined the Edinburgh Mathematical Society in June 1908 while he was still a student at the University of Edinburgh. He served the Society as a member of the library committee from November 1908, remaining in the post for several years. He was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 4 March 1929, his proposers being James Drever, George Alexander Carse, James Hartley Ashworth, Sir Edmund T Whittaker.
An obituary, written by 'A Former Colleague', appears in the Royal Society of Edinburgh Year Book 1963, pages 18-19.
We give a version of this obituary at THIS LINK.
He was also a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and of the Educational Institute of Scotland.
Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson