Rose Jane Frazer was born on August 13, 1923, to George P. and Myrtle Anne (Weir) Frazer, in Dalton, Kentucky. She graduated from Providence High School, in Providence, Kentucky, before her family moved to Barberton, Ohio.
Frazer attended Brenau College for Women in Gainesville, Georgia, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and music in 1945. She married Lawrence Summers at her family’s home in Barberton, Ohio, on March 16, 1947. Soon after, they moved to Ames, Iowa, so Larry Summers could finish his postgraduate studies at Iowa State University.
The couple moved to Grand Forks in 1950 when Larry Summers was hired as a faculty member in the chemistry department at the University of North Dakota. During the late 1950s, Jane Summers worked as an interviewer for the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. After her children, Anne and Edith, left home, she worked as a Realtor with Valley Park Realty in Grand Forks. She also managed the state motor vehicle license office in Grand Forks, and was employed part time in the Department of Special Collections at UND’s Chester Fritz Library.
Summers was a musician and supporter of the arts her entire life. She played violin and later viola in the Greater Grand Forks Symphony for 35 years and also served as a member of its board. She also played viola in the UND Faculty String Quartet during the 1960s and 1970s, and joined the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony for several concerts in the 1990s. She was an active member of the North Dakota Council on the Arts, in addition to raising funds for and volunteering at the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks.
Summers served as President of the Grand Forks League of Women Voters in 1952-53, and helped organize the North Dakota League of Women Voters. In 1958, the group was officially recognized and Summers acted as its first President. In the 1960s, she became active in the Democratic/Nonpartisan League. She was the first President of the Democratic Women of Grand Forks, in which she was active for many years. Summers was a member of the Executive Committee of the District Democratic Party for sixteen years, the State Democratic Policy Committee for five years, and the State Democratic Central Committee for three years. She was appointed to and served on the North Dakota Advisory Committee for the United States Civil Rights Commission for seventeen years.
Beginning in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, she lobbied the North Dakota Legislature on behalf of the North Dakota Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood. She later lobbied for women and children's groups from Grand Forks. Jane Frazer Summers died on November 1, 2002, in Bismarck.
The Jane Frazer Summers Papers date from 1923-2002 and consist primarily of correspondence. The correspondents include her mother and father; daughters, Anne and Edith; her granddaughter, Edith; her husband, Larry; her sister, Georgana; and numerous other people. Also included is material related to the North Dakota Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Citizens for a Real Choice, the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, and Summers' memorial service.
44 photographs were separated and placed in the Photograph Collection.
Cassette Tape 2078: Jane Frazer Summers' Memorial Service, November 9, 2002