Fonds 1260 - Clarence B. Farrar fonds

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UTA 1260


Clarence B. Farrar fonds


  • 1865-1990, predominant 1890-1970 (Creation)

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13 m of records (multimedia) (43 boxes)

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Dr. Clarence Bynold Farrar (1874-1970) contributed to the development of modern psychiatry in North America for nearly a half a century. From 1925 to 1947, Dr. Farrar served as director of the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital and professor and head of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. In addition, he was editor of one of the world’s leading psychiatric journals, the American Journal of Psychiatry, for 34 years.

Dr. Farrar was born in Cattaragus, New York, on November 27, 1874. He graduated from Cattaragus High School in 1891. He spent the next two years as an undergraduate at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania before transferring to Harvard College. After receiving an A.B. from Harvard in 1896, Dr. Farrar entered John Hopkins Medical School. There, he studied under the giants of medicine - William Osler, William Welch, William Halstead, and Howard Kelly - and graduated with his M.D. in 1900.

Upon graduation from medical school, Dr. Farrar served two years of internship at the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He then went to the University of Heidelberg for postgraduate training in psychiatry. From 1902 to 1904, Dr. Farrar worked under the supervision of several of the founders of modern psychiatry and neuropatholgy - Emil Kraepelin, Franz Nissl, and Aloys Alzheimer.

In 1904, Dr. Farrar returned to Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital to become Assistant Physician and Director of Laboratories. At the same time, he was made Associate in Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Medical School. In 1913, Dr. Farrar moved to Trenton Hospital, New Jersey, where he took an appointment as Assistant Physician and Lecturer in Abnormal Psychology at Princeton University. Later, from 1916 to 1923, Dr. Farrar served as Chief Psychiatrist in the Department of Soldier’s Civil Re-establishment in Ottawa.

In 1926, after a short period as Medical Director of Homewood Sanitarium in Guelph, Ontario, Dr. Farrar was appointed Medical Director of the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital and Professor and Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1947. During his tenure, the Department of Psychiatry initiated the first Canadian graduate programme in psychiatry and the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital became the premier institute for training psychiatrists in English Canada.

Dr. Farrar’s academic and clinical approach to psychiatry was undoubtedly influenced by his connections with the American Journal of Psychiatry. Between 1931 and 1965, he served as editor of the prestigious journal. His stature as editor was such that, in 1957, a volume of the American Journal of Psychiatry was dedicated “to show Dr. Farrar as an eminent psychiatric scholar, an outstanding clinician and a wise and effective editor” [1]. Upon his retirement as Editor, Dr. Farrar was made Editor emeritus.

For his significant contributions to psychiatry, Dr. Farrar received many national and international honours. These include: a D.Sc. from McGill University in 1961; an L.L.D. from the University of Toronto in 1964; the Order of Service Medal from Canada in 1969; and the Thomas W. Salmon Committee Award from the New York Academy of Medicine in 1969.

Dr. Farrar married Evelyn Linwood Lewis of Alexandria, Virginia in 1911. The couple had two daughters, Evelyn Aida, born in 1914, and Clarice Elaine, born in 1918. Dr. Farrar later married Joan Gage in 1964. He died in his Toronto home at the age of 95, on June 3, 1970. In Dr. Farrar’s memory, Dr. Aldwyn B. Stokes, his successor at TPH, wrote: “To all his friends, his colleagues and his students, his passing is grievous – they will mourn the man while remembering with gratitude, his good works and his great influence on the psychiatry of his era” [2].


27 November, 1874 Born in Cattaraugus, New York.

1891 Graduated from Cattaraugus High School.

1891-1893 Attended Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

1893-1896 Attended Harvard University where he received his A.B. in 1896.

1896-1897 Attended Harvard Medical School.

1897-1900 Attended Johns Hopkins Medical School where he received his doctorate in medicine in 1900.

1900-1902 Completed internship at Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, in Baltimore, Maryland.

1902-1904 Studied in Heidelberg, Germany with Emil Kraepelin, Franz Nisl and Aloys Alzheimer.

1906 His father, Thomas Jefferson Farrar, passed away.

1904-1913 Returned to Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital in Towson, Maryland. There, he served as Assistant Physician and Director of Laboratories. At the same time, he was also Associate Professor in Psychiatry at the John Hopkins Medical School.

15 September, 1911 Married Evelyn Linwood Lewis of Alexandria, Virginia.

1913-1916 Moved to Trenton, New Jersey to take up an appointment as Assistant Physician at the New Jersey State Asylum and as Lecturer in Abnormal Psychology at Princeton University.

9 July, 1914 Daughter, Evelyn Aida, was born.

1916-1923 Held position of Chief Psychiatrist Department of Soldier’s Re-establishment in Ottawa and Cobourg, Ontario.

13 March, 1918 Daughter, Clarice Elaine, was born.

1921-1926 Served as Senior Surgeon in the United States Public Health Service Reserve.

1923-1925 Held position of Medical Director of Homewood Sanatorium in Guelph, Ontario.

1925-1947 Served as Medical Director of the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital and as Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

1929 Made Charter Fellow, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

1931-1965 Served as editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

1932 Initiated the first Canadian educational program for graduate physicians entering psychiatry as a medical specialty.

1934 His mother, Marie Farrar, passed away.

1939 Made a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

1947 Retired from the University of Toronto and made Professor emeritus of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

1961 Awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from McGill University.

1964 Awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from the University of Toronto.

1964 Married Joan Gage.

1965 Named Editor emeritus of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

1969 Received Order of Canada.

1969 Granted the Distinguished Service Award of the Thomas U. Salmon Committee on Psychiatry and Mental Hygiene from the New York Academy of Medicine.

3 June, 1970 Passed away at his home in Toronto.


[1] “Dedication”, American Journal of Psychiatry, Volume 113, Number 10 (April 1957).
[2] A.B. Stokes, “In Memoriam” in 100 Years of Psychiatry: From the Archives of Dr. C.B. Farrar, History of Canadian Psychiatry and Mental Health Archives Finding Aid for the C.B. Farrar fonds.

Archival history

Dr. Farrar’s records were physically transferred to the University Archives in 1998 and 1999. The majority of these records came from Mrs. Farrar’s home in Toronto. Further, between 1994 and 1999, other parts of Dr. Farrar’s fonds were stored, arranged, and made publicly accessible at the History of Canadian Psychiatry and Mental Health Archives. These records were later transferred to the University of Toronto Archives in April 1999. As a consequence of their complicated custodial history, the original order of Dr. Farrar’s records has been lost.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of the personal and professional papers of Dr. Clarence B. Farrar. These records broadly document all aspects of Dr. Farrar’s long life - from his childhood in Cattaragus, New York during the 1870s to his active retirement in Toronto during the 1960s. Most of the records concern Dr. Farrar’s professional activities at Sheppard Enoch Pratt Hospital, New Jersey State Asylum, the Department of Soldier’s Civil Re-establishment, the Homewood Sanatorium, Toronto Psychiatric Hospital and the U. of T. Department of Psychiatry. Types of professional records include: administrative correspondence; research notes; lecture notes; patient files; brain slides; and photographs. Further, this fonds also contains Dr. Farrar’s correspondence with the greatest doctors and psychiatrists of his time - William Osler, Franz Nissl, Emil Kraepelin, C.K. Clark, and Edward N. Brush. This fonds also includes Dr. Farrar’s personal records such as photographs of and correspondence with family members and colleagues.

However, in addition, to documenting Dr. Farrar’s life, these records are also significant because they shed light on the history of Canadian psychiatry. Little is known about psychiatric teaching and clinical practice in the first half of the twentieth century. Dr. Farrar’s records therefore provide a much needed commentary on this period. Indeed, Dr. Edward Shorter, the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at the University of Toronto, writes: “Through Farrar’s long career in North American run some of the fundamental themes of psychiatry and the history of psychiatry … He participated intimately in these events and left us a full record” [1].


  1. Edward Shorter, “The Recent Revolution in the History of Psychiatry” in TPH History and Memories of the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital, 1925-1966, Edward Shorter ed., (Toronto: Wall and Emerson, 1996), p. 14 and 59.

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Records containing personal health information are restricted according to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

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For records related to the administration of the University of Toronto Department of Psychiatry, please see the following accessions: A1981-0017, A1983-0052, A1993-0008 and A1996-0010. These records include annual reports, correspondence, committee minutes and personnel files. In addition, for the personal records of Dr. A. B. Stokes, Dr. Farrar’s successor as director of the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital and head of the Department of Psychiatry, please see A1986-0032.

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