Fonds 1682 - Vivian M. Rakoff fonds

Identity area

Reference code

UTA 1682


Vivian M. Rakoff fonds


  • 1945-2012 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.78 m of textual and graphic records (sketches) (6 boxes)
3 folders of oversized textual records
18 photographs : b&w and col.
26 sound reels
15 Audio cassettes
2 Videocassettes

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Dr. Vivian Morris Rakoff is a noted psychiatrist who served as Chair of the University of Toronto Department of Psychiatry and Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry from 1980 to 1990. Dr. Rakoff’s research has pertained to a wide range of issues, including alcoholism, childhood and adolescence, family dynamics, obesity, and the challenges faced by children of Holocaust survivors. He has also co-authored and co-edited a number of general textbooks and clinical handbooks for students and practitioners.

Dr. Rakoff was born on April 28 1928 in Cape Town, South Africa and received his BA (1947) and MA (1949) from the University of Cape Town. He then moved to England, where he received an MBBS from the University of London (1957), at which point he joined the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of London and England and returned to Cape Town as a Senior Intern in Neurology and Psychiatry and Psychiatric Resident at Groote Schuur Hospital.

Dr. Rakoff married a physician, Dr. Gina Shochat-Rakoff, and they had 3 children: Simon (1960-), Ruth (1962-) and David (1964-2012).

Dr. Rakoff moved to Montreal and received a diploma in Psychological Medicine from McGill University (1963) and became a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 1964. He worked in the Department of Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, becoming Staff Psychiatrist (1963), Assistant Director of Research (1965), and Director of Research (1967). During this time, he also worked in the department of Psychiatry at McGill University, as a Lecturer (1964), Assistant Professor (1966), Associate Professor and Director of Postgraduate Education (1968-1971), and Professor and Director of Postgraduate Education (1971-1974). He then moved to Toronto to become the Coordinator of Education at the Clarke Institute (1977) and Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Sunnybrook Medical Centre (1978).

In 1980, he became Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and Director and Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry (a position he held until 1990). He received an honorary degree from the University of Toronto in 2008 and was appointed as a Member of The Order of Canada in 2015. The Rakoff Centre for Positron Emission Tomography at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is named in his honour.

Dr. Rakoff is also the author of a number of plays, radio plays, poems, and essays. He has appeared on radio and television programs to discuss problems of current concern, most particularly as a regular contributor to CBC Ideas. Dr. Rakoff is also a prolific sketcher.

For more information, see Dr. Rakoff’s CV in B2015-0011/001(02)

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Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records documenting the professional, personal and creative life of Dr. Vivian Rakoff, psychiatrist, administrator and professor. Records include correspondence, certificates, articles, research and background material, creative writing, sketches, and records relating to Dr. Rakoff’s many appearances on CBC programs, including tapes of the shows.

See series descriptions for more information.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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All files are open, with the exception of the following:

  • B2015-0011/004(15): 1 file containing patient information

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