Accession consists of records documenting the life of Dr. John Ackerman. The bulk of the material consists of photographs that were taken by Dr. Ackerman. Included are photographs documenting Dr. Ackerman's family, military career during the Second World War, university education, and involvement in the Jewish scouting movement. Also included are photographs and one film of Jewish war veteran parades that took place in Toronto in the 1980s. The parades were likely led by the General Wingate Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and probably took place along Bathurst Street. Of note are photos of the homecoming of Dr. Ackerman's brother, Albert, from military service overseas. Dr. John E. Ackerman, Albert Ackerman, and Robby Engel are identified in the photographs.
The Jewish war veterans parade photos were donated by Dr. Ackerman's wife, Frances. She had originally left the photos with the Jewish War Veterans of Canada. They brought the photos to the OJA and we contacted Frances directly to formally donate them to us. She then let us know about additional material in her possession and added this new material to the donation.
Dr. John E. Ackerman was born in Toronto on December 16, 1921 to Jacob and Mindel Ackerman. He was one of four children. Jacob initially worked as a presser in a factory. Mindel opened and ran a small grocery store at Dundas and Elizabeth Street. Jacob died around the age of fifty-seven.
Dr. Ackerman went to school at Jarvis Collegiate and later enrolled in dentistry school at the University of Toronto. As part of the school's program, Dr. Ackerman had to enlist in the Canadian Army's General Corp. While in school, he also met his future wife, Frances, at a Hillel lecture on campus. Frances was a graduate student studying psychology. Dr. Ackerman graduated from university in 1946. He initially worked as a dental intern at the Toronto General Hospital, but after a few years he opened his own practice above the Royal Bank at Dundas and Elizabeth Street.
Dr. Ackerman married Frances on September 12, 1954. They had three children together: Martin (b. 1959), Penina (b. 1963), and David (b. 1965).
As a young teenager, Dr. Ackerman took up photography as a hobby and remained passionate about it for the remainder of his life. He took many photographs of family life, Toronto, his military involvement, and other activities. He also shot many family films and even converted part of his house into a darkroom.
Dr. Ackerman became involved in the Jewish Boy Scouts after his son Martin became a cub. He was active in Troop 166 out of Beth Tzedec. Frances initially worked in the outpatient department of the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital, but later worked with the Toronto District School Board until her retirement. Dr. Ackerman retired his practice in 1995 or 1996. He passed away on December 13, 2008.