Title: Frederick Carl Cordes Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1934?-39
Collection number: MSS 40-3
Creator: Cordes, Frederick Carl, 1892-1965
Extent: 1 box (9 folders)
University of California, San Francisco. Library. Archives and Special Collections.
San Francisco, California 94143-0840
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], Frederick Carl Cordes Papers, MSS 40-3, Archives & Special
Collections, UCSF Library & CKM
Manuscripts and typescript drafts, support materials, galley and first proofs of
The State of California, a medico-geographical account, by J. Praslow
(1857), tr. from the German by F.C. Cordes.
Frederick Carl Cordes was born in San Francisco on June 12, 1892. He graduated from the
University of California with an A.B.degree in 1915, and from the University of
California School of Medicine in 1918. Following a year of internship at that
institution, he was began an assistantship at the school's eye clinic under professor of
opthalmology Walter Scott Franklin. This was the beginning of a departmental affiliation
that would last nearly forty-five years. Dr. Cordes was appointed instructor in
opthalmology in 1921 and advanced to assistant clinical professor in 1928, to associate
clinical professor in 1934, and to chairman of the department; finally to clinical
professor in 1936, a position he held until his retirement at the age of sixty-seven.
Even after his retirement, it has been noted, Dr. Cordes "was still to be found in his
study at the University by 6:30 a.m., five mornings a week, working at his slides and his
writing, and continuing to teach the resident physicians." Under the chairmanship of Dr.
Cordes, the eye department at the University of California developed from a small clinic
without residents, or much equipment, or laboratories, to an outstanding eye center and
first-class training ground for ophtalmologists. He is also credited with the
establishment of the Eye Bank, the Eye Tumor Laboratory, Eye Pathology Laboratory,
Glaucoma Clinic, Remedial Reading Clinic, Reduced Vision and Physiological Optics
Laboratory, Florence C. Noble Orthoptic Clinic and, most notably, the Francis I. Proctor
Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology. Dr. Cordes was a pioneer in cataract surgery,
and discoverer of a treatment to relieve pressure on the optic nerve in glaucoma cases.
Another major discovery by Dr. Cordes was that the use of nitrogen in anesthetics caused
premature babies to be born blind; for this work he was awarded the Leslie Dana Gold
Medal of the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness. Other honors awarded to
Dr. Cordes include the Howe Medal of the AMA, the Lucien Howe Medal of the American
Ophthalmological Society, numerous honorary memberships and an honorary LL.D. degree from
the University of California. Dr. Cordes died on April 4, 1965.