Kenneth A. Forde papers

Kenneth A. Forde, 1933-2019
Date [inclusive]
Physical Description
1.15 cubic feet (3 document boxes, 1 flat box, 1 framed item)

Because the colonoscopy record book (Box 1, folder 5) includes Confidential Health Information (CHI) as defined by Columbia University policies governing data security and privacy, access is allowed only under the terms of Archives and Special Collections’ Access Policy to Records Containing Confidential Health Information.

Access to the videotape and DVD is restricted pending digital transfer.


Correspondence, printed material, photographs, certificates, a videotape and memorabilia of Dr. Kenneth A. Forde (P&S 1959), prominent African American surgeon and Jose Ferrer Professor of Surgery at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons.

Cite as
Kenneth A. Forde Papers, Archives & Special Collections, Columbia University Health Sciences Library.
Historical/Biographical Note

Prominent African-American surgeon who was pioneer in the use of colonscopy for the early detection of colon cancer. Forde was born to West Indian parents in New York City in 1933, though he spent much of his childhood in his parents' native Barbados.  He was educated at City College and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (M.D., 1959).  An early proponent of the use of colonscopy, Forde was well-known for his 2000 on-air colonscopy of television host Katie Couric which spurred an increase in the procedures nationwide. Forde was the Jose Ferrer Professor of Surgery and after retiring from the faculty in 2006 served as a Trustee of Columbia University. He died June 2, 2019. For more information, please see the finding aid


Organized in two series: I. Correspondence and subject files; II. Visual materials.

Scope and Content

The Forde papers include biographical materials, correspondence, newspaper and magazine clippings, educational records, certificates, reprints of scientific articles, photographs, medical records, a videotape and a DVD. The materials largely document his surgical career, though some personal materials are present. While there are items from as early as 1948, the bulk of the papers date from 1966-2016.  The correspondence is largely from later in his career with much relating to his retirement from Columbia in 2006. For more information, please see finding aid.


Gift of the Estate of Kenneth A. Forde and Lola Chandler-Crumpley (sister), 2019 (accession #2019.020).

Processing Notes

Processed 2020, SEN.