Jonas Friedenwald was born into a prominent Baltimore, Maryland family. His father, Harry Friedenwald, had been head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Jonas graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1916, earned a medical degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1920, and did advanced study at Harvard in 1922.
Friedenwald’s wide-ranging interests and authority in ophthalmology made him a scholar in many fields. He was one of this country’s outstanding ophthalmic pathologists; he was also one of the foremost investigators with specific interests in histochemistry, ophthalmic biochemistry, and problems of intraocular fluid movement. His publications, which number well over a hundred, reflect the diversity of his investigations.
Friedenwald stimulated and trained physicians. His enormous fund of knowledge and experiences were eagerly sought by students, residents, researchers, and clinicians at Johns Hopkins and throughout the country. He could converse on equal terms with the best specialists on many complex phases of basic science and clinical medicine.
Friedenwald received the Research Medal of the American Medical Association in 1935, the Howe medal of the American Ophthalmological Society in 1951, and the first Proctor Award in 1948. He served as associate professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, a trustee of the Association for Research in Ophthalmology, and a member of the Committee on Standardization of Tonometers, Radiation Cataract Committee, and many others. He also served as associate editor of the Archives of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmologica, and the Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry.i