An English author, Classics scholar, and poet, he is particularly known for his 1907 critical work, Thucydides Mythistoricus. His other works include From Religion to Philosophy: A Study in the Origins of Western Speculation and Principium Sapientiae: The Origins of Greek Philosophical Thought.
He studied at St. Paul's School and Trinity College, Cambridge. He later became a professor of classical philosophy.
His full name was Francis MacDonald Cornford. Interestingly, his wife had the same name--Frances Cornford--with a different spelling.
He married Frances Darwin Cornford. Between 1913 and 1921, the Cornfords became parents to five children.