Dr. Edwin Edmunds Barksdale, 71, a retired dermatologist and one of the founders of the Yater Clinic here, died Sunday at his home in Alexandria after a long illness.

He was chairman of the board of directors of the Yater Clinic from 1970 until 1976, when he retired from active practice.

Born in Halifax County, Va., Dr. Barksadale received his early education there and in Norfolk. He earned a bachelor's degreed from Virginia Military Institute in 1928 and his doctor's degree from the University of Virginia Medical School in 1933.

After entering at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, he took a residency there in dermatology and syphilology.

Dr. Barksdale then was chief of the department of dermatology and syphilology at Memorial Hospital and chairman of the board of directors of Winsolow Hospital, both in Danville, Va.

He was a member of the syphilis control committee of the Medical Society of Virginia, which wrote Virginia's law requiring prenuptial blood tests.

During World War II, Dr. Barksdale was a Navy officer serving as chief of the department of dermatology and syphilology at the Bethesda Naval Hospital.

After the war, he continued as the civilian consultant in those fields at the Naval Hospital. He also was a conultant in dermatology at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health from 1946 to 1970.

He helped from the Year Clinic in 1947 and maintained his offices there until his retirement.

Dr. Barksdale was as member of the Medical Society of Virginia, the Southern Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the Baltimore-Washington Dermatologic Association, the American Academy of Dermatology and Syphilology, the American Society for Investigative Dermatology, the D.C. Medical Society and the American Group Practice Association.

He is survived by his wife, Maitland Aylor Barksdale, of the home; a daugther, Mrs. J. Earle Phillips, of Alexandria, and two grandchildren.