Professor John J. Waters taught history for thirty-five years at the University of Rochester until his retirement in 2000. In the 1970s, Professor Waters "became a leading figure in the 'new social history'; the study of the lives of ordinary people which made use of previously unexploited sources and sophisticated quantitative techniques to expose the particular of birth, death, marriage, family formation, and property distribution." He was also among the first historians to use a computer to analyze colonial life. His study of the complex forms of family life in colonial Guilford, Connecticut, has been described as brilliant.
This Fund was established by Professor Waters with additional support from his colleagues, former students, and friends. The income from the fund will allow the purchase of primary materials in History and English relating to the Americas from 1493 to 1892.