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Special Collections in the History of Medicine

Edward G. Waters, MD
Professor Emeritus of Gynecology and Obstetrics-CMDNJ
A Guide to His Papers

June 1981; Revised 2004


Edward Gilmay Waters, M.D. was born on January 14, 1898 in Derby, Connecticut. During his freshman year in high school, he became ill and was forced to spend the summer in bed, attended by a Dr. Willmot. This experience and the physician who treated him were the influencing factors in his decision to practice medicine.

Dr. Waters took the entrance examination for Yale University and was accepted, but deferred attending due to financial reasons. After a year of hard work he had saved enough money to attend Yale, receiving a PhD in 1919 and graduated from Yale University Medical 1918-1919, cum laude. Dr. Waters received his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1922. The next two years were spent at Brooklyn Hospital in a rotating internship, followed by a stay at Bridgeport Hospital as Resident Physician from 1923-1924. Dr. Waters said that he went to Bridgeport because of its excellent staff, which drew heavily from New York City. Home for the years between 1924 and 1927 was the Jersey City Hospital in Jersey City, NJ, where he served as Resident and Chief Resident Surgeon. Following the Jersey City Hospital, Dr. Waters returned to New York City for post-graduate education in surgery at New York University and Bellevue Medical College; while there, he was also Assistant in Surgery, 1927-1930.

On October 12, 1931 the Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital in Jersey City opened. Dr. Waters was named as Chief of Service of the Third Division, a position he retained until retiring in 1964. When he retired, he was named Emeritus Chief of Service. At the Margaret Hague, Dr. Waters developed the technique for Supravesical Extraperitoneal Cesarean Section, which bears his name. "Waters' technique was adopted widely throughout the United States, and in some centers it was preferred over the low cervical operation in the absence of potential infection." [1]

Being of the first post-Flexner Report generation of physicians, Dr. Waters recognized the importance and need for certification within the profession. In 1933, he published an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association advocating the "Certification of Specialists by the State Society."

Despite his skills and training as a surgeon in gynecology and obstetrics, Dr. Waters considered himself to have been a general practitioner. Having started his practice during the Great Depression, he relates, he felt it better to have ten patients of which only two could pay then two patients of which only one could.

Seton Hall College of Medicine and Dentistry (SHCMD) opened in 1956, with Dr. Waters on the teaching staff as a Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics. In 1964 having reached the mandatory retirement age for SHCMD, he was named Professor Emeritus of Gynecology and Obstetrics. When the State of New Jersey acquired SHCMD in 1965 (see Archives collections RG/A SHCMD and RG/B New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry for details), Dr. Waters remained as Professor Emeritus. This occurred again in 1970 when Rutgers Medical School was merged with NJCMD to form the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (see Archives collections RG/C CMDNJ and RG/G RMS). Thus, Dr. Waters was Professor Emeritus of three institutions.

A dedicated yachtsman, Dr. Waters was a member of several sailing organizations, including a term as Commodore of the Red Back Yacht Club. Other interests include membership in the Rotary Club and former Director of the Boy's Club of Hudson County, New Jersey.

In 1977 Dr. Waters retired from private practice. He was performing surgery up to one week before his retirement. He lived with his wife of over 50 years, Edna May Waters in Little Silver, New Jersey until his death on July 11, 1988.

Scope and Content Notes

The Edward G. Waters Papers span the years 1919-1981 and consists of 12 series. The collection occupies 5 linear feet.

The Waters Papers are very strong in the area of original works authored by Dr. Waters (See Series FC/1-2, FC/1-3 and FC/1-4-A/E). Series FC/1-2 contains a nearly complete set of published medical articles by Dr. Waters, along with a list of all his published works.

The Papers contain a number of patient case studies (FC/1-5), which should be of interest to researchers, especially when used with the statistical data provided in series FC/1-9-B.

Series FC/1-7 through FC/1-11 contains various forms of visual media. They are mainly of anatomical drawings, pathological specimens, surgical procedures, and statistical data. Two 8mm films are included; one is on the Waters' Technique for Extraperitoneal Cesarean Section (FC/1-11/A).

Container List

Box Number Folder Number Folder Title
Series 1
  Edward G. Waters Correspondence: Series contains both personal and professional correspondence, 1937-1981. Material is arranged in chronological order.
Series 2
  Edward G. Waters Publications: Series contains an incomplete collection of Dr. Waters' medical publications, 1923-1980. Abstracts, drafts, presentations, letter to the editor and cover letters from some articles, along with a complete list of all published articles is included. The series is arranged chronologically.
Series 3
  Edward G. Waters Unpublished Material: The original folder title was used "Original Papers, Presentations, etc." Drafts of published material, which were contained in the folder, were removed and placed in Series 2. The series is arranged in alphabetical order.
Series 4
  Edward G. Waters Drafts: Series is composed of five sub-series. The majority of the material was transferred to the Archives in the folders; some material was loose. The original folder titles were retained when they existed. The series contains material for various articles and books.
Series 4
Sub-Series A
  Hysterectomy Techniques: Includes drafts and corrections, case reports (admissions, operative and progress reports), and correspondence. The sub-series has 15 of the original 16 folders containing material on the topic.
  15 Hysterectomy in the Treatment of Septic Abortion with or without Uterine
  16 Contains the contents of two folders numbered 2 and labeled "reference"
  17 Considerations Relating to Gynecological Surgery
  18 Indications for Hysterectomy
  19 Vaginal Hysterectomy and Clamp Technique
  20 Vaginal Hysterectomy "Variations and Technique" and Technique for Supracervical Hysterectomy
  21 Wound Separation, Dehiscence or Evisceration, Incisional Hernia
  22 Ligation of the Internal Iliac Arteries for Control of Hemorrhage
  23 The Cervical Stump
4 1 Development of Hysterectomy Techniques Through the 19th Century
  2 Extended Wertheim Operation with Pelvic Node Dissection
  3 Caesarean (sic) Hysterectomy, Postpartum Hysterectomy, the Composite Subtotal Hysterectomy -- Spalding and Richardson
  4 Abdominal Hysterectomy "Variations and Techniques" Two Stage Abdominal Hysterectomy
  5 Vaginal Hysterectomy
  6 Surgical Anatomy of the Pelvic, material dates from 1962-1963.
Sub-Series B   Manuscripts (holographs and typed) dealing with various aspects of Cesarean Section. Original folder titles.
  7, 7a, 7b Book, (original copies) 1967-1968
  8, 8a Book, includes table of contents, 1967-1968
Sub-Series C   Enterocele, contains drafts and correspondence. Original folder title Enterocele and Vaginal Hernias.
  9 Enterocele and Vaginal Hernias, 1960-1961
Sub-Series D   Early Cesarean Section: A History of Disaster, a brief history of Cesarean Sections with notes
Sub-Series E   The sub-series contains reference and research materials used for the articles, plus drafts and correspondence.


Series 5


  Edward G. Waters Case Studies and Statistics: A collection of case studies and statistics used by Dr. Waters in preparation for his articles. Some of the original folder titles were preserved while the loose material was compiled into chronologically organized folders. The series is arranged chronologically, 1920s-1940.
  3 Extraperitoneal Cesarean (sic) Section
  4 List Cases and Case Reports
  5 Miscellaneous
Series 6
  Edward G. Waters Clippings: The series is composed of two sub-series. The sub-series are arranged in alphabetical order.
Sub-Series A   Newspaper clippings deal with Dr. Waters and the Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital-Jersey City Medical Center. Arranged chronologically, 1936-1964 and undated.
  Articles on medical topics not written by Dr. Waters, and programs of medical conventions. Arranged chronologically, 1970-1979 and undated.
Series 7
  Edward G. Waters Prints: The series is composed of four sub-series arranged in chronological order. The material deals with medical illustrations for various surgical procedures.
Sub-Series A
  Set of 12 prints illustrating the Waters' Technique for Extraperitonial Cesarean Section by Felix Traugott. Prints #1-8 date 1939; #9-12 date 1943.
Sub-Series B
  A set of 13 prints on Vaginal Hysterectomy, ca. 1963-1964. Stored in oversize print drawers.
Sub-Series C
  One print on corrective steps for Vaginal Prolapse and Entrocele, undated.
Sub-Series D   Sketches of Clamp Hysterectomy. undated
Series 8
  Edward G. Waters Slides: Series composed of eight sub-series, arranged in alphabetical order and generally dating from the late 1930s-1950s. The material in the series deals mainly with medical procedures. There is also material on non-medical topics.
Sub-Series A   Extraperioneal Cesarean Section a set of 27 slides of the Waters' Technique taken close up. Color, 1938. Square 1, poor color.
B   Extraperioneal Cesarean Section a set of 37 slides of the Waters' Technique taken close up. Color, 1938. Square 2, poor color.
C   Extraperioneal Cesarean Section a set of 30 slides of the Waters' Technique taken close up. Color, 1938. Square 3.
D   Extraperioneal Cesarean Section a set of 43 slides of the Waters' Technique taken close up. Color, 1951. Squares 4&6. The color in these slides is far superior to that of any of the others in this series.
E   Low Transverse Cesarean Section a set of 33 slides. Color, ca 1950s. Squares 7&8.
F   Low Transverse Cesarean Section a set of 33 slides. Color, ca 1950s. Squares 11&12.
G   Patients, Procedures and, Pathological Specimens a collection of miscellaneous slides on topics such as: Urethral Cancer, Volvulous of Ileum with gangrene, Incisional Hernia, Prolapse of the Uterus, Uterus with old Cesarean scar, etc. Color, undated squares 13,14,16.
H   Residence 5 slides of Dr. Waters' home in Little Silver, NJ. Color, undated. Square 18.
Series 9
  Edward G. Waters Lantern Slides Series is composed of 3 sub-series dealing with various medical topics and statistics. Slides are stored in the catalog case and date from 1930s-1950s.
Sub-Series A   Collection of 8 slides (incomplete) of teaching drawings "home made" on the Mechanism of Delivery. Color and black & white.
B   Set of 54 slides of statistics and data on maternal mortality (with emphasis on Cesarean Sections), estrogen and eclampsia. Color and black & white.
C   Collection of 45 slides on anatomical and pathological subjects including: drawings, patients and specimens. The sub-series contains holographic notes on some of the slides by Dr. Waters. There are 8 un-mounted slides. Color and black & white.
Series 10
  Edward G. Waters Photographs: Series is composed of 3 sub-series.
Sub-series A   Nine photographs taken at Jersey City Hospital in the early 1920s. Photographs document the hospital, ambulances, and some staff. Black and white.
  Photograph of a testimonial dinner to Admiral Rossiter, Surgeon General United States Navy. Dr. Waters is in the right center forefront. Black and white. January 19, 1935. Oversized.
  Photograph of Dr. Waters performing a Cesarean Section and accompanies folder FC/1-5 in box 5, folder 6. Black and white.
Series 11
  Edward G. Waters Films: 2 8mm motion pictures, ca. 1940.
Sub-series A   A film on Extraperitoneal Cesarean Section, Waters' Technique performed at the Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital. Color. Dr. Waters performed the operation.
B   A film of an operation on a woman with a large Enterocele. Dr. Waters performed the operation. Color.
Series 12
  Edward. G. Waters Artifacts: Series is composed of 8 sub-series. Material is arranged in chronological order.
Sub-series A   Honorable Discharge from the United States Army, September 10,1919.
B   Copy of the Symposium, the annual of the Jersey City Hospital Training School, 1924.
C   Certificate acknowledging Dr. Waters' election as a Fellow of the Academy of Medicine of New Jersey, April 1936.
D   Selective Service Medal for World War II, ca. 1945.
E   Medal commemorating the XIII Asamblea Nacional de Cirajanos, 1958.
F   Portrait of Dr. Edward G. Waters by Alphaeus P. Cole, N.A., which hung in the Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital, Jan 1959.
G   Medal commemorating "Dinner with Ike", 1960
H   Certificate from the University Club of Hudson County, New Jersey to Edward G. Waters, Oct. 1974.

[1] Speert, Harold, Obstetrics and Gynecology in America a History, Waverly Press, Inc.; Baltimore, Maryland 1980, pp. 156.

For reference service and information contact:

Robert Vietrogoski
Special Collections
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