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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 878: CD-108

Papers of Linda A. Davis Watters, 1971-2016


Correspondence, research, articles, speeches, records, and photographs of business executive Linda A. Davis Watters.


  • Creation: 1971-2016

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Linda A. Davis Watters retains her copyright in these papers during her lifetime. Upon her death, copyright will transfer to the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


2.71 linear feet ((6 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 1 CD, 1 photograph folder)

The papers of Linda A. Davis Watters include personal and professional correspondence, magazine and newspaper articles, publications, court records, photographs, reports, work schedules and calendars, yearbooks, awards, pamphlets, speeches, press releases, greeting cards, and organizational records which primarily document Watters's professional career. These materials highlight the upward career progression of an African American woman executive in the business and finance industry during the late 20th century. Additionally, Watters's efforts to ban the use of credit scores to determine insurance premiums and her involvement in the Supreme Court case, Watters v. Wachovia Bank, are well documented through news articles, letters, research reports, and court records.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1971-2016 (#1.1-4.4), includes articles, awards, letters, schedules, yearbooks, resumes, pamphlets, and programs related to Watters's personal life. This series is arranged alphabetically.

Series II, PROFESSIONAL, 1989-2016 (#4.5-7.3), includes correspondence, press releases, publications, schedules, speeches, court records, research, articles, presentation materials, and organizational records related to Watters's professional career. This series spans her employment at Comerica Bank, Detroit Commerce Bank, the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Services (OFIS), KPMG, and John Hancock. Also included are materials related to the United States Supreme Court case, Watters v. Wachovia Bank. This series is arranged chronologically.

Series III, PHOTOGRAPHS AND AUDIOVISUAL, 1999-2015 (#PD.1, CD-108.1), includes photographs from Watters's personal life and professional career. Photos depict Linda Watters, her husband Ronald Watters, and various business colleagues. Also includes a radio interview with Watters on the show "Focus on Empowerment with Carole Copeland Thomas" about her work as the Commissioner for the Michigan Office of Finance and Insurance Services. Audiovisual material is stored on a CD. This series is arranged chronologically.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Business executive and expert in state, national, and international regulatory issues, Linda A. Davis Watters was born in 1953 in Dayton, Ohio, to sharecroppers who moved from Homer, Lousiana, during the 1940s. Watters graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1971. A graduate of Bowling Green State University (BA, Economics, 1975) and University of Dayton (MBA, 1979), Watters began her career in finance and international export sales at General Motors Corporation (1980-1987). She worked at Comerica Bank (1988-1996) and was Vice-President of Michigan National Bank (1996-1998) before being asked to launch Detroit Commerce Bank, the city's first new chartered bank in 28 years.

In 2003, Watters was appointed Michigan's Commissioner for the Office of Financial and Insurance Services (OFIS), where she led a successful effort to integrate the historically separate regulation of insurance companies, banks, credit unions, securities dealers, and consumer finance lenders. She was also part of a landmark Supreme Court case, Watters v. Wachovia Bank, on federal pre-emption of state banking regulation.

Watters went on to serve as managing director of Financial Risk Management at KPMG (2007-2009). In 2009 she became Vice-President for Government Relations at John Hancock, the Boston, Massachusetts, based arm of Canada's Manulife Financial, where she represents the company before insurance regulatory agencies on a state, national, and international level.

In 2014 Watters was appointed to Massachusetts's Successful Women, Successful Families Task Force. In 2016, she was elected to the Board of Directors of John Hancock. She has also volunteered and worked with organizations focused on community health, education, women's issues, and urban/minority advocacy. She lives in Arizona with her husband, Ronald Watters.


The collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and Personal, 1971-2016 (#1.1-4.4)
  2. Series II. Professional, 1989-2016 (#4.5-7.3)
  3. Series III. Photographs and Audiovisual, 1999-2015 (#PD.1, CD-108.1)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2016-M4

The papers of Linda A. Davis Watters were given to the Schlesinger Library by Linda A. Davis Watters in January 2016.

Processing Information

Processed: December 2016

By: Jehan Sinclair, with assistance from Margaret Dalton.

Watters, Linda A. Davis, 1953- . Papers of Linda A. Davis Watters, 1971-2016: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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