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Adams, Janet (1937-)



  • Existence: 1937-


Born on a farm just outside of Webster City, Iowa, on August 30, 1937, Janet Louise Jeanblanc Adams attended school in a one room country schoolhouse until the age of thirteen. Her life centered around family, church, 4-H, and the farm. As a 4-H member she won prizes in public speaking and held leadership offices. At the age of ten, her father took her to Fort Dodge airport to see John F Kennedy on his presidential campaign trail. Later in life, she would recall that this experience inspired her to pursue political office.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, Iowa, in 1954. Adams would teach elementary school for seventeen years and go on to earn her master’s degree in Educational Technology. In 1957, she married Ronald Adams. Adams would care for their seven children while volunteering with the League of Women Voters, the local Democratic Party, as well as the Catholic Church, Iowa Reading Association, Regional Libraries, and Iowa College Student Aid Commission.

In 1983, Adams was elected Iowa League of Women Voters President. The next year, the league would assist in Iowa’s dramatic 1984 Democratic caucus between former Vice President Walter Mondale, Colorado Senator Gary Hart, and astronaut John Glenn. Adams rubbed elbows with national media and political figureheads like Tom Brokaw, Jimmy Carter, and Hillary Clinton in her League of Women Voters role.

In 1987, Adams was elected as Iowa state representative for the Iowa House District 14 in the Iowa House of Representatives. She used her new platform to advocate for people with mental illness, the environment, public education, and energy and human resources. She was the first woman to hold the seat and served for six years. During her time in the legislature, Adams was elected Assistant Majority Leader.

Balancing her roles as wife, mother, teacher, politician, volunteer, and grandmother, Janet Adams continued to hold public office after leaving the state legislature. She served on the city council and as mayor of Webster City, Iowa where she promoted the creation of parks and recreation areas for her hometown.

Found in 6 Collections and/or Records:

A Political Dialogue: Iowa's Women Legislators oral histories

Identifier: IWA0089

Interviews with Iowa women legislators conducted by Suzanne O'Dea Schenken.

Dates: 1988-1993

Audio recording, August 19, 2020

Scope and Contents

Audio recording of an interview with Iowa state legislator Janet Adams about her legislative service, male attitudes toward women in politics, and advice for other women running for office.

Dates: August 19, 2020

Janet Adams papers

Identifier: IWA1306

Teacher, League of Women Voters Iowa President from 1983 to 1985, and Democratic state representative from 1987 to 1993.

Dates: 1980 - 2010

League of Women Voters, Iowa records

Identifier: IWA0020
Abstract State-level branch of the national non-partisan League of Women Voters which seeks to promote political responsibility through educating and informing the public on selected governmental issues and promoting action on those issues. Arrangement 1971 Accession, 1917 to 1991 (boxes 1-61) Local leagues, 1939-1970 (boxes 1-5,19-32) Administrative, 1920-1968 (boxes 6-16) National, 1934-1966 (boxes 16-17) Iowa Voter, 1943-2001 (box 18) Topical, 1938-1972 (boxes 32-42, 45-58, 60-61) Histories, 1917-1969 (boxes 42-44, 59) Voter service, 1947-1966 (box 44) 1975 Accession, 1938-1973 (boxes 62-92) Local leagues, 1968-1971 (boxes 62-67) Administrative, 1940-1973 (boxes 67-79) Topical, 1938-1971 (boxes 79-83, 84-91) Voter service, 1948-1969 (boxes 83-84) 1981 Accession Local leagues, 1928-1979 (boxes 93-100) 1984 Accession, 1955-1980 (boxes 100-107) Topical, 1955-1980 (boxes...
Dates: 1917-2001

Transcript, August 19, 2020

Scope and Contents

Transcript of an interview with Iowa state legislator Janet Adams about her legislative service, male attitudes toward women in politics, and advice for other women running for office.

Dates: August 19, 2020

Additional filters:

Archival Object 3
Collection 3
City council members 2
Democratic Party (Iowa) 2
Hamilton County (Iowa) 2
Iowa 2
Legislators 2