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Janis Torrence Laughlin papers

Identifier: IWA0125

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Scope and Contents

The papers of Janis Torrence-Laughlin date from 1976 to 1990 and measure 7 linear inches, with the bulk of the materials dating before 1986. The papers are arranged in five series: Correspondence, Memorabilia, Newspaper clippings, Photographs, and Scrapbook. The papers are especially useful for researching women's role in local politics.

The Correspondence series(1980-1985) contains letters and cards from legislators, friends, campaignworkers and constituents regarding Torrence-Laughlin's political life, her health and her resignation from the legislature. There is little substantive correspondence regarding her political career.

The Memorabilia series(1976-1985) contains election papers, legislative materials, politicalinvitations and campaign materials.

The Newspaper clippings series (1977-1990) consists of campaign ads, news articles and columns about Torrence-Laughlin or about issues and people in which she had an interest. Of particular interest are the Legislator Update columns she wrote for the local newspapers in her district. These presented her positions on specificissues and views about the political process in the legislature.

Photographs (1976-1985)contain campaign and political photographs, mostly undated.

The Scrapbook series (1976-1982)covers Torrence's Muscatine County Supervisor career.


  • Creation: 1976-1990


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Janis Torrence was a Muscatine County Supervisor and an Iowa State Representative affiliated with the Republican Party. She was born Janis Irene Bein at home in rural Montpelier Township, Muscatine County, Iowa on September 13, 1926 to Raymond I. Bein and Gladys Bohnsack Bein.

She graduated from Wilton High School and in 1945 married John Torrence. They adopted two children, Ronald and Barbara. Janis and John Torrence divorced in 1983.

Janis Torrence worked at banks in Muscatine and Wilton, then held various Muscatine County Courthouse positions for sixteen years. Her political career was triggered by her involvement in Concerned Citizens Organization, a grassroots movement opposed to a zoning ordinance. Torrence decided to run for County Supervisor. She was elected and served for two terms, a total of six years (1976-1982).

During her second term as County Supervisor Torrence ran and was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives, District 57. Torrence served from 1983 through 1985. Three days before the end of the 1983 legislative session, Torrence suffered a mild stroke. She was successful in her bid for re-election in 1984, but resigned for health reasons late in 1985 and moved to Arizona. She married James Laughlin in 1986. Janis Laughlin passed away in 2014.


7.00 linear inches

Photographs in Box 1. boxes

Language of Materials



Muscatine County Supervisor from 1976 to 1982 and Representative in the Iowa Legislature from 1983 to 1985.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 189) were donated by Janis Torrence-Laughlin in 1993.

Related Materials

A Political Dialogue: Iowa's Women Legislators (IWA): Includes the transcript of an oral history interview with Janis Torrence-Laughlin.

Susan M. Jellinger, 1994.
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)