James H. Torrens

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James H. Torrens, Congressman from New York

James H. Torrens (September 12, 1874 - April 5, 1952) was a congressman and influential New York Tammany Hall figure in the first half of the 20th century.

Torrens served as Tammany/Democratic leader of New York's "old" Twenty-First congressional district (today's 15th congressional district, incorporating Washington Heights and parts of Harlem and the Bronx), 1933-1947. In a special vote held February 29, 1944, Torrens achieved election to the Seventy-eighth Congress as the Democrat/American Labor Party Candidate from the 21st, filling the vacancy caused by the resignation of Joseph A. Gavagan (Democrat). (Torrens, who did not covet a congressional career, ran at the specific urging of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who believed Torrens the strongest candidate to hold the seat for the Democratic Party.) Subsequently, Torrens won reelection to the Seventy-ninth Congress, serving until January 3, 1947. Torrens did not run again in 1946.

Born in New York City on September 12, 1874, Torrens attended grammar and high schools in that town. During the early 1930s, Torrens served as vice-president and general director of the Washington Heights Chamber of Commerce. Along with his political activities, Torrens was also for many years the vice president and treasurer of the D. Emil Klein Company, cigar manufacturers, where he was affiliated until 1933. Torrens died at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, New York City, on April 5, 1952. He is buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, NY, not far from his friends Babe Ruth, James Cagney and James Farley. Torrens was succeeded in the House of Representatives by Jacob Javits.

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United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joseph A. Gavagan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 21st congressional district

1944–1947
Succeeded by
Jacob K. Javits