106 Facts About Rosalynn Carter


Eleanor Rosalynn Carter is an American writer and activist who served as the first lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981 as the wife of President Jimmy Carter.


For decades, Carter has been a leading advocate for numerous causes, including mental health.


Rosalynn Carter was born and raised in Plains, Georgia, graduated as salutatorian of Plains High School, and soon after attended Georgia Southwestern College, and graduated in 1946.


Rosalynn Carter became attracted to Jimmy Carter after seeing a picture of him in his Annapolis uniform, and they married in 1946.


Rosalynn Carter helped her husband win the governorship of Georgia in 1970, and decided to focus her attention in the field of mental health when she was that state's First Lady.


Rosalynn Carter campaigned for her husband during his successful bid to become President of the United States in the 1976 election, defeating incumbent Republican President Gerald Ford.


Rosalynn Carter was politically active during her husband's presidency, though declared that she had no intention of being a traditional First Lady.


Rosalynn Carter represented her husband in meetings with domestic and foreign leaders, most notably as an envoy to Latin America in 1977.


Rosalynn Carter was cited by her husband as an equal partner.


Rosalynn Carter campaigned for her husband's re-election bid in the 1980 election, which he lost to Republican Ronald Reagan.


Since leaving the White House in 1981, Rosalynn Carter has continued to advocate for mental health and other causes, and has written several books.


Aged 95, Rosalynn Carter is the second-longest lived First Lady after Bess Truman, and is the longest-married First Lady.


Eleanor Rosalynn Carter Smith was born on August 18,1927, in Plains, Georgia.


Rosalynn Carter was the eldest of four children of Wilburn Edgar Smith, an auto mechanic, bus driver and farmer, and Frances Allethea "Allie" Murray Smith, a teacher, dressmaker and postal worker.


Rosalynn Carter's brothers were William Jerrold "Jerry" Smith, an engineer, and Murray Lee Smith, a teacher and minister.


Rosalynn Carter was named after Rosa Wise Murray, her maternal grandmother.


Rosalynn Carter drew buildings and was interested in airplanes, which led her to believe that she would someday become an architect.


Rosalynn Carter's father died of leukemia when she was 13 in 1940.


Rosalynn Carter called the loss of her father the conclusion of her childhood.


At Plains High School, Rosalynn Carter worked hard to achieve her father's dream of seeing her go to college.


Rosalynn Carter became attracted to him after seeing a picture of him in his Annapolis uniform.


Rosalynn Carter agreed to marry Jimmy in February 1946 when she went to Annapolis with his parents.


Rosalynn Carter resisted telling her mother she had chosen to marry instead of continuing her education.


Rosalynn Carter was appointed to the Governor's Commission to Improve Services for the Mentally and Emotionally Handicapped.


Rosalynn Carter has described her efforts for mentally disabled children her proudest achievement as First Lady of Georgia.


Rosalynn Carter served as a volunteer at the Georgia Regional Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and for four years was honorary chairperson for the Georgia Special Olympics.


Rosalynn Carter's activities included entertaining as many as 75 people a week at the Governor's Mansion.


Governor Rosalynn Carter once claimed that he had supported the Equal Rights Amendment while his wife was opposed to the measure, the First Lady privately confronting him upon hearing news of the claim.


When her husband's gubernatorial term ended in January 1975, Rosalynn, Jimmy and Amy Carter returned to Plains.


Rosalynn Carter returned to the campaign trail, this time on a national quest to gather support for her husband.


Rosalynn Carter campaigned alone on his behalf in 41 states.


Rosalynn Carter sat in the balcony at Madison Square Garden with friends and family the night of the nomination while her husband was with his mother and daughter.


Rosalynn Carter had "butterflies in her stomach," until the Ohio delegation announced its votes were for her husband.


Rosalynn Carter wished she could have been with him at that time.


Rosalynn Carter declared that she had no intention of being a traditional First Lady of the United States.


Rosalynn Carter joined Lady Bird Johnson and Betty Ford in supporting the unsuccessful campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment at the Houston conference celebrating the International Women's Year in 1977.


On July 27,1978, Rosalynn Carter was the host of "First Lady's Employment Seminar".


In March 1977, Rosalynn Carter gave her first interview since becoming First Lady.


Rosalynn Carter served as an active honorary chair of the President's Commission on Mental Health.


Rosalynn Carter outlined that a First Lady could influence officials or the public by discussing an issue or giving attention to it.


Rosalynn Carter purposely scheduled so as not to have meetings with any of the heads of state.


Rosalynn Carter led the American delegation to the May 1978 inauguration of Rodrigo Carazo Odio as President of Costa Rica.


Rosalynn Carter led a delegation to Thailand in 1979 to address the problems of Cambodian and Laotian refugees.


Rosalynn Carter examined camps where Cambodian refugees had fled to avoid the combat between the Vietnamese troops and the government of Pol Pot.


Rosalynn Carter returned to the United States and played a prominent role in speeding up a large appeal for assistance after being affected by the suffering she witnessed during her visit.


Rosalynn Carter stated that she wanted to return to the US as quickly as possible to mobilize their forces to assist in calming the refugees' plight.


Rosalynn Carter was the first First Lady to keep her own office in the East Wing.


In 1977, Rosalynn Carter reported that her family was divided in their reaction to public perception of them, saying her sons were worried about how they would be perceived living there while she personally thought nothing of it as the public was not financing their residence and she favored the family being together.


In January 1977, prior to the inauguration of her husband, Rosalynn Carter substituted for him in speaking with Senator Birch Bayh over the phone as the latter wanted President-elect Rosalynn Carter to lobby for support of the Equal Rights Amendment being ratified in Indiana.


Rosalynn Carter persuaded Wayne Townsend to switch his vote and the Equal Rights Amendment was approved in an Indiana Senate vote of 26 to 24.


Rosalynn Carter wanted to be sure that the struggle for ERA really appealed to mainstream America.


Rosalynn Carter was known for a lack of attention paid to fashion, and her choice to reuse the gown from her husband's swearing in as Governor to his presidential inauguration reinforced this view of her.


Amid the sinking approval ratings of President Carter, Rosalynn maintained high favorable viewpoints in the eyes of the public, and was tied with Mother Teresa for most admired woman in the world.


President Rosalynn Carter was challenged by Ted Kennedy for his re-election bid in the Democratic presidential primary.


Rosalynn Carter telephoned supporters of the re-election campaign to thank them for their involvement.


Rosalynn Carter met with Reagan's wife, Nancy, during the transitional period and provided her with a tour of the White House.


Rosalynn Carter was satisfied that the Iran hostages were released on the day of Reagan's inauguration.


Rosalynn Carter became attracted to him after seeing a picture of him in his Annapolis uniform.


Rosalynn Carter agreed to marry Jimmy in February 1946 when she went to Annapolis with his parents.


Rosalynn Carter resisted telling her mother she had chosen to marry instead of continuing her education.


In 1953, after her husband left the Navy, Rosalynn Carter helped run the family peanut farm and warehouse business, handling accounting responsibilities.


Around this time, yearning for another child, the Carters discovered Rosalynn had physical ailments preventing pregnancy.


Rosalynn Carter underwent surgery to remove a large tumor from her uterus 12 years later.


Rosalynn Carter's obstetrician confirmed she could have another child, and their daughter Amy was born thereafter.


Rosalynn Carter had different relationships with each member of Jimmy's family.


However, she and Jimmy's mother, Lillian Gordy Rosalynn Carter, had difficulty living together.


Rosalynn Carter traveled to multiple towns throughout the state with promotional materials, visited multiple establishments such as radio stations and newspaper offices, and attending civic organizations meetings.


The month after the election, Jimmy Rosalynn Carter began campaigning for the 1970 Georgia gubernatorial election.


Rosalynn Carter is a member of the Center's Board of Trustees and participates in many of the Center's programs, but gives special attention to the Mental Health Program.


Rosalynn and her husband's first major project with the Carter Center was to help in peace between Israel and its neighbors.


Rosalynn Carter created and serves as the chair of The Carter Center Mental Health Task Force, an advisory board of experts, consumers, and advocates promoting positive change in the mental health field.


Rosalynn Carter established the Mental Health Task Force that same year to guide the Symposia as well as other Mental Health programs.


Rosalynn Carter became chair of the International Women Leaders for Mental Health in 1992.


In 2007, Rosalynn Carter joined with David Wellstone, son of one-time US Senator Paul Wellstone, in pushing Congress to pass legislation regarding mental health insurance.


Rosalynn Carter is president of the board of directors for the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving at Georgia Southwestern State University, her alma mater in Americus, Georgia.


In 1977, Rosalynn Carter was a speaker at the 1977 National Women's Conference among other speakers including Betty Ford, Bella Abzug, Lady Bird Johnson, Barbara Jordan, Audrey Colom, Claire Randall, Gerridee Wheeler, Cecilia Burciaga, Gloria Steinem, Lenore Hershey and Jean O'Leary.


Rosalynn Carter served on the Policy Advisory Board of The Atlanta Project of The Carter Center, addressing social ills associated with poverty and quality of life citywide.


In 1991, Rosalynn Carter launched Every Child By Two, a nationwide campaign that sought to increase early childhood immunizations along with Betty Bumpers, wife of former US Senator Dale Bumpers of Arkansas.


Rosalynn Carter serves as President of the organization and Bumpers as Vice President.


Rosalynn Carter serves on the board of advisors for Habitat for Humanity and as an honorary chair of Project Interconnections, both of which aim to provide housing for those in need.


Shortly after leaving office, Rosalynn Carter signed with Houghton Mifflin for the writing of her autobiography.


Early into the Carters' time out of the White House, Rosalynn retained sour feelings toward the loss and questioned her faith as to how her husband could not be re-elected despite what she believed were good choices he had undertaken during his presidency.


Rosalynn Carter voiced her wishes for her husband to run for a second non-consecutive term.


Rosalynn Carter knew in her heart that her husband would not seek a non-consecutive term and went into depression in the early weeks of the retirement, Jimmy's attempts at portraying an artificial happiness straining the relationship due to him seeming to not understand her reasons for being disappointed in their current state of affairs.


The Carters visited Jehan, who Rosalynn pledged to stay with during the funeral.


In October 1982, Rosalynn Carter attended the funeral of Bess Truman in Independence, Missouri.


In late 1983, Rosalynn Carter visited her ailing mother-in-law Lillian Rosalynn Carter at Americus-Sumter County Hospital, and was by her bedside when she died, attending her funeral days later.


In July 1986, Rosalynn Carter traveled with her husband to Chicago, Illinois for a weekend assisting with construction projects for Habitat for Humanity.


On January 19,1988 Rosalynn Carter was given the honor of christening the cruise ship Sovereign of the Seas in a gala ceremony in Miami.


In March 1988, Rosalynn Carter attended a hearing on mental health by the House Select Committee on Aging.


Rosalynn Carter attended the November 4,1991 dedication of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.


On December 4,2001, Rosalynn Carter delivered a speech to the National Press Club.


In January 2003, Rosalynn Carter attended the benefit for the 20th anniversary celebration of the Betty Ford Center in Indian Wells, California.


In December 2006, Rosalynn Carter was ordained a deacon at the Maranatha Baptist Church.


Rosalynn Carter attended a speech given by Georgia National Guard's Colonel Brent Bracewell in the morning hours of October 25,2012.


In October 2013, Rosalynn Carter spoke about her confidence in the American people and her lack of confidence in the government on the issue of the income gap in the United States.


Rosalynn Carter had "one of the greatest disappointments" corrected when learning from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the Obama administration had passed a mental health insurance rule.


Rosalynn Carter was "shaking" after learning about the government rules that required equal treatment for mental health upon hearing the announcement in November 2013.


In July 2016, Rosalynn Carter endorsed Proposition 62, which would abolish the death penalty in California, releasing a joint statement with her husband in support of the measure.


Rosalynn Carter voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary of that year.


Rosalynn Carter differed from her husband in believing Russia had interfered with determining the results of the general election.


On October 5,2002, Rosalynn Carter was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York.


Rosalynn Carter became only the third First Lady ever inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining Abigail Adams and Eleanor Roosevelt.


Rosalynn Carter has received honorary degrees from the following institutions:.


Rosalynn Carter served as distinguished centennial lecturer at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, from 1988 to 1992.


Rosalynn Carter has been a Distinguished Fellow at the Emory University Department of Women's Studies in Atlanta since 1990.