Rosalynn Carter Fast Facts

Updated 11:07 AM EDT, Tue August 4, 2020
CNN —  

Here is a look at the life of Rosalynn Carter, wife of former US President Jimmy Carter.


Birth date: August 18, 1927

Birth place: Plains, Georgia

Birth name: Eleanor Rosalynn Smith

Father: Wilburn Smith, a mechanic

Mother: Allethea (Murray) Smith

Marriage: Jimmy Carter (July 7, 1946-present)

Children: Amy, October 19, 1967; Jeff, August 18, 1952; James Earl III (Chip), April 12, 1950; Jack, July 3, 1947

Education: Georgia Southwestern College, 1946

Other Facts

President of the board of directors for the “Rosalynn Carter Institute of Caregiving” at Georgia Southwestern State University. The mission of this organization is to help professional and family caregivers with the important role they play in our long-term health care system.

Works for Habitat for Humanity, a group of volunteers who builds homes for the needy.

Advocate for mental health, early childhood immunization, human rights, and conflict resolution.


1953 - The Carters return to Plains, Georgia, and run the family peanut, seed, and fertilizer business.

1962 - Jimmy Carter enters politics and wins a seat in the Georgia Senate.

1977-1981 - As first lady, she focuses national attention on performing arts and mental health.

1977-1978 - Serves as the Honorary Chairperson of the President’s Commission on Mental Health, and is instrumental in the passage of the 1980 Mental Health Systems Act.

1982 - Founds the Carter Center with her husband.

1984 - Publishes the book, “First Lady from Plains.”

1985 - Initiates the annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy.

1987 - Publishes the book, “Everything to Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life,” with Jimmy Carter.

1991 - Co-launches Every Child By Two, a nationwide campaign to promote childhood immunizations, with Betty Bumpers, the wife of Senator Dale Bumpers of Arkansas.

1991-1999 - Serves on the policy advisory board of The Atlanta Project, a program of the Carter Center that addresses the social ills associated with poverty and quality of life around Atlanta.

1994 - Publishes the book, “Helping Yourself Help Others: A Book for Caregivers.”

1999 - Is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

1999 - Publishes the book, “Helping Someone with Mental Illness: A Compassionate Guide for Family, Friends, and Caregivers,” with Susan K. Golant.

2001 - Carter is inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

March 22, 2005 - Carter and her husband step down as the leaders of the Carter Center’s Board of Trustees.

2010 - Publishes the book, “Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis,” with Susan K. Golant and Kathryn E. Cade.

August 22, 2012 - Speaks at the ribbon cutting for phase one of the Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex at Georgia Southwestern State University.

October 13, 2014 - Announces the next Rosalyn and Jimmy Carter Habitat Work Project will be building homes in Nepal. The Carters’ goal, with thousands of volunteers, is to help build shelter for 100,000 Nepali families by 2016.

February 18, 2018 - Undergoes surgery to remove scar tissue from a portion of her small intestine. The scar tissue formed after a cyst was removed many years ago.

May 16, 2019 - Carter is released from the hospital after being admitted for feeling “faint.” Her husband is released from the hospital the same day after being admitted for falling on his way to go turkey hunting.

October 17, 2019 - Having been married 26,765 days, Carter and her husband are now the longest-married presidential couple in history (George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush previously held the record).