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Rosalynn Carter Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

(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

Founder of 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.

Along with the Carter Work Project, partners with Habitat for Humanity, an international group of volunteers who build affordable homes for those in need.

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 – Her book, “First Lady from Plains,” is published.

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

1987 “Everything to Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life,” with Jimmy Carter, is published.

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 “Helping Yourself Help Others: A Book for Caregivers” is published.

1999 Is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

1999 The book, “Helping Someone with Mental Illness: A Compassionate Guide for Family, Friends, and Caregivers,” with Susan K. Golant, is published.

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 The book, “Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis,” with Susan K. Golant and Kathryn E. Cade, is published.

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 Rosalynn 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).

December 10, 2020 – The US House of Representatives passes a resolution recognizing Carter’s 50 years of mental health advocacy.

February 18, 2023 – In a statement, the Carter Center says that Jimmy Carter will begin receiving home hospice care after a series of short hospital stays.

May 30, 2023 – The Carter Center announces that Rosalynn Carter has dementia.

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