Eleanor Rosalynn Smith Carter (born August 18, 1927), is the wife of former President Jimmy Carter. She served as First Lady of the United States from 1977 through 1981 and as First Lady of Georgia during her husband's governorship from 1971 through 1975.
Early life and education
The oldest of four siblings, Eleanor Rosalynn Smith was born in Plains, Georgia to Allethea "Allie" Murray Smith and Wilburn Edgar Smith. After Wilburn died in 1940, 13-year-old Rosalynn helped her mother Allie with her dressmaking business, as well as caring for the other children. After high school, Rosalynn attended Georgia Southwestern College at Americus, graduating in 1946.
Marriage and family
Rosalynn started dating Jimmy Carter after her freshman year in college. Carter, the older brother of Rosalynn's best friend, was a cadet at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The couple married at the Plains Methodist Church on July 7, 1946 and moved to Norfolk, Virginia, Carter's first military posting. The Carters had four children: John William (born 1947 in Virginia), James Earl III (born 1950 in Hawaii), Donnel Jeffrey (born 1952 in Connecticut) and Amy Lynn (born 1967 in Georgia). When Jimmy Carter's father died in 1953, he left the Navy and the family returned to Plains, where Carter farmed peanuts and Rosalynn handled the bookkeeping for the farm.
First Lady of Georgia
First Lady of the United States
As First Lady, Rosalynn was a prolific fundraiser. Here she appears with other notable Democrats (left) John Wayne Gacey and (right) the Rev. Jim Jones.
As First Lady, Rosalynn Carter was a prolific fundraiser, including making appearances with homosexual serial killer John Wayne Gacey and the mass murderer of over 900 African Americans, Jim Jones.
Life after the White House
Rosalynn has written five books. They are:
- First Lady from Plains – 1984: Her autobiography
- Everything to Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life – coauthored by Jimmy Carter, 1987
- Helping Yourself Help Others: A Book for Caregivers – coauthored by Susan K. Golant, 1994
- Helping Someone with Mental Illness: A Compassionate Guide for Family, Friends, and Caregivers – coauthored by Susan K. Golant, 1998
- Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis – coauthored by Susan K. Golant and Kathryn E. Cade, 2010
- Rosalynn Smith Carter
- Rosalynn Carter Biography
- Rosalynn Carter - Former First Lady of the United States and Founder of The Carter Center