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Rosalynn Carter

Rosalynn CarterAKA Eleanor Rosalynn Smith

Born: 18-Aug-1927
Birthplace: Plains, GA

Gender: Female
Religion: Baptist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: First Lady
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Wife of US President Jimmy Carter

Rosalynn Smith and Jimmy Carter were childhood neighbors in the small town of Plains, Georgia, and their families were good friends. Her sister, Lillian, was actually named after Carter's mother, Lillian Carter. Rosalynn was 13 when her father died, and she assumed responsibility for most household chores while her mother became a dressmaker to support the family. Growing up in segregated Georgia, she was class valedictorian at all-white Plains High School. She first dated young Jimmy when she was 17, she was 18 he first proposed, and 19 when she finally said yes and they were married.

They moved often during his Navy career, living in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Hawaii, California, and Massachusetts. They resettled in Plains after Carter's father died in 1953, as Rosalynn's husband took over the family peanut farming and seed business. She became a "political wife" in 1962, when he was elected to the Georgia Senate. Six months before her 44th birthday she became First Lady of Georgia when her husband became Governor, and six months before her 50th birthday he became President, and she became America's First Lady.

In the White House she not only handled hostess duties, but also attended Cabinet meetings and briefings, and often stood in for her husband at ceremonial occasions. She was a vigorous advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment, and for mental health, care for the elderly, and support for the performing arts. In her husband's 1980 re-election campaign, as he pursued the "Rose Garden strategy" of rarely leaving the White House while preoccupied with the Iranian hostage crisis, she essentially ran in his stead, traveling the nation and making the campaign speeches a candidate would ordinarily make. She even filled out the paperwork to file his candidacy in the New Hampshire primary.

Since her husband was succeeded by Ronald Reagan, the Carters have established a human rights group, the Carter Center, and been active with Habitat for Humanity. In 2001 she became only the third U.S. First Lady inducted in the National Women's Hall of Fame, joining Abigail Adams and Eleanor Roosevelt. Raised Methodist, she became a Baptist when she married Jimmy Carter, and in 2006 she became a deacon of Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, GA.

Father: Wilburn Edgar Smith (auto mechanic, b. 20-Nov-1896, d. 22-Oct-1940 leukemia)
Mother: Frances Allethea Murray Smith ("Allie", dressmaker, b. 24-Dec-1905, d. 1-Apr-2000)
Brother: Murray Lee Smith (minister, b. 5-May-1929, d. 20-Nov-2003)
Brother: William Jerrold Smith (engineer, b. 19-Jan-1932, d. 26-Jan-2003)
Sister: Lillian Allethea Smith Wall (b. 1936)
Husband: Jimmy Carter (US President, b. 1-Oct-1924, m. 7-Jul-1946)
Son: Jack Carter (attorney, b. 3-Jul-1947)
Son: James Earl Carter III ("Chip", charity executive, b. 12-Apr-1950, Honolulu, HI)
Son: Donnel Jeffrey Carter ("Jeff", cartographer, b. 18-Aug-1952, New London, CT)
Daughter: Amy Lynn Carter Wentzel (art historian, b. 19-Oct-1967, Plains, GA)

    High School: Plains High School, Plains, GA (1944)
    University: BA, Georgia Southwestern College (1946)

    Member of the Board of Gannett (1983-97)
    4-H Club
    amfAR National Council
    Carter Center
    Habitat for Humanity Advisory Board (1984-)
    The Constitution Project Death Penalty Initiative
    Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Partnership Foundation
    Kennedy Center Honorary Chair
    Menninger Foundation Board of Trustees (1986-2003)
    National Constitution Center National Honorary Committee
    Presidential Medal of Freedom 1999
    National Women's Hall of Fame 2001
    Secret Service Codename Dancer, Steel Magnolia, Lotus Petal
    Funeral: Richard Nixon (1994)
    Funeral: Gerald Ford (2007)
    Funeral: Ronald Reagan (2004)
    Funeral: Ted Kennedy (2009)
    English Ancestry Paternal
    German Ancestry

    Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains (7-Sep-2007) · Herself

Author of books:
First Lady from Plains (1984)
Everything to Gain:Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life (1987, with Jimmy Carter)
Helping Yourself Help Others: A Book For Caregivers (1994, with Susan K. Golant)
Helping Someone with Mental Illness: A Compassionate Guide for Family, Friends, and Caregivers (1998, with Susan K. Golant)

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