On Sunday, November 19, 2023, the former First Lady of the United States, Rosalynn Carter, the wife of the 39th president, Jimmy Carter, died at her home in Georgia. Carter was 96 years old. She was diagnosed with dementia earlier this year.
Rosalynn Carter was considered the closest adviser to her husband, who is now 99. Unlike many other First Ladies before her, Rosalynn actively participated in government meetings side-by-side with her husband. After the Carters left the White House, they devoted their time and effort to humanitarian causes.
To honor the memory of this wonderful and powerful woman, let’s see what other little-known facts about Rosalynn we can uncover!
1. Rosalynn Smith Carter was actually named Eleanor Rosalynn Smith at birth.
2. Rosalynn was delivered in the house next door to her future husband’s childhood home. And guess who helped with the delivery? None other than President Carter’s own mother, Lillian Gordy Carter.
3. Living next door to the Carters, of course, meant that Rosalynn and Jimmy first met when the future President was three years old.
4. Did you know that the former First Lady was never a Girl Scout? This is because there was no Girl Scout troop in her hometown of Plains, Georgia. However, as First Lady, she was given the title of honorary scout, which is a tradition extended to all first ladies.
5. Thanks to her unyielding drive and feminine sweetness, the press gave Rosalynn the nickname “steel magnolia.”
6. Speaking of flowers, Mrs. Carter had the honor of having four different flowers named after her: a delicate rose, a stunning orchid, a graceful camellia, and a vibrant azalea. Each of these flowers is a testament to her contributions and achievements in the field of horticulture and serves as a reminder of her enduring legacy.
7. Mrs. Carter rocked her Georgia Governor’s inaugural ball gown again at the Presidential inaugural ball, receiving a lot of pointless criticism for wearing the same outfit twice.
8. Mrs. Carter used to make her daughter Amy’s clothes, but due to lack of time, she had to stop once they moved into the Governor’s Mansion.
9. One of Rolsalynn’s favorite outdoor activities was, believe it or not, fly fishing in some remote, picturesque stream.
10. Rosalynn Carter inspired the creation of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, a network of public and private gardens aimed at monarch butterfly conservation.
12. Mrs. Carter cherished spending time with her husband in the Plains woods during hunting season. She particularly loved the chaotic calls of the wild turkeys in the distance.
13. What’s the best way to learn hula? Visit Hawaii, of course! That’s exactly where Rosalynn Carter learned the mesmerizing dance while her husband was in the U.S. Navy.
14. In the late 1970s, Mrs. Carter was a strong advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which aimed to protect women’s rights constitutionally. She was passionate about promoting gender equality and believed the ERA would be a significant step towards achieving this goal.
15. Rosalynn Carter was known for her opposition to the use of the death penalty as a form of punishment.
16. As the honorary chair of the Last Acts Campaign, Mrs. Carter did her best to improve end-of-life care. Her early advocacy for the hospice movement and palliative care was instrumental in making these options more accessible and widely accepted.
17. Not everyone knows that Mrs. Carter played a vital role in advocating for legislation that required children to be vaccinated in schools during the Carter administration. It’s amazing how one person’s efforts can make such a huge impact on public health.