Rosalynn Carter (née Eleanor Rosalynn Smith born August 18, 1927) is the wife of the former President of the United States Jimmy Carter and in that capacity served as the First Lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981. As First Lady and after, she has been a leading advocate for numerous causes, perhaps most prominently for mental health research. She was politically active in her White House years as her husband's closest adviser and sat in on Cabinet and policy meetings. She also served as an envoy abroad, most notably to Latin America.
Carter was born in Plains, Georgia, the eldest of the four children of Allie M. Smith (1905–2000), a dressmaker, and Wilburn Edgar Smith (1896–1940), an automobile mechanic and farmer. Her brothers were William Jerrold "Jerry" Smith (engineer, 1929–2003) and Murray Lee Smith (teacher and minister, 1932–2003) and her sister is Lillian Allethea Smith Wall (born 1936).
Her father died of leukemia when she was 13 and she helped her mother to raise her younger siblings, as well as to assist in the dressmaking business in order to meet the family's financial obligations. Carter graduated as valedictorian of Plains High School and then attended Georgia Southwestern College.