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Amy Carter

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Amy Carter
Carter in 2023
Amy Lynn Carter

(1967-10-19) October 19, 1967 (age 56)
Alma mater
  • James Gregory Wentzel
    (m. 1996; div. 2005)
    John Joseph Kelly
    (m. 2007)
RelativesJack Carter (brother)
Jason Carter (nephew)
James Earl Carter Sr. (paternal grandfather)

Amy Lynn Carter (born October 19, 1967) is the daughter of the 39th U.S. president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter. Carter entered the public spotlight as a child when she lived in the White House during the Carter presidency.

Early life and education[edit]

Amy Carter was born on October 19, 1967, in Plains, Georgia. She was raised in Plains until her father was elected governor and her family moved into the Georgia Governor's Mansion in Atlanta. In 1970, her father was elected governor of Georgia, and then in 1976, when she was nine, her father was elected President of the United States, and the family moved to the White House.

Carter attended public schools in Washington during her four years in the White House; first Stevens Elementary School and then Rose Hardy Middle School.[1][2][3][4]

After her father's presidency, Carter moved to Atlanta and spent her senior year of high school at Woodward Academy in College Park, Georgia.[5] She was a Senate page during the 1982 summer session.[6] Carter attended Brown University but was academically dismissed in 1987, "for failing to keep up with her coursework".[7] She later earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Memphis College of Art[8] and a master's degree in art history from Tulane University in New Orleans in 1996.[9]

Life in the White House[edit]

Carter with her pet cat in 1977

In January 1977, at the age of nine, Carter entered the White House, where she lived for four years. She was the subject of much media attention during this period, as young children had not lived in the White House since the early 1960s presidency of John F. Kennedy (and would not again do so after the Carter presidency until the inauguration of Bill Clinton, in January 1993, when Chelsea moved in.)

While Carter was in the White House, she had a Siamese cat named Misty Malarky Ying Yang, which was the last cat to occupy the White House until Socks, owned by Bill Clinton. Carter also was given an elephant from Sri Lanka from an immigrant; the animal was given to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Carter pictured in the White House with her cat and dollhouse, 1978

Carter roller-skated through the White House's East Room and had a treehouse on the South Lawn.[10] When she invited friends over for slumber parties in her tree house, Secret Service agents monitored the event from the ground.[11]

Mary Prince (an African American woman convicted of murder, and later exonerated and pardoned) acted as her nanny for most of the period from 1971 until Jimmy Carter's presidency ended, having begun in that position through a prison release program in Georgia.[12][13]

Carter did not receive the "hands off" treatment that most of the media later afforded to Chelsea Clinton.[11] President Carter mentioned his daughter during a 1980 debate with Ronald Reagan, when he said he had asked her what the most important issue in that election was and she said, "the control of nuclear arms".

Once, when asked by a reporter whether she had any message for the children of America, she looked at the reporter square in the eyes, thought for a few moments, and said, "No."[14]

Carter playing in a tree at the White House in 1977

On February 21, 1977, during a White House state dinner for Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, nine-year-old Amy was seen reading two books, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and The Story of the Gettysburg Address, while the formal toasts by her father and Trudeau were exchanged.[15] Some[who?] saw it as an affront[how?] to foreign guests.[11]


Amy Carter later became known for her political activism. She participated in sit-ins and protests during the 1980s and early 1990s that were aimed at changing U.S. foreign policy towards South African apartheid and Central America.[11] Along with activist Abbie Hoffman and 13 others, she was arrested during a 1986 demonstration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for protesting CIA recruitment there. She was acquitted of all charges in a well-publicized trial in Northampton, Massachusetts. Attorney Leonard Weinglass, who defended Abbie Hoffman in the Chicago Seven trial in the 1960s, utilized the necessity defense, successfully arguing that because the CIA was involved in criminal activity in Central America and other hotspots, preventing it from recruiting on campus was equivalent to trespassing in a burning building.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Amy Carter illustrated The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer, her father's book for children, published in 1995.[11]

In September 1996, Carter married computer consultant James Gregory Wentzel, whom she met while attending Tulane. Wentzel was a manager at Chapter Eleven, an Atlanta bookstore, where Carter worked part time.[17][18] They have a son, Hugo James Wentzel. In 2005, the couple divorced. In 2007, Carter married John Joseph "Jay" Kelly. They have a son, Errol Carter Kelly.[19]

Since the late 1990s, Carter has maintained a low profile, neither participating in public protests nor granting interviews (she gave an interview on Late Night with David Letterman in 1982). She is a member of the board of counselors of the Carter Center, which advocates for human rights and diplomacy; it was established by her father.[11]

In popular culture[edit]

Little House on the Prairie actress Alison Arngrim impersonated Carter on the 1978 Laff Records comedy album Heeere's Amy.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Baltimore Sun: "Jimmy Carter's first decisions as president-elect..." By THEO LIPPMAN JR. January 7, 1993
  2. ^ "Explore DC: Hardy Middle School". Archived from the original on March 11, 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  3. ^ First choice: why Chelsea Clinton should attend a public school – President-elect Bill Clinton's daughter
  4. ^ Graff, Amy (November 8, 2008). "Where will the Obama girls go to school?". The Mommy Files. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 11, 2008.
  5. ^ "Amy Carter is 17". The New York Times. October 18, 1984. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  6. ^ "Amy Carter takes oath as Senate page". UPI. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  7. ^ "Amy Carter ouster by Brown U. told", Chicago Sun-Times, July 19, 1987.
  8. ^ Beifuss, John (October 24, 2017). "Memphis College of Art to close". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  9. ^ "Notable Tulane University Graduates". Tulane University. Archived from the original on March 25, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  10. ^ St. Clair, Stacy (November 7, 2008). "American Girls: For Obama's daughters, White House life isn't going to be normal". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 11, 2008.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Steindorf, Sarah (February 17, 2000). "'Whatever happened to...?' Amy Carter". The Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on April 10, 2008. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
  12. ^ Jimmy Carter (2005). Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis. Simon and Schuster. pp. 84–. ISBN 978-0-7432-8457-8. My last book, Sharing Good Times, is dedicated "to Mary Prince, whom we love and cherish." Mary is a wonderful black woman who, as a teenager visiting a small town, was falsely accused of murder and defended by an assigned lawyer whom she first met on the day of the trial, when he advised her to plead guilty, promising a light sentence. She got life imprisonment instead ... A reexamination of the evidence and trial proceedings by the original judge revealed that she was completely innocent, and she was granted a pardon.
  13. ^ Chabbott, Sophia (March 19, 2015). "The Residence: Meet the Women Behind Presidential Families Kennedy, Johnson, Carter". Glamour.com. Retrieved May 2, 2015. Rosalynn Carter, who believed Prince was wrongly convicted, secured a reprieve so Prince could join them in Washington. Prince was later granted a full pardon; to this day she occasionally babysits the Carters' grandkids.
  14. ^ Miller, Danny (January 25, 2006). "I Heart Amy Carter". huffpost.com. The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 29, 2020. My all-time favorite First Kid was Amy Carter. More than any of the others, she seemed unscathed by her experience in the public eye.
  15. ^ Anthony, Carl (March 24, 2016). "Presidential Daughters Attending State Dinners, Part 3". firstladies.org. National First Ladies' Library. Retrieved November 29, 2020. Art Buchwald said that people are overreacting to Amy sticking her nose in a book between courses and that sometimes he wished he could read during such dinners.
  16. ^ Kraft, Stephanie (April 20, 1987). "The Triumph of Necessity". Valley Advocate. Archived from the original on January 22, 2004. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  17. ^ Minor, Elliott (September 1, 1996). "Amy Carter Weds At Family Estate". AP News. Archived from the original on February 21, 2023.
  18. ^ Roberts, Roxanne (August 14, 1996). "Amy Carter Set to be September Bride". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  19. ^ Lakritz, Talia (February 3, 2022). "Where are they now: First kids of the United States". Business Insider. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  20. ^ "New Horizons For Laff's Second Decade". Billboard. January 7, 1978. Retrieved July 1, 2023.

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