Below are many interesting personal facts about the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, courtesy of the Carter Center in Atlanta, GA.

The Basic Facts

  • Birthdate: October 1, 1924, 7:00 a.m., in Plains, Georgia.
  • Full Name: James Earl Carter, Jr.
  • Nickname: Hot
  • Years in Office: 1977–1981
  • Party: Democrat
  • Vice President: Walter F. Mondale
  • First Lady: Eleanor Rosalynn Smith
  • Children: John, James Earl III, Jeffrey, Amy
  • Nickname: Hot
  • Fast Fact: The first president born in a hospital.
  • Height: 5 feet, 9 1/2 inches tall.
  • Eye Color: Blue.
  • Hair Color: Light brown/gray.
  • Hat Size: 7 (but he doesn't wear hats).


  • Music: Likes a wide variety of classical, bluegrass, country, and folk music, including favorites Bob Dylan, Allman Brothers, Paul Simon, and the Marshall Tucker Band. Regularly attends ballet, opera, and symphonic concerts.
  • Favorite Hymns: "Amazing Grace," "Blest Be the Tie That Binds," and "The Navy Hymn."

Sports and Hobbies

  • Played basketball at Plains High School.
  • Ran cross-country and played under-140 lb. football at Annapolis.
  • Life-long tennis player (the family had a dirt court on the farm when he was a child).
  • Plays softball and billiards, bowls, fishes, hunts (especially wild turkey, quail, and dove).
  • Rode a motorcycle before entering politics.
  • To keep in shape, rides a bicycle, jogs, and plays tennis.
  • Dances with Rosalynn.
  • Collects bottles and arrowheads.
  • Reads 3 to 4 books a week, and has taken a speed-reading course.
  • Has paddled canoes, kayaks, and rafts many times on Georgia rivers.
  • Panned for gold successfully in North Georgia.
  • Sometimes watches television for recreation.
  • Has taken a memory retention course.
  • Favorite spectator sport is baseball.

Food and Meals

  • Breakfast: Usually orange juice, coffee, fruit, and cereal. Sometimes pancakes.
  • Lunch: A sandwich, cup of soup, and small salad.
  • Dinner: Varies depending on the occasion.
  • Snacks: Fresh fruit.

More Favorites

  • Favorite Foods: Sirloin steak, medium rare. Any kind of fish or poultry. Corn bread. Any vegetables except beans. Salad with Roquefort dressing. Frozen yogurt.
  • First Car: 1948 Studebaker "Commander." Drove it cross-country in 1948.
  • Favorite Color: Blue.
  • Favorite Gift to Receive (as a youth): Books.
  • Favorite Books: "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" by James Agee and "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy (considers it to be "one of" his favorite books).
  • Favorite Poets: Dylan Thomas, Miller Williams
  • Favorite Spots: Cumberland Island, off the southeast Georgia coast (one of his favorite spots).
  • North Georgia mountains. Any trout stream.

"Crimes and Punishment" as a Youth

  • Stole a penny from the collection plate at church when he was five years old; was punished by his father.
  • Shot his sister Gloria "in the rear end" with a BB gun after she threw a wrench at him; was punished by his father.
  • Was denied being selected high school class Valedictorian because he played hooky and went to a movie.
  • At Annapolis, Midshipman Carter was paddled and hazed for refusing to sing General Sherman's battle hymn, "Marching Through Georgia."

Influential People in Carter's Life

  • Rosalynn Carter: "Rosalynn is probably the most influential person in my life."
  • Father, James Earl Carter, Sr.: "He was my best friend."
  • Mother, Lillian Gordy Carter: "My mother was compassionate, dynamic, humorous, inquisitive in her attitude about life."
  • Charles Kirbo: "Going to see Charles Kirbo was probably one of the smartest things I ever did in my life."
  • Julia Coleman: The superintendent of the Plains schools, she encouraged him to learn more about music, art and literature.
  • Admiral Hyman Rickover: "Hyman Rickover is by any measure a remarkable man."
  • President Harry Truman: "Harry Truman is my favorite president and the one I admire most."

Noted Quotes by Philosophers and Poets

The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world.
 —  Reinhold Niebuhr

Great is the hand that holds dominion over
Man by a scribbled name.
The five kings count the dead but do not soften
The crusted wound nor stroke the brow;
A hand rules pity as hand rules heaven;
Hands have no tears to flow
 —  Dylan Thomas

Favorite Bible Quote

Revelation 3:20: Behold I stand at the door and knock: If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.