Carter, Jimmy


1981 TLS by the 39th President & 2002 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, sends thanks for a Georgia memento


Type: Letter
Description: (B. 1924) USNA 1946, 39th US President 1977-81 (D), Georgia state senator 1963-67, Governor 1971-75. He was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for undertaking peace negotiations, campaigning for human rights, and working for social welfare.

He served on US Navy submarines after graduating from Annapolis and in 1953 returned to Georgia to run his family’s peanut-growing business. Carter opposed the political climate of racial segregation and supported the civil rights movement, becoming a Democratic Party activist. Despite being little known outside of Georgia at the start of his campaign, he won the 1976 nomination and narrowly defeated incumbent President Ford. On his 2nd day in office, he pardoned all Vietnam War draft evaders. During his term, 2 new Cabinet departments, Education and Energy were created. His national energy policy included conservation, price control, and new technology. In foreign affairs, Carter pursued the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal Treaties, and the 2nd round of Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties (SALT II). On the economic front, he confronted a persistent combination of high inflation, high unemployment and slow growth. The end of his term was marked by the 1979–81 Iran hostage crisis, the 1979 energy crisis, the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, and the USSR invasion of Afghanistan. In response to the invasion, Carter escalated the Cold War when he ended détente, imposed a grain embargo against the USSR, enunciated the Carter Doctrine, and led a boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. In 1980, he won re-nomination but lost re-election to Ronald Reagan in an electoral landslide.

While usually ranked as a below-average president, his activities since leaving the presidency are seen more favorably than his presidency. In 1982, he established the Carter Center to promote and expand human rights. He traveled extensively to conduct peace negotiations, monitor elections, and advance disease prevention and eradication in developing nations. He is a key figure in Habitat for Humanity and has written 30+ books from political memoirs to poetry, while continuing to actively comment on ongoing US and global affairs.

At 96, he is the oldest living former US president. In recent years, he has been treated for metastatic melanoma that spread from his liver to his brain. After undergoing 4 months of immunotherapy in 2015 at 91, he revealed a brain scan no longer showed signs of cancer. In 2019, he was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery after a series of falls. In recent years he stopped signing autographs.

TLS on his 8 ½ x 6 ¼ personal letterhead with gilt presidential seal at top center, no place (Plains, Ga.),  August 11 1981 (7 months after leaving The White House), to a Virginia admirer. Carter thanks him for a certificate issued by the State of Georgia, appreciates his thoughtfulness and generosity in sending him such a historic item.

Condition: Very good

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