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Chelsea Victoria Clinton (1980–)

Chelsea Clinton is the only child of former U.S. president Bill Clinton and his wife, former U.S. senator and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was the Democratic nominee for U.S. president in 2016. Chelsea Clinton has served as a correspondent, public speaker, and author, and she works with the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative.

Chelsea Victoria Clinton was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on February 27, 1980. Hillary Clinton stated in her memoir that the name was inspired by a walk through the Chelsea district in London, England. Hearing the Joni Mitchell song, “Chelsea Morning,” Bill Clinton said, “If we ever have a daughter, we should name her Chelsea.”

When their daughter was born, Bill Clinton was serving his first term as Arkansas’s governor, and attorney Hillary Rodham Clinton was a partner at Little Rock’s Rose Law Firm. Chelsea Clinton attended Booker Arts and Science Magnet Elementary School, Forest Park Elementary, and Horace Mann Junior High, all public schools in Little Rock.

After winning the 1992 presidential election, Bill Clinton was inaugurated as U.S. president on January 20, 1993. The family moved to the White House in Washington DC. There, the Clintons stated that, for reasons of security and privacy, Chelsea would attend the private Sidwell Friends School. While at Sidwell, Chelsea Clinton was the center of intense media debate regarding whether the child should be able to retain her privacy. The thirteen-year-old Clinton became the target of ridicule for her physical appearance by commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and on satirical television programs such as Saturday Night Live.

After graduation from Sidwell in 1997, Clinton went on to earn an undergraduate degree in history at Stanford University in California. She then earned a master’s degree in international relations from Oxford University in England as well as a master’s in public health from Columbia University in New York. In 2014, she was awarded a doctoral degree in international relations from Oxford.

In 2000, the final year of her father’s presidency, Clinton assumed White House hostess responsibilities while her mother was campaigning for the U.S. Senate. She also attended state dinners with her father and traveled with him on several overseas trips.

In 2010, Clinton accepted a position at New York University as assistant vice-provost for the global network with a focus on international recruitment strategies. In 2011, Clinton began work as a special correspondent for NBC Nightly News, reporting feature stories about “making a difference.” She remained with the network until 2014, when she left to become more involved with the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative.

The Clinton Foundation describes its mission as convening businesses, governments, non-profits, and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as individuals, to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change. After co-chairing a fundraising project, Clinton became the foundation’s vice chair. She has also served on boards including the School of American Ballet, Common Sense Media, and Weill Cornell Medical College.

In 2010, Clinton married investment banker Marc Mezvinsky. The couple resides in New York City. Their daughter, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky, was born in 2014, and their son, Aidan Clinton Mezvinsky, was born in 2016.

Chelsea Clinton’s book for young people, It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! was published in 2015.

For additional information:
“Chelsea Clinton.” Clinton Foundation. https://www.clintonfoundation.org/about/chelsea-clinton (accessed May 11, 2017).

Clinton, Chelsea. It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! New York: Philomel Books, 2015.

Clinton, Hillary Rodham. Living History. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003.

Nancy Hendricks
Garland County Historical Society

Last Updated 5/11/2017

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