Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bolden (née Jones; August 15, 1890 – December 11, 2006) was an American supercentenarian woman who, at the time of her death at age 116 years and 118 days, was recognized by Guinness World Records as the then world's oldest living person. She was the last remaining documented person born in 1890. Bolden was the seventh recorded person to reach age 116 without dispute. She is the oldest North American to have lived in three different centuries.


Elizabeth Jones was born in 1890 in Somerville, Tennessee, the daughter of freed slaves.

Bolden married Louis Bolden circa 1908, and their first child, a son, Ezell, was born on September 21, 1909. She had seven children in total, only two of whom were still alive as of her death in 2006: Esther Rhodes, 89, and Mamie Brittmon, 86. At the time of her 116th birthday in August 2006, Bolden had 40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 150 great-great-grandchildren, 220 great-great-great grandchildren and 75 great-great-great-great-grandchildren.[1]

In her final years she resided in a Memphis, Tennessee nursing home, and was described by her family as unable to communicate, and they thus requested that media attention (such as interviews and visits) be limited. During her reign as world's oldest person titleholder, Bolden was rarely seen in public.

She was photographed for two different books in early 2005, and was featured in Jet magazine in May 2005 and the Memphis Commercial Appeal in June 2005. For her 116th birthday, new photographs were released for the first time in almost a year, and her family said that she was looking forward to her big day.[1]

Age recordsEdit

Elizabeth Bolden was verified in April 2005 as being the oldest documented resident of the United States since the death of Emma Verona Johnston the previous December. She displaced Bettie Wilson, who had previously been the oldest known American.

Bolden regained the oldest living person title following the August 27, 2006 death of María Capovilla.[2] This was officially confirmed on September 17, 2006 by Guinness World Records. She had previously held the title from the August 30, 2005 death of Hendrikje van Andel. On December 9, 2005, Capovilla was announced as authenticated older. Bolden became only the second person to hold the title twice, the first one being world record holder Jeanne Calment.

Bolden is the oldest North American to have lived in three different centuries, and the second-oldest person worldwide to have done so, after the previously mentioned María Capovilla.

In July 2006, Bolden entered the list of the all time top ten oldest verified people. At the time of her death aged 116 years 118 days she was and still is the seventh-oldest undisputed person ever documented.

In the 1900 U.S. Census, she is recorded as being nine years old and born in August 1890, and in the 1910 U.S. Census she is recorded as 19 years old, married with a child. With the destruction of the Fayette County, Tennessee records in a 1925 fire, the family had guessed that she was born in 1891, but investigation proved she was a year older.

When Bolden died, the Los Angeles based Gerontology Research Group and Guinness World Records named the successor of the title of the world's oldest living person as Emiliano Mercado del Toro of Puerto Rico. He was the first man to hold the title in over 20 years.

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Preceded by
María Capovilla
Oldest recognized living person
August 27, 2006 – December 11, 2006
Succeeded by
Emiliano Mercado del Toro
Oldest recognized living woman
August 27, 2006 – December 11, 2006
Succeeded by
Julie Winnefred Bertrand