In many ways, 1957 was a transformative year in American history. Major cultural shifts, fueled by unprecedented post-war economic prosperity led to a fundamental redefinition of what it was to be an American. For most, there was a very real sense of optimism and exuberance reflected in everything from large car tailfins to a new, youth-led music movement known as rock and roll. For others, a sense of hope for a better future began to take root with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 along with the courage displayed by the Little Rock Nine in challenging then-prevalent school segregation.
Retirement in the 1950s was much easier than it is today. Everything in America was booming during this time. After the end of WW II, the introduction of the G.I. Bill in 1944 gave many benefits to soldiers when they returned home from the war.