Today, the state of Florida doesn't see much in the way of revolution. The current governor is deeply unpopular, it's true, but the people of the Sunshine State are still pretty far from armed rebellion. This was not always the case. Many years before the West was won and the Monroe Doctrine proclaimed America's shores inviolable, western Florida was an international battleground where newly independent Americans fought with Spanish and French imperialists for control of valuable New World real estate.
Annie Glenn, Rene Carpenter, Louise Shepard, Betty Grissom, Trudy Cooper and Marjorie Slayton attend a luncheon held in their honor by the American Newspaper Women's Club on April 27, 1962, in Washington, D.C. Mercury Seven wife Josephine Schirra is not pictured.
Credit Mark Seliger / Courtesy Mark Seliger
Lily Koppel writes for The New York Times and is also the author of The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal.
In the late 1950s, after the Soviet Union successfully put their satellite, Sputnik 1, into orbit, American fears over the Communist threat reached a new height. The U.S. was trailing badly in a competition that would come to define the next decade – the race to space.
So on April 9, 1959, the U.S. kicked off its own space age by introducing the country to its first astronauts, known as the Mercury Seven. Their story is well known, but the story of their wives is often overlooked.