February 12, 2015 9:30 AM EST

The question of how to live a long life is not a new one — and, as TIME explores in the new issue, the answer is constantly evolving.

When the magazine took a look at longevity in 1958, the story (featuring coverboy Amos Alonzo Stagg, a 96-year-old football coach) investigated the latest medical news of the decade, the changing demographics of the nation and the wisdom those extraordinary people had to offer the rest of us young’uns. While the science wasn’t as clear as it is today, there was no shortage of role models. A four-page photo essay shot by Alfred Eisenstaedt featured some of the nation’s most notable elderly men; nine of them are featured here, with the original captions, including their ages at the time.

Read the full 1958 longevity issue here, in the TIME Vault: Growing Old Usefully

Read the new longevity issue here, on Time.com: The New Age of Much Older Age

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