17 songs your great-grandparents loved that are still relevant today.

I never quite understood why anyone would long for the "good ol' days."

I suppose if you're a well-to-do white guy, going back in time would probably be pretty fun. The three-piece suits, carriage rides, frequent fires, duels — you know, the stuff dreams are made of. 

But for the rest of us, there's not much to write home about. 


Though I will readily admit penny-farthing bikes are kind of cool. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

That is, until I discovered a treasure trove of old music. 

"The Tattooed Man," 1897. Music by Victor Herbert. Lyrics by Harry B. Smith. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

The good people at the New York Public Library recently digitized thousands of documents including more than 4,000 pieces of popular American sheet music from the 19th and 20th century. And if you're willing to sift through the frequent racism of the period, there are some real gems, many of which are very apropos today. 

In fact, here are 17 popular songs from the 1800s that are perfect for any contemporary situation. 

1. When your #TBT is really on point.

"One Year Ago To-Day," 1898. Music by Jos. P. Ramsdell. Lyrics by Nat Aschner. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

2. When you really want an electric car, then see how much they cost.

"If I Only Had a Job," 1898. Music by James B. Mullen. Lyrics by W.E. Browning. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Fear not! A recent analysis predicts electric cars will be cheaper to own than conventional models by 2022. So keep saving your pennies and get ready to fight for that clutch EV parking space at the grocery store. 

3. When anyone over 50 tells you how easy it was for them to graduate without student loan debt.

"I'm Not Old Enough to Know," 1890. Music by Frank David. Lyrics by William Jerome. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

They know the cost of a college degree has increased more than 1,000% since 1982, right?

4. When you make the mistake of teaching your mom how to use her emoji keyboard.

"Have Pity Judge, She's My Mother," 1898. Music and lyrics by Gussie L. Davis. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

How do you tell your mom this situation does not call for a smiley face with sunglasses? Hint: You don't. 

5. When you are fed up with explaining why intersectional feminism is important, but you do it anyway.

"I'm Tired," 1901. Music by by Jean Schwartz. Lyrics by William Jerome. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Because no one should get left behind when we're talking about equality, that's why. 

6. When you see someone throw a plastic bottle in the trash.

"The Day Will Come When You'll Be Sorry," 1894. Music and lyrics by Kurt P. Hirsekorn. Performed by James McGowan. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

The recycling bin is RIGHT THERE. Do I have to show you a picture of a turtle trapped in a set of plastic rings? Or all the plastic floating in the ocean? Because I will. 

7. When you need to tell someone they're not a special snowflake, but it's super hot outside.

"You're Not the Only Pebble on the Beach," 1896. Music by Stanley Carter. Lyrics by Harry Braisted. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

8. When you find out just how difficult it is to turn back the clock on climate change.

"Is Life Worth Living," 1896. Music and lyrics by Chas K. Harris. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

There's no going back, but we can do everything we can to protect the future. And some of the steps we're taking are actually working. Don't give up hope! 

9. When you like Kevin Bacon but you hate "Footloose."

"Summer Girl Song," 1894. Music and lyrics by Safford Waters. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

10. When you're still super pumped about marriage equality.

"I'll Marry the Man I Love," 1897. Music and lyrics by Monroe H. Rosenfeld. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

11. (Even if your family's not quite on board.)

"My Mamma Won't Let Me Come Out," 1895. Music by Alice Cady. Lyrics by George Cooper. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

12. When you realize kids born in 1998 can buy cigarettes.

"To Me You're A Baby, Dear," Music and lyrics by Edward Abeles. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

But not for long if they're in California, where the state assembly just broke a political logjam to raise the legal smoking age to 21.

13. When it's 3:30 on a Friday.

"I Trust the Happy Hour Will Come," 1893. Music by A. Templar. Lyrics by Julian Pauncefote.Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

14. When you find out someone close to you is voting for Trump.

"I Love You in Spite of All," 1893. Music by Chas K. Harris. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

And yes, it's OK to grieve the loss of common sense. 

15. When you decide to go #nofilter on your latest selfie.

"Take Me as I Am," 1899. Music by Andy Lewis. Lyrics by Joe Hurtig. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

16. When you can't find any Amur leopards or South China tigers.

"Has Anybody Seen Our Cat," 1899. Music by T.W. Conner. Lyrics by James T. Powers. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

But then you remember they're critically endangered and you feel bad, but instead of feeling bad, you decide to do something about it.

17. When you find out your special someone finished "House of Cards" without you.

"Those Wedding Bells Shall Not Ring Out," 1896. Music and lyrics by Monroe H. Rosenfeld. Image via New York Public Library Digital Collections.

So the next time you're looking for the right song for an ordinary (or extraordinary) occasion, ditch Spotify and try some music from days of yore.

While the haircuts, casual racism, and frequent fires should be relegated to the past, this music deserves to live on a little while longer. 

For John Shults and Joy Morrow-Nulton, the COVID-19 pandemic brought more than just health threats and lockdown woes. For the two 95-year-olds, it also held something remarkable—another chance at romance.

Both Shults and Morrow-Nulton had been married twice and widowed twice, but they were determined to find love again. They met in May of 2019, brought together by Morrow-Nulton's 69-year-old son, John Morrow.

"She was cute, I'll tell you that," Shultz told the New York Times of their first meeting. "And she was smart and she had a delightful sense of humor. And she smiled at me."

Shultz asked her to lunch a few more times before it became crystal clear to Morrow-Nulton that he was on a mission to date her.

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For John Shults and Joy Morrow-Nulton, the COVID-19 pandemic brought more than just health threats and lockdown woes. For the two 95-year-olds, it also held something remarkable—another chance at romance.

Both Shults and Morrow-Nulton had been married twice and widowed twice, but they were determined to find love again. They met in May of 2019, brought together by Morrow-Nulton's 69-year-old son, John Morrow.

"She was cute, I'll tell you that," Shultz told the New York Times of their first meeting. "And she was smart and she had a delightful sense of humor. And she smiled at me."

Shultz asked her to lunch a few more times before it became crystal clear to Morrow-Nulton that he was on a mission to date her.

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Each year, an estimated 1.8 million people in the United States are affected by cancer — most commonly cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, and blood cancers such as leukemia. While not everyone overcomes the disease, thanks to science, more people are surviving — and for longer — than ever before in history.

We asked three people whose lives have been impacted by cancer to share their stories – how their lives were changed by the disease, and how they're using that experience to change the future of cancer treatments with the hope that ultimately, in the fight against cancer, science will win. Here's what they had to say.

Celine Ryan, 55, engineer database programmer and mother of five from Detroit, MI

Photo courtesy of Celine Ryan

In September 2013, Celine Ryan woke up from a colonoscopy to some traumatic news. Her gastroenterologist showed her a picture of the cancerous mass they found during the procedure.

Ryan and her husband, Patrick, had scheduled a colonoscopy after discovering some unusual bleeding, so the suspicion she could have cancer was already there. Neither of them, however, were quite prepared for the results to be positive -- or for the treatment to begin so soon. Just two days after learning the news, Ryan had surgery to remove the tumor, part of her bladder, and 17 cancerous lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation soon followed.

Ryan's treatment was rigorous – but in December 2014, she got the devastating news that the cancer, once confined to her colon, had spread to her lungs. Her prognosis, they said, was likely terminal.

But rather than give up hope, Ryan sought support from online research, fellow cancer patients and survivors, and her medical team. When she brought up immunotherapy to her oncologist, he quickly agreed it was the best course of action. Ryan's cancer, like a majority of colon and pancreatic cancers, had been caused by a defect on the gene KRAS, which can result in a very aggressive cancer that is virtually "undruggable." According to the medical literature, the relatively smooth protein structure of the KRAS gene meant that designing inhibitors to bind to surface grooves and treat the cancer has been historically difficult. Through her support systems, Ryan discovered an experimental immunotherapy trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD., and called them immediately to see if she was eligible. After months of trying to determine whether she was a suitable candidate for the experimental treatment, Ryan was finally accepted.

The treatment, known as tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy, or TIL, is a testament to how far modern science has evolved. With this therapy, doctors remove a tumor and harvest special immune cells that are found naturally in the tumor. Doctors then grow the cells in a lab over the next several weeks with a protein that promotes rapid TIL growth – and once the cells number into the billions, they are infused back into the patient's body to fight the cancer. On April 1, 2015, Ryan had her tumor removed at the NIH. Two months later, she went inpatient for four weeks to have the team "wash out" her immune system with chemotherapy and infuse the cells – all 148 billion of them – back into her body.

Six weeks after the infusion, Ryan and Patrick went back for a follow-up appointment – and the news they got was stunning: Not only had no new tumors developed, but the six existing tumors in her lungs had shrunk significantly. Less than a year after her cell infusion, in April 2016, the doctors told Ryan news that would have been impossible just a decade earlier: Thanks to the cell infusion, Ryan was now considered NED – no evaluable disease. Her body was cancer-free.

Ryan is still NED today and continuing annual follow-up appointments at the NIH, experiencing things she never dreamed she'd be able to live to see, such as her children's high school and college graduations. She's also donating her blood and cells to the NIH to help them research other potential cancer treatments. "It was an honor to do so," Ryan said of her experience. "I'm just thrilled, and I hope my experience can help a lot more people."

Patrice Lee, PhD, VP of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Exploratory Development at Pfizer

Photo courtesy of Patrice Lee

Patrice Lee got into scientific research in an unconventional way – through the late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

Lee never met Cousteau but her dreams of working with him one day led her to pursue a career in science. Initially, Lee completed an undergraduate degree in marine biology; eventually, her interests changed and she decided to get a dual doctoral degree in physiology and toxicology at Duke University. She now works at Pfizer's R&D site in Boulder, CO (formerly Array BioPharma), leading a group of scientists who determine the safety and efficacy of new oncology drugs.

"Scientists focused on drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry are deeply committed to inventing new therapies to meet unmet needs," Lee says, describing her field of work. "We're driven to achieve new medicines and vaccines as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety."

Among the drugs Lee has helped develop during her career, including cancer therapies, she says around a dozen are currently in development, while nine have received FDA approval — an incredible accomplishment as many scientists spend their careers without seeing their drug make it to market. Lee's team is particularly interested in therapies for brain metastases — something that Lee says is a largely unmet need in cancer research, and something her team is working on from a variety of angles. "Now that we've had rapid success with mRNA vaccine technology, we hope to explore what the future holds when applying this technology to cancers," Lee says.

But while evaluating potential cancer therapies is a professional passion of Lee's, it's also a mission that's deeply personal. "I'm also a breast cancer survivor," she says. "So I've been on the other side of things and have participated in a clinical trial."

However, seeing how melanoma therapies that she helped develop have affected other real-life cancer patients, she says, has been a highlight of her career. "We had one therapy that was approved for patients with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma," Lee recalls. "Our team in Boulder was graced by a visit from a patient that had benefited from these drugs that we developed. It was a very special moment for the entire team."

None of these therapies would be available, Lee says without rigorous science behind it: "Facts come from good science. Facts will drive the development of new drugs, and that's what will help patients."

Chiuying "Cynthia" Kuk (they/them) MS, 34, third-year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Kuk

Cynthia Kuk was just 10 years old when they had a conversation that would change their life forever.

"My mother, who worked as a translator for the government at the time, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and after her chemotherapy treatments she would get really sick," Kuk, who uses they/them pronouns, recalls. "When I asked my dad why mom was puking so much, he said it was because of the medicine she was taking that would help her get better."

Kuk's response was immediate: "That's so stupid! Why would a medicine make you feel worse instead of better? When I'm older, I want to create medicine that won't make people sick like that."

Nine years later, Kuk traveled from their native Hong Kong to the United States to do exactly that. Kuk enrolled in a small, liberal arts college for their Bachelor's degree, and then four years later started a PhD program in cancer research. Although Kuk's mother was in remission from her cancer at the time, Kuk's goal was the same as it had been as a 10-year-old watching her suffer through chemotherapy: to design a better cancer treatment, and change the landscape of cancer research forever.

Since then, Kuk's mission has changed slightly.

"My mom's cancer relapsed in 2008, and she ended up passing away about five years after that," Kuk says. "After my mom died, I started having this sense of urgency. Cancer research is such that you work for twenty years, and at the end of it you might have a fancy medication that could help people, but I wanted to help people now." With their mother still at the forefront of their mind, Kuk decided to quit their PhD program and enter medical school.

Now, Kuk plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine – not only because they are drawn to the excitement of the emergency room, but because the ER is a place where the most marginalized people tend to seek care.

"I have a special interest in the LGBTQ+ population, as I identify as queer and nonbinary," says Kuk. "A lot of people in this community and other marginalized communities access care through the ER and also tend to avoid medical care since there is a history of mistreatment and judgement from healthcare workers. How you carry yourself as a doctor, your compassion, that can make a huge difference in someone's care."

In addition to making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ patients, Kuk wants to make a difference in the lives of patients with cancer as well, like their mother had.

"We've diagnosed patients in the Emergency Department with cancer before," Kuk says. "I can't make cancer good news but how you deliver bad news and the compassion you show could make a world of difference to that patient and their family."

During their training, Kuk advocates for patients by delivering compassionate and inclusive care, whether they happen to have cancer or not. In addition to emphasizing their patient's pronouns and chosen names, they ask for inclusive social and sexual histories as well as using gender neutral language. In doing this, they hope to make medicine as a whole more accessible for people who have been historically pushed aside.

"I'm just one person, and I can't force everyone to respect you, if you're marginalized," Kuk says. "But I do want to push for a culture where people appreciate others who are different from them."