Rick Feingold holds a B.A. in History and Business from Rutgers and an M.B.A. from Penn State. He has 30 years of teaching experience, currently teaching “American Business History” and “The Air Force in World War II” at Bergen Community College. He also teaches at Ridgewood Community School and Emerson Community School. He has lectured at over fifty local libraries and has written for the Boston Herald and Christian Science Monitor.
John D. Rockefeller: The Richest American Who Ever Lived
Asked how he became so rich, Rockefeller replied, “God gave me my money.” Rockefeller was in the oil refining business early after the Pennsylvania oil rush began in 1859. He built state-of-the-art refineries and bought out his rivals. Rockefeller negotiated secret rebates with the railroads and formed what would become the Standard Oil Trust. Eventually the Supreme Court declared Standard Oil a monopoly and ordered it be broken up. But the individual oil companies were worth more separately and Rockefeller would go on to enter a second life of philanthropy which lives on to today.
J.P. Morgan: The Original Rich Uncle Pennybags
When the federal government ran out of gold in 1895, J. P. Morgan bailed it out with gold from his bank. Then he bailed out the government again in 1907. He bought out Andrew Carnegie and formed the largest corporation in the world, named U.S. Steel. Rich Uncle Pennybags, better known as the banker in the Monopoly board game, is based on J. P. Morgan. His company JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank in the United States. This program covers the life of America’s most famous financier whose influence is still felt today.
Cowboys, Cattle Trails, and Cowtowns of the Old West
Millions of cattle were driven from Texas ranches to railheads in Kansas for shipment to the Armour meatpacking plant in Chicago in the late 19th century. Traveling along the Chisholm Trail, the cowboys ended up in the Kansas Cowtowns of Wichita, Abilene, and Dodge City. Newly paid, the rowdy cowboys would spend their money in saloons, gambling halls, or in the Red Light District. Gunfights occurred and lawmen Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp would restore order. Nat Love rose from plantation slave to champion Rodeo Cowboy. Program music includes The Farmer and the Cowman, Rawhide, and The Last Cowboy Song.
1.1.2 American Business History
The capitalist economic system is marked by economic boom and bust cycles. The prior expansion cycle was the longest in American history. This class covers business cycles of the 18th to 21st centuries in America. Topics include: three depressions of early America, J. P. Morgan, the crash of 1929, the Great Depression, and the 2008 Great Recession. Themes include counterfeiting, the First and Second banks of the United States, the rise of modern finance, Jesse Livermore-The Great Bear of Wall Street, the Lehman Brothers collapse, and the too big to fail dilemma. NEW! (Note that the third session of this class will be at the same time, 10:00 am, but will be held on Wednesday, March 30.)
2.1.3 Stories of the U. S. Air Force: 1917-1953
This class will cover Eddie Rickenbacker – flying ace of World War I; American propaganda of World War II including the Disney film Education for Death, Memphis Belle, and the story of Lili Marlene; Louis Zamperini’s career as a runner at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and as a flyer who survived 47 days in a lifeboat after being shot down in the Pacific; Major Glenn Miller’s Army Air Forces band; and baseball player Ted Williams’ career as a fighter pilot. The final session will cover the “Escape from Behind Enemy Lines” account of how the instructor’s father, Louis Feingold, a B-17 navigator, escaped enemy capture with the French Underground after his plane was shot down over occupied France in 1943. NEW!
The Girl from Ipanema and the Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim
The Bossa Nova sound originated in Rio de Janeiro, home to the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. The Girl from Ipanema won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965. Rio, a city of contrasts, features one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the pre-Lenten celebration Carnival, and striking favelas. The city comes alive through the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, including the Sinatra recordings, Sergio Mendes, and Elis Regina.
Cornelius Vanderbilt: The First Tycoon
Cornelius Vanderbilt began operating his own ferry in New York Harbor at the age of 16. He would work from dawn until dark ferrying passengers between Staten Island and the tip of Manhattan. The tiny business would grow into a massive steamship company. Vanderbilt would undercut his competitors by pricing his services so low that he would drive them out of business. Eventually, he built a railroad empire from New York to Chicago and the First Grand Central Station at 42nd Street.
Propaganda Music and Film of World War II
The Allies utilized films, music, posters, cartoons, and even comic books in a propaganda effort to increase support for the war effort in America and abroad. President Franklin Roosevelt created the Office of War Information in 1942 to control all communications coming into and out of the United States. This program features the Three Stooges short You Natzy Spy! and the German propaganda band Charlie and His Orchestra.
Hamilton Returns to Broadway, Fall 2021
Today, Hamilton, a ground-breaking musical featuring Black and Latino actors playing the founding fathers, is the hottest ticket on Broadway. Hamilton, who as an immigrant became the first Secretary of the Treasury and founded the U.S. financial system, died at the hands of Vice President Aaron Burr upon the dueling grounds in Weehawken, NJ. The class features music from the Broadway production tied together with the history behind each song. Bonus: Hamilton at the White House, Hamilton on Jeopardy, the Tony awards, the Stephen Colbert Show, and Some Good News. NEW!
Motown Records and Berry Gordy
Berry Gordy wrote the Jackie Wilson hit Lonely Teardrops but barely made any money. So he started his own record company named “Motown”. The label played an important role in the racial integration of popular music, achieving crossover success. Motown would launch the careers of Diana Ross & the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, and The Jackson Five. The class will feature classic videos of the early years of Motown music.