Michael Rubbinaccio is the author of Bickmore’s Big Adventure: The Travels of Albert S. Bickmore and the Founding of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. This is his third New York City history-related book, having previously written Abraham Oakey Hall: New York’s Most Elegant and Controversial Mayor in 2011 and New York’s Father is Murdered! The Life and Death of Andrew Haswell Green in 2012. Both of those biographies chronicled the turbulent Tweed years and the interesting lives both men led.
Michael attended the world-renowned University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, and he later received a Master’s degree in Strategic Communications and Leadership from Seton Hall University in New Jersey. For nearly two decades he has worked at several large companies in the Seattle area in corporate communications, marketing, and marketing-communications consulting.
A native first of Dallas, Texas, and then New Jersey, Michael Rubbinaccio lives in Seattle, Washington.
In the 1840s, a young boy in rural Maine stood on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, peering out across its cold, blue majesty and imagining distant lands and peoples. His interests in travel piqued by his seaman father and his love of nature fueled by his youthful outdoor adventures, Albert Smith Bickmore took that passion for travel and nature and founded a world-class institution—The American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
While this book covers in detail both the biography of Bickmore and the history of the first fifty years of the museum’s operations, the two stories are genuinely intertwined, just as they were in Bickmore’s life. The story is one of perseverance and undaunted determination in the quest to fulfill his early vision and further his own love and passion for nature. Bickmore’s influence on the museum and its true purpose carries forward even to today. The American Museum of Natural History isn’t just a place to see exhibits and displays about the natural sciences. The museum transports visitors to far-away lands and places they may not ever have the ability to see.
Bickmore’s Big Adventure tells the story of Bickmore’s early childhood influences and his world travels collecting specimens and materials for his famous lectures—travels that took him around the globe where he faced death in encounters with man-eating tigers, ferocious elephants, cannibals, and tribes of headhunters. These travels and his own passion led to his pushing for a museum of natural history located in New York City, seeing it thrive, and popularizing the visual method of instruction. While there were others who became involved over the years who were far more powerful, far wealthier, and better equipped to manage the large institution in the bureaucracy of the city and state governments, Bickmore was always the driving force of the museum’s soul.
On a cold November afternoon in 1903, Andrew Haswell Green lay bleeding on the concrete, a victim of an assassin s bullet, thus ending a career and life dedicated to service to the City of New York.
Without his tireless management, skill in navigating municipal and state politics, and undaunted spirit of a do-gooder, New York City would certainly not have Central Park, The New York Public Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The American Museum of Natural History, New York City Hall...the list goes on and on.
Often called the Father of Greater New York, Green was until his dying day a relentless advocate for the common good. He earned this title for being the proponent for consolidation of the five boroughs to make Greater New York City in 1898. Green was always striving to make New York City a magnificent city, not only for the current generation, but for generations to come.
We are familiar with his work, but not his name. We recognize immediately the buildings and landmarks he created or helped create, but we do not know his face. Always the driving force in the background and always focused on the outcomes rather than the means or his own ego, Green served the citizens of New York City for over sixty years from his arrival in the 1840s until his death in 1903.
This book examines Green s life and involvement with many of today s historic buildings, parks and attractions so that the reader may full appreciate them and how they came to be, and how New York City became the city it is today.
Ask a New Yorker on the street today what he or she thinks of Abraham Oakey Hall, and you'll be met with a puzzled glance. But if you had asked that same question of a citizen on that same sidewalk in 1871, you would have received an earful. Some thought he was brilliant.
Some thought he was crazy. Dubbed Elegant Oakey by the citizens of New York City in the 1870s, Hall lived his life and governed the city in full color, by far the most flamboyant and interesting mayors the city has ever had. Always dressed impeccably with the highest fashions of the day and wearing his trademark pince-nez glasses, Hall became the toast of New York City.
But the charming finesse by which Hall lived has been overshadowed by his alleged participation in the Tweed Ring theft scandal that rocked New York City in 1871 during his mayoralty. Hall was accused of stealing money along with William Boss Tweed and other city officials. Whenever Hall is mentioned, he is associated with the scandal, even given the fact that he was tried three times and acquitted.
Abraham Oakey Hall: New York's Most Elegant and Controversial Mayor takes the reader along an intimate journal through Hall's life, full of interesting stories and anecdotes and asks the reader to serve as an historic jury member to decide Hall's innocence or guilt. What say you?