We’re history: Local 802 donates archives to NYU

Volume 111, No. 10October, 2011

In order to preserve our history, Local 802 has donated its valuable collection of historical records to the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at NYU so that they can be made accessible to union members, students, scholars and the general public.

Nearly 345 boxes that had been in the basement of Local 802 were moved to the archives. These include Executive Board minutes, files the union kept on various shows, organizing records, collective bargaining files and early membership application forms. A virtually complete set of Allegro will also be coming to the archives.

This wonderfully rich collection tells the story of 802’s early years, including organizing campaigns of the 1930’s and 1930’s, the fight for collective bargaining rights, and the ongoing struggle to preserve live music on Broadway. It will provide researchers with crucial background information about Local 802 and its role in both the entertainment industry and labor movement.

Moreover, this archival project will provide Local 802 with a usable past. It will make it possible for the current generation of musicians to understand the history and struggles that formed their union, the role that it played in raising members’ living standards and defending professionalism. It will be a valuable asset for use in contract negotiation, as it documents past practice, educational programs, new member orientation, and outreach activities.

If you have historical materials in your file cabinets or closets and want to participate in Local 802’s historical program, please contact Michael Nash at the Wagner Labor Archives at (212) 998-2428. The archives are particularly interested in old photographs.

This story originally appeared in the October 2011 issue of Allegro, the magazine of the New York City musicians’ union (AFM Local 802). For reprint requests, send an e-mail to editor Mikael Elsila at