Musical Mutual Protective Union

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Musical Mutual Protective Union
MMPU hall 209 E85 jeh.JPG
Affiliationwas Local 301 of the American Federation of Musicians from 1902–21
Office location209 East 85th Street
Manhattan, New York City
CountryUnited States

The Musical Mutual Protective Union (MMPU) was a New York union of musicians, formed in 1863, with a focus on payment made to musicians in theaters and at balls.[1][2][3]

In 1885, the union was open to “all instrumental performers, who have been residents of the United States for the period of six months previous to application.”[4] Foreign musicians were not allowed to play in orchestras unless they were in a union.[2]

The union become Local 301 of the American Federation of Musicians in 1902.[5] In 1904, it had 5,000 members, who were almost entirely German.[2][6] In 1910, approximately 300 black musicians were members in the roughly 8,000-member union.[4]

It was located at 209 East 85th Street in Manhattan, New York City, between Second Avenue and Third Avenue, in a building constructed in 1919.[5][6] The building was later a theater and hall, a casino, and a waiters' union.[4][5] The basement of the building now houses The Amsterdam Billiard Club.[5] The original facade on 85th Street is still extant.[5]

The union lost its charter in 1921.[5] In 1929 the union planned a mass march against joblessness, claiming 35,000 unemployed, but was unable to secure a parade permit from the police.[7][8]


  1. ^ Spitzer, John (2012). American Orchestras in the Nineteenth Century. University of Chicago Pres. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Toff, Nancy (2005). Monarch of the Flute: The Life of Georges Barrere. Oxford University Press. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  3. ^ Executive Committee of the Musical Protective Union (November 13, 1865). "The Musical Mutual Protective Union – Card to the Public". The New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Goldberg, Jacob (February 11, 2013). "Breaking the color line; Associated Musicians of Greater New York". Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Gray, Christopher (June 6, 1999). "Streetscapes: Readers' Questions; Echoes of a Union Hall; Artificial Sunlight". The New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Koegel, John (2009). Music in German Immigrant Theater: New York City, 1840–1940. University Rochester Press. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  7. ^ Zinn, Howard; Frank, Dana & Kelley, Robin D. G. (2002). Three Strikes: Miners, Musicians, Salesgirls, and the Fighting Spirit of Labor's Last Century. Beacon Press. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  8. ^ Crafton, Donald (1999). The Talkies: American Cinema's Transition to Sound, 1926–1931. University of California Press. Retrieved June 10, 2014.

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