Healey Library's New Website

The library has a new website! The new URL is http://www.umb.edu/library. Starting Friday, August 26 access to the library's old website will automatically redirect you to the new site. If you experience any problems or wish to provide feedback, please contact library.support@umb.edu.

Piano Craft Guild Tenants' Association : Records, 1992-1999


4 document cases and 1 o.z. item


The collection was donated to the Archives by the officers of the Association.


The residents of the Piano Factory Building at 791 Tremont Street in the South End of Boston twice organized into tenants organizations to fight what they considered to be unfair actions by the owner/developer Simeon Bruner. The residents, artists and low-to-moderate income families, began moving into the Piano Factory in 1974 soon after Bruner had purchased and renovated the building with a Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) affordable housing loan. In 1989 the tenants organized as the Piano Factory Tenants Organization (PFTO) to fight, through legal and political action, Bruner's attempt to change the circumstances of their tenancy. The PFTO disbanded in 1993. In 1995 the tenants reorganized into the Piano Craft Guild Tenants' Association (PCGTA) to again fight Bruner's attempt to substantially raise the rents in the building. The PCGTA organized into various legal and political action committees to fight what they viewed to be unfair actions by the landlord after he paid off the MHFA loan. They took Bruner to court several times and eventually won the litigation in the Boston Housing Court in 1997.

Scope and Content

The collection reflects the Piano Factory Tenants' Organization and the Piano Craft Guild Tenants' Association activities in organizing to fight actions by the landlord/developer. The PCGTA appeared to have kept the organization's files together, although not in any particular order. The imposed structure was devised by the use of a printed time line and this processor's decisions. The collection is organized into eight series which reflects records of both organizations.


    I. Governance, 1989-1996
    II. Meeting Minutes and Agendas, April 2, 1989-June 25, 1999
    III. Correspondence, 1988-1999
    IV. Organization, November, 1991-1999
    V. Legal Fight, 1972-1999
    VI. Public Actions, 1997-1998 plus undated material
    VII. Resources/Subject Files, 1972-1999
    VIII. Newspaper Clippings, 1974-1999

During their litigation, this grassroots organization banded together with similar groups associated with HUD (Housing and Urban Development) experiencing similar circumstances. Material illustrating this is found in Series VII: Resource/Subject Files.

Box 1

Series I: Governance, 1989-1996

    1. Abilities and responsibilities of Board of Directors, code of ethics, by-laws, PCGTA Mission Statement, IRS ID Number, organization's structure, Committees Articles of Organization

Series II. Meeting minutes and Agendas, April 2, 1989-May 20, 1997

    1. April 2, 1989-May 20, 1997; also includes various committees, Board of Directors meetings, notes for media-political strategy
    2. May 27, 1997-June 25, 1999; also included Save Our Homes conference schedule held in June 1998, Washington, DC.

Series III. Correspondence, 1988-1999

    1. 1988-1993, plus some undated handwritten correspondence
    2. 1995
    3. 1996, plus some letters of some support 1996
    4. 1997
    5. 1998
    6. 1999

Box 2

Series IV. Organization 1991-1999

    1. Newsletters, November 1991 - February 1999
    2. Surveys to ascertain the ethnic mix and tenancy status of all residents of the Piano Factory, November 24, 1995
    3. Financial information, 1995-1998
    4. Dues information, 1995-1998
    5. Receipts n.d.
    6. Charts, 1993-1999

Series V. Legal Fight, 1972-1999

    1. Agreements, 1972-1999
    2. Contracts, 1995-1998
    3. Mortgage and security agreement for pre-payment of loan by Simeon Bruner, November 7, 1995
    4. MHFA Mortgage and prepayment loan, November 7, 1995
    5. Memoranda, 1994-1998
    6. Permits, April 25, 1972
    7. Legal opinions, February 20, 1996 / May 1,1996
    8. Legal opinions, March 6, 1997
    9. Articles of agreement June 23, 1998 / December 1, 1998

Box 3

    10. Reports, 1987-1998
    11. Notice of judgment entered, March 5, 1997
    12. Personal statements, July 10, 1989

Series VI. Public Actions, Jan. 1997-Feb. 1998 and undated material

    1-2. Fliers, January 21, 1997 / February 11, 1998
    3. Photographs ? date
    4. Petitions ? date
    5. Holiday songs ? date
    oz Poster ? date - filed in Archives Over Sized Box --

Series VII. Resource/Subject Files, 1972-1999

    1. Graphs, 1996
    2. History, 1972-1997, Time-line, who's who at the Piano Factory, Piano Factory original building owner biography, board of appeal documents
    3. HUD information, 1990-1999

Box 4

    4. HUD information, 1998-1999
    5-6. Laws, 1995-1998
    7. Manuals, June 26, 1996
    8. Pamphlets, 1996
    9. Programs, ? date
    10. Proposals, 1995-1998
    11. Handbooks, 1989-1994
    12. Handbooks, 1992-1996

Series VIII. Newspaper Clippings and Publications, 1974-1999

The National Tenants VOICE, 1997-1998; Shelterforce, 1997; The Boston Globe, 1989-1999; The New York Times, 1995-1997; The SPOA Newsletter, Dec. 1996; The South End News, 1995-1998; Glue (South End Community Magazine) 1997; The Boston People's Voice, 1996-1998; The Patriot Ledger, 1998; The Dallas Morning News, 1997; The Organizer, 1998; The Boston Herald,1998; The Boston TAB, 1996-1997; The Beacon Hill Times, 1996; The Bay State Banner, 1996; Dorchester Community News, 1989; FYI, 1997; Housing Development Reporter, 1989; The Inquirer, 1997, and others.