Research Catalog

James Reese Europe collection

James Reese Europe collection, 1847-1996
Europe, James Reese, 1881-1919.
Supplementary Content
Finding aid

Available Online

NYPL Digital Collections

Items in the Library & Off-site

Filter by

2 Items

StatusContainerFormatAccessCall NumberItem Location
box 1Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 616 box 1Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
box 2Mixed materialUse in library Sc MG 616 box 2Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives


Additional Authors
  • Badger, Reid.
  • Sissle, Noble, 1889-1975.
0.6 linear ft. (1 1/2 archival boxes)
The collection primarily consists of photocopied secondary sources, newspaper clippings, and programs collected by James R. Europe, Jr. to document his father's accomplishments. The contents also include bibliographies, magazine articles, a chronology of the Europe family from 1847 to 1947, a folder of WWI records, with Europe's military discharge records, a certified copy of the incorporation of the Clef Club of New York City, the "Memoirs of Lieutenant Jim Europe," by Noble Sissle, 1920, (which are actually reminiscences about Europe by Sissle), and excerpts from a biography, "James Reese Europe: A Life in Racetime" written by Reid Badger, in 1995.
  • Books and magazines transferred to the General Research and Reference Division.
Source (note)
  • James Reese Europe, Jr.
Call Number
Sc MG 616
Europe, James Reese, 1881-1919.
James Reese Europe collection, 1847-1996
During World War I, Europe enlisted in the armed services as a private, passed an officer's exam and became a lieutenant. As an officer he was assigned to the New York 15th Infantry in Harlem and was told to form a band. On New Year's day, 1918, Europe and the band traveled to France and were assigned combat duty under French command. Europe thus became the first African-American officer to lead combat troops into battle. The New York 15th Infantry was later renamed the 369th Infantry, also known as the Harlem Hellfighters. The French credited Europe with introducing a form of music that later became known as jazz.
After World War I ended Europe returned to the U.S. where he died in 1919 after a backstage altercation with Herbert Wright, (a drummer in his band) who stabbed him in the neck and severed an artery.
Connect to:
NYPL Digital Collections
Finding aid
Added Author
Badger, Reid.
Sissle, Noble, 1889-1975.
Research Call Number
Sc MG 616
View in Legacy Catalog