University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Abe Saperstein Harlem Globetrotters Papers, 1928-1991.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Saperstein, Abe
Title: Abe Saperstein Harlem Globetrotters Papers,
Dates: 1928-1991
Abstract: Collection documents Abe Saperstein's career as owner and coach of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Accession No.: 99-176
Extent: 1 ft., 5 in.
Laguage: Materials are written in English.
Note: See also the Anzivino (Joseph J.) Collection
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History,The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Abe Saperstein (1902-1966) founded, promoted, and coached the Harlem Globetrotters Basketball Team, previously named the Savoy Big Five, for 39 years. He was born in London in 1902, moved to Chicago at the age of six, and began coaching basketball in 1925. In 1926, he started Saperstein's Harlem, New York, Globetrotters, who later became known as simply the Harlem Globetrotters. Having difficulty finding opponents, Saperstein created an entertaining comic basketball show in 1929. In 1940 the team won the World Basketball Championship and from 1943-1944 won the International Cup. Saperstein founded the American Basketball League, serving as its 1st commissioner from 1961-1962, and was inducted into the basketball hall of fame in 1971. He traveled around the world as the owner and coach of the Harlem Globetrotters until his death in 1966. Saperstein provided opportunities for African American players, who were excluded by professional leagues.

Scope and Contents

Programs, yearbooks, travel logs, correspondence, artifacts, photographs, roster and papers regarding the Abe Saperstein Foundation and Saperstein estate document Abe Saperstein's career.


Use Restrictions

Unrestricted access

Index Terms

Saperstein, Abe--Archives
Harlem Globetrotters--Archives
Harlem Globetrotters--Photographs
Basketball managers--Archives
Basketball teams--Archives
Sports administration

Related Material

Forms part of the Professional Touring Entertainment Industry Archives.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Abe Saperstein Harlem Globetrotters Papers, 1928-1991, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Detailed Description of the Papers



2.325/P14c Miscellaneous television ratings; Harlem Globetrotter appearances, 1961-1986
Abe Saperstein travel logs and miscellaneous reference regarding Abe, 1950-1966
Permanent roster; alumni, 1960-1987
Abe Saperstein Foundation and Eloise, 1971-1988
Harlem Globetrotters Varieties of 1955, 1954-1955 and 1977
Very special clips or pix for filing, 1928, 1941, 1954-1985
World of Music, January, February, March, 1961 and 1987
Personal letters/miscellaneous special appearances, 1951-1974 and 1983
McAuliffe; Brand; Paris; Film library, 1985-1988
"Score" 1978-1988
David Land, 1975-1986
Metromedia International Broadcasting, 1985-1986
Saperstein estate, 1966-1977
George Gillett, 1974-1989
Business cards, undated
3So65.3 Amusement Business, 1990
2.325/P14c College All Star Tours
Souvenir programs, 1950-1961
Official record and press releases, 1950-1962 and 1976
Souvenir programs, 1950-1961
To 1956-1957
1947-1954 and undated
1954-1957 and undated
2.325/P14d 1957-1958 to 1967-1968
1957-1961 and undated
1968-1969 to 1984-1985
1978-1985 and undated
2.325/D18d Diamond Jubilee, 1987
1988 World Tour, 1988
2.325/P14d Commemorative 65th Anniversary Edition, 1991
3Z319b Photographs, 1963, 1987, and undated
Artifact Collection