Leo Reisman

Biographical Sketch

Leo (F.) Reisman (October 11, 1897 – December 18, 1961) was born in Boston on October 11, 1897. For his tenth birthday he was given a violin. He later studied at the New England Conservatory of Music around 1917.

Reisman started his own dance band in 1919 and began playing at Boston's Brunswick Hotel in the famed Egyptian Room. Ten years later he and his band moved to New York City and began a long engagement at the Central Park Casino. Reisman and his band moved to the Sert Room at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, in 1937, the same year that they traveled to Europe, playing at the Paris International Exposition and the Sport D'ete in Monte Carlo. In 1941, he and his band played at the Guatemala Fair and for the Inaugural Ball of the newly elected President Jorge Ubico.

Reisman's recording career began at Colombia Records in 1921. He signed with Victor Records in 1929, then Brunswick Records in 1933. But by 1937 he was back again on the Victor label. Then, in 1942, he signed with Decca Records and remained with them until his death. A couple of his more famous recordings include: "Night and Day" by Cole Porter and "Cheek to Cheek" sung by Fred Astaire and written by Irving Berlin.

On radio, he and his orchestra starred on the Pond's Cold Cream hour, the Schaefer Beer program, The Phillip Morris show, and the Lucky Strike Hit Parade, among many others.

The famous band leader was also instrumental in finding and promoting talented singers, composers and musicians including jazz singer, Lee Wiley; Bubber Miley, a former trumpet player with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and pianist, Eddy Duchin. Reisman also worked with Harold Arlen, Fred Astaire, Dinah Shore (in her first public singing appearance), Noel Coward, Victor Borge and Eve Symington.

Reisman was married to the former Lillian Casler. The couple had two children, Jane (Jampolis) and Karl.  He died on December 18, 1961, at his home in Mid-town Manhattan after a long illness.

Source:  Leo Reisman Papers http://archives.nypl.org/mus/18419  Accessed May 27, 2020


This collection of photographs was donated to the NEC Archives in September 2016 by Reisman’s son-in-law, Neil Peter Jampolis after his wife Jane’s death. Jane was Leo Reisman’s daughter.


Access to the Leo Reisman Photograph collection can be arranged by appointment with the NEC Archivist. There are no restrictions pertaining to this collection.


Please contact the NEC Archivist for permissions to publish any material from the collection. Citation should read: NECA 18.25.8. Leo Reisman Photograph Collection

Physical Description

One flat box containing 3 folders; includes mostly 8 x 10 photos.

Scope and Content

This collection consists entirely of photographs which have been organized into three folders by subject.

Container List

Folder 1 – Press photos

Folder 2 -  Reisman and his orchestra

Folder 3 – Theater marquee photos