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Topics in Chronicling America - Billy Sunday: Athlete and Evangelist

November 19, 1862, Billy Sunday is born in Ames, Iowa. Sunday began his career as a baseball player for the Chicago White Stockings, but later became one of the country's best known evangelists. Between 1896 and 1935 he gave an estimated 20,000 sermons.. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.

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Important Dates:

  • November 19, 1862: William Ashley Sunday born in Ames, Iowa.
  • 1872-1876: Sunday, as a youth, resides in Soldiers' Orphans Homes in Glenwood and Davenport, Iowa.
  • 1880: Sunday moves to Marshalltown, Iowa and plays on fire brigade and town baseball teams while working odd jobs.
  • 1883: Sunday is signed to play for the Chicago White Stockings.
  • 1886-1887: Sunday experiences a conversion to Christianity.
  • 1891: Sunday turns down a $3,000 baseball contract to work at the Chicago YMCA for $80 a week.
  • 1893: Sunday becomes full time assistant to J. Wilbur Chapman, a well known evangelist.
  • 1896-1935: Billy Sunday preaches an estimated 20,000 sermons to audiences at revival meetings held throughout the US.

Suggested Search Terms:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Billy Sunday.
  • Use Billy Sunday in Exact Phrase box.
  • Use Ma Sunday in Exact Phrase box to find material related to Sunday’s wife.
  • Add names of locations to find information on revival meetings which took place in a specific location.
  • Use Ma Sundays Intimate Talks in Exact Phrase box to retrieve advice columns written by Billy Sunday’s wife, “Ma” Sunday.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  January 22, 2013
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