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Billy Sunday: Topics in Chronicling America

Billy Sunday began his career as a baseball player before becoming one of America's best known evangelists. This guide provides access to materials related to "Billy Sunday” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"Portrait of Billy Sunday, evangelist, who was a famous baseball player and two of his attitudes in exhorting sinners to be saved." February 12, 1909. The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA), Image 14. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Billy Sunday (1862-1935) 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 in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


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.