History Book

NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD Radio History Book. Today, the opening of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, plus the 40th anniversary of the Camp David Accords.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: But first, Paul Butler introduces us to the woman behind a well-known evangelist of the early 20th century.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: We begin today with September 5th, 1888. Chicago White Stockings center- fielder Billy Sunday marries Helen Thompson in a quiet ceremony at the bride’s home. Helen, or “Nell,” met Billy Sunday at Jefferson Park Presbyterian Church, shortly after his conversion: A scene reenacted here in a 1950 Unshackled radio program:

UNSHACKLED: Ms. Thompson…um…I was wondering if I might escort you home tonight?

Sunday was shy and inexperienced with money. Thompson on the other hand attended business college and had a head for numbers and organization. Sunday left baseball in 18-1 to preach with the YMCA. A few years later, he and Nell went out on their own. While he preached, she managed all the publicity and organizational details of the evangelistic campaigns and she’s credited for the rise of Sunday’s popularity.

After Billy’s death in 1935, Nell began her own speaking ministry. She also helped young evangelists getting started, and raised money for many Christian organizations, including the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, where Billy Sunday came to faith.  

In 1950, Nell spoke of Billy Sunday’s legacy for the mission’s weekly radio program:

SUNDAY: He lived to carry out 2 Timothy 2:15, study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Nell Sunday died of cancer in 1957 at 88 years old.

Next, September 7th, 1963,


…the grand opening of the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

FILM CLIP: …you’ll see the great players and teams that have made Professional Football America’s most exciting sport…

The NFL began in Canton, Ohio, in 1920—making it a natural home for the $1 million shrine to football history and early legends:

FILM CLIP: A dramatic part of this entrance on the rotunda level is this 52 foot dome, stylized architecture, which of course suggests a football reaching to the sky. It’s punctuated by beautiful stained glass…

The first class of 17 inductees included George Halas, “Curly” Lambeau, and Jim Thorpe. Today, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is more than 5-times its original size and hosts more than 200,000 visitors a year.


And finally, September 5th, 1978, 40 years ago this week. President Jimmy Carter addresses the press before heading to U.S. sponsored peace talks between Israel and Egypt.  

CARTER: Flexibility will be the essence of our hopes…and searching for exchanges for compromise…

The closed-door negotiations between the three countries last for 13 days before they announce the Camp David Accords—a framework for peace in the Middle East.

Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin:

BEGIN: Peace now celebrates a great victory for the nations of Egypt, and Israel, and all mankind.

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat:

SADAT: We are looking forward to the days ahead with an added determination to pursue the noble goal of peace…

Both leaders shared the Nobel Peace prize in 1978, even as the UN, Palestinians, and many Arab states rejected the plan. The Camp David Accords led to the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in 1979. But Sadat’s willingness to negotiate with Israel cost him his life—he was assassinated in 1981 by members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

Every U.S. president since Jimmy Carter has attempted similar negotiations, with varying degrees of success: But long-lasting peace across the region remains elusive.

That’s this week’s WORLD Radio History Book, I’m Paul Butler.

(Photo/Getty Images)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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