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Pro Football Hall of Fame Gets Early NFL Material

A valuable and historic collection of paper items from the earliest days of the National Football League has been donated to The Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Vintage programs, tickets, hand-written notes, play-by-play charts, coaching diagrams and financial records from the career of Edward “Dutch Sternaman, a former player, coach and co-owner of the Chicago Bears were turned over to the Canton, Ohio shrine recently.

The Sternaman collection is a chronicle of the first decade of the NFL and the Bears, who were both born in 1920.  Sternaman and George Halas helped launch the Decatur Staleys, which became the Bears a year later.

“This is without a doubt one of the most significant collections of documents that has ever been donated to the Hall of Fame,” said Steve Perry, the Hall’s president/executive director. “These rare documents are an incredible treasure and will be properly preserved by the Hall of Fame for the benefit of future generations of football scholars and fans.”

The signing of Red Grange in 1925 is reflected in tickets and programs from a barnstorming tour that helped spread the gospel of the pro game coast to coast.  Sternaman played for the Bears through 1930, helped coach the team with Halas through 1929 and sold his share of the franchise in 1932.

The  collection will be housed in the Hall of Fame’s Archives and Information Center through next spring.  Eventually, it will move to the Ralph Wilson Jr. Pro Football Research & Preservation Center, scheduled to open next summer as part of the Hall’s renovation and expansion project.

Click  here to learn more about the collection and see some of the items.

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for more than 30 years and a collector for even longer than that, he's usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected].