On this page we will look back at life in the city during the war years. Here we will provide the visitor with the stories making the news, what was happening in sports and entertainment, city politics, the social scene and the prominent people at the time. So, check back often for new editions. To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com
TODAY IN PHILADELPHIA – MONDAY, AUGUST 20, 1917
The city will have partly sunny skies today with increasing cloudiness as the evening progresses. Overnight there is the possibility of showers. Today’s high will reach 88° with the low tonight near 66°. The Belgium War Mission to the United States arrived in Philadelphia this afternoon to welcoming crowds at Broad Street Station at 1:00pm. The Mission was greeted by Mayor Smith, representatives of city councils, business leaders and thousands of Philadelphians showing their support.
The group then proceeded to the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel for a luncheon escorted by the mounted police and the police band. The Belgians are led by Baron Ludovic Alfred Joseph Ghislain Moncheur, former Ambassador to the United States and now Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary. The luncheon was attended by the Mayor and his cabinet, Rear Admiral Benjamin Tappen, Commandant of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Mr. John Wanamaker and other prominent citizens. After lunch the Mission visited Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House, Christ Church, Benjamin Franklin’s grave and Mr. Wanamaker’s store.
One of the leaders of this city’s Italian colony, Charles Carmine Antonio Baldi (shown below), proudly announced today that his three sons are now serving under the Stars and Stripes. Mr. Baldi was born in Italy at Castelnuovo Cilento, Salerno in the Campania region in 1862. He immigrated to this country when he was 14 years old. Since arriving Mr. Baldi has become a very successful businessman with interests in banking, coal, and real estate. He was instrumental is facilitating the visit to this city of the Italian War Mission on June 20. Mr. Baldi is also a strong proponent of the Americanization of the immigrant community.
Serving America are Mr. Baldi’s son Frederick, 31 years old, who is a surgeon in the navy; Joseph, 23 years old, a first lieutenant in the infantry; and Virgil, 19 years old, who is now a yeoman 2nd class in the naval coast defense reserves. [Editor’s Note: Philadelphians of Italian descent will be familiar with the Baldi name and family. However, most Americans will be more familiar with Mr. Baldi’s great-great granddaughter, singer Taylor Swift. Ms. Swift is the great-granddaughter of Mr. Baldi’s daughter, Louise, who was 21 years old at this time.]
In baseball today, Connie Mack’s Athletics are in Cleveland for a 3 game series. The Mackmen made a fine effort against the 3rd place Indians but it wasn’t enough. Cleveland had the lead going into the 9th when the A’s scored 3 to tie the game at 4. But in the bottom of the inning the Indians loaded the bases and scored the winning run on an infield hit to shortstop Whitey Witt. Here at National League Park the 2nd place Phillies are hosting Chicago. Although the Phillies outhit the Cubs 9 to 8, they couldn’t get the runners across the plate and lost, 4 to 2.
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