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, DECEMBER 17, 1917
The temperature will be a bit warmer during the afternoon today with the high reaching 31°. A light dusting of snow is expected perhaps leaving about a ½ inch. The cold will return overnight with the low near 19°.
The continuing shortage of coal is reaching a crisis level. It has become so acute that a number of businesses are now being forced to close. This is particularly serious because some of those businesses are involved in war production. Today the 4,000 employees of Henry Disston & Sons, in Tacony, which manufactures saws, axes and knives for the army, are idle as are the employees of the Electric Storage Battery Company. It is estimated that only a weeks’ supply of coal is available in the city.
Mothers with infants have found some relief by going to the Babies Hospital, 608 Addison Street, where coal can be obtained by the bucket at less than cost. Notwithstanding the cold temperatures, the line of waiting women outside the Hospital is a block long. Governor Brumbaugh intends to go to Washington, D.C. and personally appeal to National Coal Administrator Harry Garfield, to speed up coal delivery to Philadelphia.
In Federal court on Friday witnesses testified in the hearing of Joseph Stilson, the Lithuanian newspaperman charged with violating the Espionage Act and conspiring to stop men from joining the army. Stilson is secretary of the Federation of Lithuanian Socialists of America and writes for the Philadelphia Lithuanian language newspaper Kova. He is charged with writing articles damaging to the United States and prohibited by the Act. The government charges the seditious material was sent to different parts of Pennsylvania which have large Lithuanian populations. Stilson was held over for trial on $10,000.00 bail. His co-defendant Joseph Sukys was also held over on $5,000.00 bail.
On the Alpine front, Italian troops drove the Austrians back and have established a strong position in the Colcaprile area which is just outside of Assisi. The Italians have also captured enemy positions in the Piave delta region. On the eastern front, a four week truce begins today between Russia and Germany. The truce covers all the area from the Baltic to the Black Sea. However, a report has been received that Bolshevik regiments at Odessa have been defeated in fighting with units of the Ukrainian army.
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