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 – FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21, 1917
There will be fair, clear skies over the city today. The high will reach 47° with the low tonight near 29°. The 40th annual Christmas party and distribution of the W. Atlee Burpee Company took place today at 5th & Buttonwood Streets. The distribution was conducted by W. Atlee Burpee Jr., the son of the founder who passed away two years ago. Each employee of the company received a thrift book while each of the 1300 children invited to the event received a shiny new quarter or a box of candy. And at the Moore Street Mission House, 111 Moore Street, the nurses of the Department of Public Health gave a Christmas party for 100 poor children and their mothers. Every child received a toy, a box of candy and some fruit. The mothers also received a gift box. Santa was played by Miss Hedwig Voecks, one of the nurses.
The publication of a magazine called “War” by students of the University of Pennsylvania has been barred by the school’s provost, Edgar Smith. Mr. Smith believes the magazine is seditious in character and intended to foment disloyalty among the student body. The magazine is sponsored by the College Anti-Militarism League. The students responsible for the publication say they are against all war and also universal military training especially on a college campus.
Secretary of the Navy Daniels announced today that the naval aircraft factory at the Philadelphia Navy Yard is now completed. The factory cost 1 million dollars to build. Now 2000 skilled workers are needed to begin assembling America’s air fleet. The Navy needs machinists, skilled wood workers, sheet metal workers, welders, bicycle tube workers, coppersmiths and wireworkers.
In Sports, tonight at Weightman Hall on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania two service teams will clash for charity. Penn’s own ambulance corps of Base Hospital Unit No. 20 will meet the Naval Reserves from Pier 19. Famed sculler Jack Kelly will lead the ambulance team. Kelly is also known as a fine basketball player. The jackies will be led by “Yankee” Schwartz of West Philadelphia High and Lafayette College fame. There is no admission charge for the game but a collection will be taken at the half. The money raised will go to buy athletic equipment for the two military units.
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