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. We will also recount the events occurring in the war on that day. So, check back each day for new editions.

To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com


Today’s forecast calls for cloudy skies with probable rain or light snow tonight. The high will reach 37° with a low near 26°.  All Philadelphians send their warmest regards and best wishes to Mr. Thomas Edison, the world’s greatest genius and inventor, on this anniversary of his birth. Mr. Edison is 69 today. Despite his years Mr. Edison was described today as “fresh as a girl and as alert as any man many years his junior”.

Another high school graduation took place this afternoon. The West Philadelphia High School for Boys conferred diplomas on 53 students (shown below) at ceremonies held at the school auditorium.

2-11-1916 West Phila. Boys' High

Also, veterans of the Civil War and of the Spanish-American War will gather tonight at the Adelphia Hotel, 1229 Chestnut Street, for a reception organized by the Old Guard of Philadelphia. Mayor Smith will be the guest of honor but only one speech will be delivered by Captain Frank McFeely, U.S.A. The evening is being held to allow the veterans to meet and talk about old times. And finally tonight the annual ball and concert of the Caledonian Club will bring over 400 Scottish lads and lassies to the new Moose Hall, Broad & Thompson Streets. All the proceeds from the event will be donated to the British Red Cross.

In national news, Lindley Garrison, Secretary of War, has resigned from the cabinet. Mr. Garrison and the President reached an impasse in their disagreements over important foreign policy matters. The disagreements centered on the issue of Philippine independence and the President’s proposals on national preparedness. Particularly, Mr. Garrison disagrees with the President’s reliance on the state militias instead of a national army. Mr. Garrison favors a national volunteer army of 400,000 with 3 year terms of enlistment. On the issue of the Philippines Mr. Garrison supports independence for the islands within the next 4 years. Mr. Garrison intends to return to his home in New Jersey. Henry Breckinridge, Assistant Secretary of War, who supported Mr. Garrison, also resigned today. In political circles Mr. Garrison’s resignation is considered a much more serious blow to the President than the resignation last year of William Jennings Bryan as Secretary of State.

Lindley Garrison

Lindley Garrison


 In southern Galicia, the Austrians are attempting to halt the Russian advance and force the Czar’s forces back across the Dniester River. The fighting is centered near Uscieszko about 35 miles north of Czernowitz, capital of Bukowina. Also in Eastern Europe, reports from Petrograd state that Czar Nicholas has left the city to travel to the front to be with his troops. In the Balkans, the remnants of the Serbian army are still willing to fight. Reportedly there are 85,000 at Corfu, 10,000 at Bizerkz, 5000 at Salonica and 5000 in Albania totaling 105,000 men under arms.