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 IN PHILADELPHIA – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 1917
There will be the occasional snow flurry today and tonight but little accumulation is expected. The temperatures will be a bit warmer with the high near 37° and the low about 25°. The Boy Scouts of America here in Philadelphia and across the country will today celebrate the 7th anniversary of the organizations founding. At 8:15pm tonight every member, no matter where, will stop and recite their oath of duty to God and country.
Germany’s flouting of the norms of international law and civilized nations continues. Today it was learned that Germany has placed under detention American Ambassador Gerard and all his staff. Also Germany is prohibiting all other Americans from leaving the confines of the Empire. According to the Germans this action was taken to assure the safe return of German Ambassador von Bernstorff. Germany states it will allow the Americans to leave once it is assured its Ambassador has been provided safe conduct home.
In other international news, the U.S. Secret Service is closely following the activities of German agents in Mexico. Certain Germans in Juarez, Chihuahua City and other locations are attempting to foment and finance raids into American territory by bandits and former soldiers.
Locally at a meeting last night at the German Society of Pennsylvania, 6th & Spring Garden Streets, the National German American Alliance pledged its unwavering loyalty and financial resources to the United States in the event of war. The organization claims to represent the majority of the 3,000,000 German-Americans in this country. Dr. Charles Hexamer, President of the organization, stated that in the event of war the ranks of the American military will be filled with German-Americans willing to lay down their lives for their country. Also yesterday the United States Coast Guard dismissed all German enlisted men who are not naturalized citizens from its service.
On the sports beat, an era has ended in baseball. Napoleon “Nap” Lajoie has retired from the game after 21 years. Lajoie started his career here with the Phillies in 1896. He switched to the A’s in 1901 and then went on to serve as player/manager for Cleveland from 1902 till 1914. For a time the Cleveland team was nicknamed the “Naps” in his honor. He returned to the A’s in 1914 were he now finishes his run. His records are numerous including being 5 time AL batting champion and 3 time RBI leader. His best season at the plate was 1901 where he hit .426, had 14 home runs and knocked in 125 RBIs. [EDITOR’S NOTE: In 1937 Lajoie was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame].
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