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 – SATURDAY, MAY 12, 1917
It will be a partly sunny day today with moderate winds from the northwest. The high will be 68° and the low about 48°. At noon today Mayor Smith turned the first spade of dirt at the groundbreaking on the Parkway for the planned free public library (shown below). The ceremonies took place at 19th & Vine Streets. Speeches were delivered by the Mayor and Henry Edmunds, president of the board of trustees of the free library. The building will be 340 feet by 216 feet and 100 feet high. The plans call for the housing of 1,500,000 books.
The season’s first case of infantile paralysis has been reported in Lansdowne. The victim is 2 year old Alexander Kerr of 54 Union Avenue. The Bureau of Health was notified by the family doctor and after the diagnosis was confirmed the boy was sent to the Philadelphia Hospital for Contagious Diseases. Last summer the disease killed 299 children and left over 1000 crippled.
Lafayette College of Easton said goodbye to 25 of its students today. The men boarded the Lehigh Valley train “White Special” and left for Fort Niagara for army training. So far 75% of the school’s student body has either enlisted in the military or left to work on area farms.
In sports today more than 100 amateur riflemen will compete at the Philadelphia Electric Gun Club’s tournament at Highland Park this afternoon. Some notable gunners taking part include Charles Albert “Chief” Bender, former pitcher for both the A’s and the Phillies and John Philip Sousa, renowned composer and band leader. In high school baseball Northeast High handed Philadelphia Trades School its first defeat of the season by the score of 5 to 2. Frankford beat Catholic High 5 to 4; South Philadelphia defeated Germantown High 7 to 2 and Penn Charter downed Germantown Academy 8 to 6.
In international news, a grand banquet was held last night in Tokio, Japan celebrating the opening of the new American-Japan Society. Among the guests were the Premier of Japan, Terauchi Masatake and the Foreign Minister, Viscount Motono Ichiro. In their remarks both gentlemen affirmed that America and Japan have now joined hands in a lasting friendship and union in a new era of peace. And in Ottawa today the Canadian government reported that as of last week 89,843 members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force have been killed, wounded or are missing in action.
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