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 – WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 1917
There will be clear and fair skies over the city today. The high will reach 71° with the low near 51°. One of the most enjoyable social events of the season opened today at the Wynnewood home of Mr. and Mrs. William J. Clothier. The 5th annual pony show has become quite the event and now includes a variety of activities including a children’s prettiest doll competition, a baby show and a dog show. The winners are chosen according to the amount of money pledged toward each entry. The funds, of course, are donated to the Red Cross and other charities.
J. Armstrong Drexel, son of Colonel Anthony J. Drexel, has joined the American aviators division fighting with the French called the “Lafayette Escadrille”. Mr. Drexel previously served in France in the French infantry and was the first American to serve under General Joffre. He also acted as a chauffeur for British General Sir John French. After contracting pneumonia in December 1914 he returned home to recuperate. Mr. Drexel was born in this city in 1891. He is an avid flyer and in 1910 set the world altitude record in a monoplane at Point Breeze Park. He is the grandson of Anthony Drexel founder of the banking house of Drexel & Company and the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry.
In national news, five members of President Wilson’s cabinet will be sending sons to serve in the armed forces. Secretary of Labor William Wilson’s two sons will be going to the Army, while Secretary of the Interior Lane’s son will join as an Army aviator. Secretary of the Navy Daniels, Secretary of Agriculture Houston and Secretary of Commerce Redfield will each give one son to the Navy. Also, August P. Gardner, congressman from Massachusetts has become the first member of Congress to resign from office to join the Army. Mr. Gardner joined the reserve and will be report for active duty later this month.
On the western front, the German counter attack appears to have been halted for now. There is however, severe fighting around Bullecourt. The British there have regained most of the ground they lost yesterday. In the south, the Italian army has begun its spring offensive against the Austrians in the Julian Alps. Presently the Italians are moving on Mt. Kuk and Vodice and they have reached the slopes of Mt. Santo near Gorizia.
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