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


The high today reached 78° at 2:00pm under clear and fair skies. The Philadelphia Weather Bureau declared it the warmest October 21st on record. The second warmest October 21st was in 1884 when the temperature reached 77°. Tonight’s low will be about 63°.

The men of South Philadelphia are being forced to make a choice, shave at home or grow a beard. This is because the barbers of Local No. 745, who are predominately employed in the downtown shops, have gone on strike. Over two score shops were closed today due to the strike. The complaints of the union barbers are numerous and include having to work from 8:00am till 9 or 10:00pm, being forced to eat lunch and dinner while they work and low wages. At union headquarters, 505 Reed Street, organizer Leon Worthall said he expects 400 barbers to take part in the strike.

In national news, the great John L. Sullivan (shown below), former heavyweight boxing champion, walked into Tom Donnelly’s jewelry store in Chicago and placed $5,300.00 on the counter. The money was to redeem a belt. A championship belt encrusted with 350 cut diamonds and 14 pounds of gold decoration given to him by admiring friends in 1887. Sullivan had pawned the belt 23 years ago for money to buy alcohol and it has passed and been sold from bar to bar till it ended up at Mr. Donnelly’s store. John L., now 57 years old, says he has finally kicked the booze and this was the last of the debts he had contracted because of the hold “John Barleycorn” had on him. Now the old champion has his belt back and he promises to never again let it go.

John L. Sullivan 1

On the southern border early this morning over 100 Mexicans dressed in the uniform of Carranza’s army attacked the town of Ojo de Agua, Texas which is 60 miles north of Brownsville killing 3 American soldiers and wounding 6 others. The Americans were with a squad of 15 stationed at the village. When reinforcements arrived the Mexicans fled. Five Mexicans were also killed in the fighting.


On the western front, the Germans are conducting a terrific offensive to break through the French lines east of Rheims. A huge bombardment was followed by German infantry charges which were repulsed by the French. The Germans attacked over a 5 mile front but suffered enormous losses as they were met by machine gun and rifle fire. In the Balkans the Bulgarians are making great gains in their invasion of Servia. Today they reached the main road connecting Kajecar and Knjazevac which runs north and south along the Bulgarian-Servian border. Meanwhile the Teuton army is now just 20 miles from Nish in southern Servia.