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 Weather Bureau is warning of an impending storm that will strike the Atlantic Coast from the Delaware Breakwater to Maine. The temperatures will begin to drop overnight. Today saw a high of 54° under cloudy skies with tonight’s low about 45°. The Bureau of Health released it mortality report for January 1916 today. The report showed 2,857 deaths from all causes which is 758 more than last January. The increase is primarily blamed on the epidemic of the grip and pneumonia which is still ongoing.

Rumors are swirling that the Academy of Music has been sold to Mr. Edward Bok (shown below), vice-president of the Curtis Publishing Company. Some reports are that Mr. Bok bought the Academy for himself while others suggest he bought it on behalf of a syndicate. Mr. Bok serves on the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The purpose for buying the building may be to give the Orchestra a permanent home as well as make the Academy the musical center of the city. Reportedly the new owner or owners intend to make improvements and renovations to the interior of the building. It is believed that the purchase was made without any thought of financial gain as no dividend on the stock of the Academy of Music has been paid since 1875. As of today Mr. Bok has denied any such transaction.

Edward Bok

Edward Bok

A new term begins today in the city’s public schools and at least 200,000 students are now attending classes. That number makes this the largest enrollment in Philadelphia history. The number includes 11,000 pupils in 1st grade and 5000 students in the continuation schools set up for working children. And 800 pupils marched into the new South Philadelphia High School for Girls today when it opened its doors at Broad Street and Snyder Avenue. The construction on the building began a year and a half ago and its 3 stories can accommodate 1200 students. This new school will provide the opportunity for girls to continue their education after grammar school in that section of the city.

In national news, President Wilson is traveling throughout Iowa today giving speeches from the back of a train. The President will make stops in Des Moines, Davenport, Iowa City, Grinnell and Newton. The President is campaigning to gain support for his program of national preparedness.  The President said “If war must come it must be a people’s war and if the flag shall be colored with blood, by being so colored, it will be glorified and purified.”


A devastating bombing raid took place last night over England. Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire were bombed by a fleet of German Zeppelins. As of today 54 are known dead with 67 injured. However, officials believe the casualties will rise as the rubble is cleared.