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’s forecast calls for mostly clear and fair skies over the city with continued cold temperatures. The high will reach 32° with the low tonight near 25°.

Mayor Smith today announced that a tax increase may be necessary in order to proceed with certain city improvements. The Mayor said that plans for a new convention hall, an art museum, a new free library and completion of the Parkway will cost more than the city presently has available. The Mayor stated that the people of the city have asked for these improvements for years but they cannot be made without the people’s financial support. Therefore a loan bill will need to be passed by city councils and most probably also a tax increase.

Walter Clark, president of the Franklin Institute, said today that he heartily sympathized with calls to enlarge the army and navy.  However, Mr. Clark said the proposals he has heard do not go far enough. He does not believe that a volunteer system will be enough to meet the threats facing America. He feels that universal military service must be imposed on every able bodied American man. This would include military training in all public and private schools. And some of that training should take place during summer vacation. Mr. Clark suggested that during the long summers off the boys could learn field drill, camping and marksmanship.

Four hundred members of the bench and bar of Philadelphia will hear an address this evening from former President William Howard Taft. The event is presented under the auspices of the Law Academy of Philadelphia. Mr. Taft will address the lawyers in the Rose Room of the Bellevue-Stratford.

From up in Massachusetts comes news that the ladies of Wellesley College are very near physical perfection and even rival the Venus de Milo. A picture of this year’s senior class is below. Measurements of 1,500 Wellesley girls were recently taken and the average was compared with the famous statue. Venus’ measurements are chest 34.2”, waist 25.9”, ankle 8.2”, arm 9.8”, height 5’4” and weight 132.2 lbs. The Wellesley girls in comparison are chest 28.8”, ankle 8.1”, arm 10.6”, height 5’3” and weight 119.4 lbs. The Wellesley gymnastic authorities are pleased with the results, asserting that the girls’ fine physical condition is attributable to regular gymnastics and sports.

Wellesley Senior Class 1916

Wellesley Senior Class 1916


In the Middle East, French aeroplanes attacked the Turkish military base at Smyrna on the Aegean coast of Anatolia and inflicted immense damage. Reportedly 200 Turkish soldiers were killed, 3 warehouses holding military equipment burned and 2 ships in the harbor sunk. The French squadron was composed of 7 aeroplanes. Also, there are reports from Geneva, Switzerland that the Turks have resumed their massacres of Armenians. Supposedly thousands of Armenian men and boys have been executed while Armenian girls are being sold into Turkish harems.