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


There will be overcast skies today with the possibility of snow and sleet late this afternoon and tonight. The high will be around 47° with the low near 27°.

Almost 2000 policemen who purchased homes in respectable sections of this city during the Blankenburg administration have been ordered to move back to their former neighborhoods and resume their political servitude to the ward bosses. Yesterday ward leaders throughout the city declared the time of the “policemen’s utopia” was over. Bluejackets will be required to go back to their old wards and do the organizations work. Those who fail to do so will lose their jobs. Former Mayor Blankenburgh and his Director of Public Safety, George Porter, decreed that policemen could live anywhere they wished and did not need the permission of ward leaders to move. This allowed many policemen to move their families out of the slums and freed them from the political slavery of the machine and the beck and call of the politicians. Supposedly that policy has now been rescinded by the new administration.

Catholic organizations of this city have pressed a complaint against the performance of the play “Marie-Odile” currently at the Adelphi Theatre. The play is set in a convent during the Franco-Prussian war. The Catholic societies assert that the play is immoral and casts slurs upon Catholic nuns. They want the play banned as it has been in Boston. Director of Public Safety Wilson will attend the play tonight to ascertain its contents and report to the Mayor.

In national news, yesterday the vice president of Packard Motor Car, Alva MacAuley, released a letter announcing that company’s new policy of “Americans first”. The policy gives preferences in employment to native-born and naturalized citizens. Mr. MacAuley explained that the war in Europe has exposed one of America’s greatest weaknesses, that of the hyphenated citizen.  He said there were many ways to bring Americans together with a common set of goals and ideals. However to do that the foreign born must throw off their allegiances to the countries of their birth. One way to encourage the immigrant to adopt American values was to offer incentives in the workplace. Therefore Packard will henceforth only give promotions to positions of importance to native-born or naturalized citizens or to those immigrants who have applied for American citizenship. However, employees of foreign birth who retain their foreign citizenship will not be discriminated against in their present position but they will not be promoted to positions of responsibility and trust.

In this city today J. Howell Cummings (shown below), president of John B. Stetson Company, the largest hat manufacturer in the world and William Disston, vice president of Henry Disston & Sons, the largest saw manufacturing company in the world both heartily endorsed the Packard plan. Mr. Disston stated his company will look into establishing similar policies. Disston and Stetson together employ over 8000 workers.

J. Howell Cummings

J. Howell Cummings