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 clear, fair skies over the city today but the cold temperatures will remain. Today’s high will perhaps reach 30° with the overnight low near 12°. This evening the West Philadelphia High School for Girls will hold its graduation exercises at the school’s auditorium, 47th & Walnut Streets. Eighty girls in the senior class (shown below) will receive diplomas. Today also marks the 150th anniversary of the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania and with it the beginning of instruction in medicine in this country. The school was founded on this day by Dr. John Morgan. Alumni and faculty will celebrate tonight at a banquet at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel.

West Philadelphia High School for Girls

West Philadelphia High School for Girls

Last night in Atlantic City a terrible fire cost the lives of 7 people. The fire destroyed the Hotel Overbrook, located at Pacific & Mt. Vernon Avenues, between 4:00am and 5:00am. Police and firemen are still going through the ruins searching for survivors. Over 30 guests were staying at the hotel at the time of the fire.

The growth in business prosperity because of the war is now leading to raises for the workingman in some companies. Today William Cramp & Sons Ship and Engine Building Company announced a 10% increase in employee wages. Raises are also planned to take effect at the New York Shipbuilding Company in Camden and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

On the social scene one of the most anticipated events of the season occurs tonight at Horticultural Hall. The Midwinter Ball will be given under the auspices of Mr. Lynford Biddle, Mr. William Lyman Biddle, Mr. and Mrs. Gouverneur Cadwalader, Mr. and Mrs. T. DeWitt Cuyler, Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Drexel Paul, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Van Rensselaer and many prominent others. A number of dinners will be given prior to the ball throughout the city and at the lovelier hotels in center city.

On the sports beat, in college basketball tonight Penn meets Dartmouth and must win to continue in the championship race. Presently Penn and Yale are tied for 1st place in the intercollegiate league. In boxing last night at the Broadway A.C., Mickey Gallagher won the title of Smoky Hollow by beating Darby Casper in a 6 round brawl. The bragging rights of the 17th Ward will have to wait awhile longer because the fight between George Evans and K.O. Farrell at the Douglas A.C. last night was declared a draw. Tonight at the Quaker City A.A., 26th & Dauphin, 5 fights are scheduled with the wind-up featuring Fred Kelly of Rising Sun against Joe Heffernan of West Philadelphia. Admission is .25¢.