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 is a clear, fair sky over the city today but it is cold. The light snow of yesterday still covers the city streets. The high today may reach 25° with the low tonight near 8°.

Philadelphians old and young, rich and poor, in one manner or another paid tribute today to Benjamin Franklin on this 210th anniversary of his birth. Exercises are being held in every school. In many of them speakers from the Poor Richard Club will be giving a presentation reviewing Mr. Franklin’s life and accomplishments. Patriotic and historical societies are also holding events. At 1:00pm the Poor Richard Club placed a wreath on Franklin’s grave at 5th & Arch Streets (shown below). Guests included Governor Brumbaugh, Mayor Smith, Dr. Edgar Smith Provost of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Walton Clark, president of the Franklin Institute among others. Additional ceremonies and banquets will occur tonight at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel and the University of Pennsylvania.

1-17-1916 Wreath Laying At Franklin's Grave

Upwards of 9000 workers, mostly women and girls went on strike this morning in Philadelphia. The strike is organized by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union although not all the workers belong to the union. About 5000 of them packed the 3rd Regiment Armory, Broad & Wharton Streets, to hear speeches and news about the strike. They learned that a board of arbitration had been appointed to deal with the issues. Apparently the leaders of the manufacturers and the union are not on unfriendly terms. Representatives of both believe the strike will end in a few days and the workers will get a fair outcome. The strikers are demanding a 50 hour work week, a limit of no more than 4 hours of night work per week, a minimum wage of $6.00 per week for women and $8.00 per week for men and employer supplied needles, thread, tape and other necessary materials to perform the work.


 The Kingdom of Montenegro has sued for peace. It is the first of the Entente Allied powers to do so. The armies of the Kingdom have been crushed and the nation is overrun by the Austrians. King Nicholas has agreed to unconditional surrender and has ordered his armies to immediately lay down their arms. There is more good news for the Central Powers and their allies. The Turks have captured what amounts to 5 million dollars’ worth of booty from the British evacuation of Gallipoli. The material includes cannons, rifles, ammunition, blankets, food, motorcars and bicycles. Finally, the Germans have captured 400,000 hogs in their conquest of Serbia. The animals will be sent back to Germany to help alleviate the food shortage there.