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 there will be cloudy skies over the city with the possibility of rain later in the day. The temperature will be much warmer with the high about 46° with the low near 35°.

Over 5000 people cheered Colonel Roosevelt last night as he spoke at the Metropolitan Opera House. In his speech the former President seemed to imply that his hat would be in the ring for the Republican presidential nomination. However, Mr. Roosevelt’s speech centered on this country’s lack of preparedness in the face of foreign aggression. He forcefully criticized President Wilson’s policies regarding Mexico and the war in Europe without ever mentioning the President by name. He called for an expansion of the Navy and for compulsory military service. He asserted the country must have an army of 250,000. And if a man won’t serve he should not be allowed to vote.

Mr. Roosevelt mocked pacifists, both Democrats and Republicans, as weak and effeminate. And for those concerned with the feelings of other nations he had only contempt saying “A man who loves other nations as much as his own is on an exact moral par with the man who loves other women as much as his wife. The only difference is the latter at least doesn’t pretend to be morally superior.” On the subject of immigration Mr. Roosevelt said we must develop an intense Americanism. If a foreigner comes here and decides he doesn’t like us we should send him back. He said a hyphenated American is incompatible with patriotism. He reminded the audience there was a time when Mr. Lincoln said America could not endure half slave and half free. Now today, he said, we cannot endue half American and half foreign.

In criminal court today, Magistrate Harris ordered that in the future women would be required to appear in his court when their husbands were charged with beating them. The judge said he was tired of women having their husbands arrested and then not appearing in court. The comments came in the case of James Sweeney, 32 years old of 6114 Yocum Street. Sweeney’s wife charged him with beating her but failed to appear at court today. The judge ordered Sweeney held over on bail and told the police to bring Mrs. Sweeney to court on Sunday whether she wanted to press charges or not. The judge said he detested these wife beaters and he would drag the wives to court if necessary to bring the men to justice.

Chief Coroner William Knight (shown below) said today that he believes youths should not be allowed to drive automobiles. The statement came in reaction to 14 fatalities this month alone caused by boys driving motor vehicles. Coroner Knight believes Pennsylvania law should be changed to not allow anyone under 25 years old to procure a driving license.

1-21-1916 Coroner Knight