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


This will be another cloudy day and evening over the city. There is also the possibility of rain later tonight and Thursday. Today’s high will again be in the low 60s with the low near 42°.

Mrs. Catherine McGillin (shown below) has been running McGillin’s Old Ale House, 1312 Drury Street, for 60 years and is well known for keeping a decent, clean saloon with strict rules of decorum. Today she spoke out on the recent court case against the saloon of Jacob Bosch in which a jury awarded $2,500.00 to Mrs. Virginia Alexander. The jury found Mr. Bosch’s bar contributed to the death of Mrs. Alexander’s husband by not refusing to serve him as his wife had requested. “Mother McGillin”, as she is affectionately known, feels the verdict will lead to claims by adventuresses to take advantage of honest saloonkeepers.

1-26-1916 Mother McGillian

Mother McGillian sees no harm in a man having a glass of ale but she will not permit hangers-on and loungers in her establishment. No disorderly conduct is permitted and she herself has led many a young person away from the alcoholic path. She said “I do not want to see men become slaves to liquor”. She asserts that in the 60 years she and her husband have owned their saloon they never sent anyone home drunk and that neither she nor her now deceased husband ever drank alcohol.

In national news, for the first time in history a socialist presided over the House of Representatives today. Representative Meyer London of New York City occupied the Speaker’s chair while the House received a message from the Senate. Speaker Clark had left the chamber and the duty of receiving the message fell to Representative London. His activity consisted of receiving the messenger from the Senate and then announcing the House will resume sitting as a committee of the whole. The House was considering a child labor bill at the time.

On the sports beat, Director of Public Safety William Wilson has ordered Police Superintendent Robinson to investigate the allegations of a “fake” fight between Eddie O’Keefe and Lew Tendler last Monday night at the Olympia A.A., Broad & Bainbridge Streets. More than 4000 people attended the fight and most came away disgusted by the performance. The gate receipts equaled about $2,000.00 which gave each fighter about $390.00. The fight was billed as the bantamweight championship of Philadelphia. But the fighters just danced around the ring for 51/2 rounds barely slapping at each other. The bout was called a draw. Director Wilson said that boxing in this city must be conducted on a clean basis and any fraud will be dealt with pursuant to law.