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 broke the record for the warmest January 27th in Philadelphia history. By 2:00pm the temperature had reached 69°. The skies remain overcast, cloudy and grey. The low tonight will only drop to about 53°.

Also, today was proclaimed by President Wilson as Donation Day for Jews in America. Mayor Smith and Governor Brumbaugh have enthusiastically endorsed the effort. In Philadelphia thousands of Jewish men, women and even high school girls took to the streets to collect funds for the relief of the 9 million Jews suffering in the war torn areas of Europe. Some of the young ladies, only the single ones of course, even sold kisses for a generous donation.

The local German community will celebrate Kaiser William’s 57th birthday today at the Philadelphia Turngemeinde Hall, Broad & Columbia Avenue. The gala is being organized and hosted by the officers of 2 interned German warships here, the Prinz Oskar and the Rhaetia. A concert will start the festivities this afternoon with a dinner and dance this evening. Also on the schedule is a 3 act play to be performed by the officers of the interned ships entitled “The Iron Cross”.

Emma Goldman (shown below), anarchist, author and lecturer spoke Tuesday night to an audience of more than 300 men and women at the North Broad Street Drawing Rooms, 715 North Broad. The theme of her address was “The Misconceptions of Free Love”. In her address Miss Goldman denounced marriage pointing out that the institution has nothing to do with love. As proof she noted the increasing number of divorces, desertions and separations. She feels the country is gradually coming to see that marriage is undesirable. Marriage, she said is basically a business arrangement from the time of women’s subjugation as a domestic animal. Now women are throwing off the chains of chattel slavery and realizing they do not need a husband. With Free Love, she explained, both men and women continue to attract and please each other without the constraints of marriage. She concluded by asking “Why is it said marriage comes from Heaven? Why blame God for such a curse? Marriage surely was made in Hell.”

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman

In sports news, in response to the criticism leveled against them and the assertion that their fight was faked, Eddie O’Keefe and Lew Tendler have agreed to fight again on January 31st. The fight will take place at the Olympia A.C., Broad & Bainbridge Streets and the men have agreed to fight for free. Both fighters realized that the exhibition last Monday night was a disgrace and that they have fallen in the estimation of boxing fans. Both men also say no faking was involved in the fight. So, this match will be their attempt to make amends to Philadelphia boxing fans.