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. So, check back often for new editions. To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com


The weather bureau is predicting overcast skies for today with periods of rain and thunderstorms tonight. The high will be near 81° with the low about 62°. One thousand members of the Union League have committed to each subscribe to a $1000.00 Liberty Bond adding one million dollars to Philadelphia’s Liberty Loan fund.  As of today Philadelphia has raised a total of $104,000,000.00. In other local news, the Mayor has ordered Philadelphia’s police to break up any gathering where anti-conscription or anti-registration talk is heard. The police are then to report those involved to federal authorities.

In business news, Harry Hand, president of William Cramp & Sons Ship Building, announced that the Navy has contracted with the company for the building of 10 warships. Cramps will build 8 torpedoboat destroyers and 2 scout cruisers. Two of the destroyers are already under construction and will be launched within 3 months. The company also intends to expand its capabilities by constructing new facilities on Petty’s Island.

Mr. Samuel Beecher Hart, a Negro veteran of the Spanish-American War, is doing his part for the war effort. Mr. Hart is not only raising a regiment of Negro troops in this city but is also sponsoring a Negro Red Cross unit. Workrooms for the Red Cross unit have already been established at 1808 Catharine Street and at Berean College on College Avenue. [EDITORS NOTE: Samuel Beecher Hart was also a captain of the Grey Invincibles, the last “colored” unit of the Pennsylvania Militia and would later serve 5 terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as a Republican from the 6th district of Philadelphia. He was instrumental in the creation of the All Wars Memorial to Colored Soldiers and Sailors now located at 20th street on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway].

Samuel Beecher Hart

On the entertainment scene this weekend there are a number of interesting photoplays around the city including Miss Jackie of the Navy at the Cedar, 60th & Cedar Avenue, staring Margaretta Fisher. In this amusing comedy Miss Fisher impersonate a male sailor to win a Naval captain’s heart. At the Overbrook, 63rd & Haverford, Olga Petrova stars in Waiting Souls the tragic story of a woman left by the man she loves who must turn to working in a “sporting house” to survive. And at the Palace, 1214 Market Streets, Douglas Fairbanks stars in the rousing comedy Manhattan Madness about a man who returns home to New York after living in the Wild West and his old friends try to show him a good time in the big city.