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


Philadelphians will see partly cloudy skies today with the possibility of rain or even snow overnight and into tomorrow morning. The high will reach about 35° with the low tonight near 24°. Director of Public Safety William Wilson has ordered that policemen be prohibited from watching “movies” in uniform. Director Wilson said he has received numerous complaints from the public about patrolmen attending motion picture showings. Director Wilson said policemen in uniform at these theatres, even when off duty, gives the wrong impression to the public.

On the social scene last night Mr. Edward Bok, editor of the Ladies Home Journal and founder and president of the Merion Civic Association, was given a testimonial dinner at the Art Club. The dinner was organized by members of the Association in appreciation of his work in the improvement of that Main Line suburb. Mr. Bok was presented with a silver loving cup by the group. And tonight, Philadelphia’s Welshmen including the Arch Druid of the United States of the Order of Druids will gather for the 118th anniversary banquet of the Welsh Society of Philadelphia. The banquet will be held in the Clover Room of the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. The festivities will include Welsh folk songs being sung under a large blue banner with the Welsh dragon emblazoned upon it.

On the sports beat, Manager Pat Moran of the Phillies has made it clear that pitcher Eppa Rixey (shown below) must sign a contract for the 1916 season before he will be permitted to come to camp. Moran said he will unconditionally release, suspend or even sell Rixey if he remains unsigned. Moran believes Rixey could develop into a valuable hurler but he must learn to not put other interests ahead of baseball.

Eppa Rixey

Eppa Rixey


[EDITOR’S NOTE: Eppa Rixey was considered an intellectual and graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in chemistry. Due to his family’s financial troubles he signed a contract with the Phillies in 1912. Perhaps one of the “other intrests” Manager Moran was alluding to was Rixey’s teaching Latin to high school students during the off season. Eppa Rixey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1963.]


On the western front, there is now a lull in fighting around Verdun. The French have sent enormous numbers of reinforcements to check the German assault there but have still lost important defensive positions including Fort Douaumont, which was considered impregnable.

As part of their strategy to hinder war supplies and munitions reaching Great Britain, Germany and Austria have declared that they will sink “armed” merchant ships. Germany’s Ambassador to the United States, Johann von Bernstorff, stated that Germany does not believe there is any such thing as a “merchant vessel armed for defense”. The Ambassador realizes that this could imperial Americans traveling on those vessels but stated that unfortunately that could not be helped. However, he also asserted that passenger liners would not be fired upon without warning.