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


There will be cloudy skies over the city today with the probability of light rain. Today’s high will reach 51° with a low of 34°.  Last night at a concert given in Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia Orchestra was prohibited from performing music from “Tristan and Isolde” because it was written by Richard Wagner, a German. Upon arriving at the concert hall, Mr. Stokowski was told by police that even though the music had been scheduled on the program it must not be played.

There will be no smoking by employees of Hog Island while they are at work. That order was issued today by Admiral Bowles for the sake of efficiency. The striking of a match and lighting cigarettes, cigars or pipes wastes time. The Admiral explained the lighting of a cigarette takes about 5 seconds. If every one of the 20,000 employees smoked just one a day that equals 27 hours, 46 minutes and 40 seconds lost work time. But on average men smoke about 10 cigarettes per day therefore the wasted time equals 11 days, 13 hours, 46 minutes and 40 seconds. That, the Admiral says, is unacceptable.

In sports, at the annual indoor track meet known as the “Quads” Central High is leading with 28 ½ points followed by West Philadelphia, Northeast, South Philadelphia and Frankford. The event is being held before a capacity crowd at the Second Regiment Armory, Broad & Susquehanna Avenue. And in basketball, West Philadelphia High School’s victory over Germantown High yesterday has been forfeited. Scholastic League officials learned that two boys who played in the game were ineligible. The rules require that all players attend class the morning of the game. The two boys in question failed to do so. Therefore West Philadelphia’s 19 to 14 victory is awarded to Germantown.


On the national scene, a second draft is being prepared that will call 800,000 men to the colors. The quota for each state has not yet been set. On the western front, last night Australian troops (called ANZACs) raided German positions northeast of Messines inflicting heavy causalities on the enemy. In the air war, a fleet of sixty German airplanes attacked Paris last night. Some were driven off by French airplanes or artillery fire but many got through. Numerous buildings were hit and set afire. As of this morning the number of victims is unknown. The bombing was witnessed by Secretary of War Newton Baker, General Pershing and General Tasker Bliss who were meeting in the city at the time. Shown below is a photograph taken when Secretary Baker arrived in Paris yesterday. General Bliss is on Mr. Baker’s left while General Pershing is on his right.

Secretary of War Baker with Generals Pershing and Bliss