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’s forecast calls for bouts of heavy snow, rain and hail with strong winds from the west. The sky became so dark around 10:00am that lights had to be turned on in center city office buildings. The semi-night lasted for almost ½ an hour. Today’s high temperature will be around 35° with the low tonight about 29°. The penitential season of Lent begins today. Catholics commemorate the day as Ash Wednesday, with priests marking the foreheads of communicants with ashes in the sign of the cross. Protestant churches also held services, most beginning at Noon. Most all denominations prayed for the people of Europe.

Miss Catherine Cooper Cassard (shown below), 336 Pelham Road in Germantown, was badly burned last evening at a dinner she was attending. Today she is reported to be in very serious condition at University Hospital. The accident occurred at the home of Edwin Sparks, 127 South 23rd Street during a dinner given prior to the Bal Masque. The Masque is held at Horticultural Hall and is the society set’s last event prior to Lent. Miss Cassard’s face, shoulders, arms and body were burned when the delicate gown she was wearing was set alight by a match. The matchhead, struck to light a cigarette, broke off and fell into Miss Cassard’s lap setting her dress ablaze immediately. The young woman’s beautiful brunette hair was virtually all burned away. Miss Cassard is well liked in society circles and admired for her beauty, excellent dancing and tennis playing.

Catherine Cassard

Catherine Cassard

The Exhibit on Feeble-Mindedness closes tonight at the Widener Building, Chestnut & Juniper Streets. The exhibit’s organizer, the Public Charities Association, believes 100,000 people have attended the two week-long event. The closing festivities include a band concert by 28 young people who are inmates of the Pennsylvania Training School for the Feeble-Minded at Elwyn. It is the first time the band has appeared in this city.

In national news, President Wilson has nominated Newton D. Baker, the former Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio to be Secretary of War. It is thought Mr. Baker will be swiftly confirmed as Progressive Republicans and Democrats appear to approve his selection.

On the sports scene, with news that now all the major league baseball clubs have taken up residence in their spring training locations we can finally say the 1916 season is beginning. The Phillies are in St. Petersburg, Florida while the Athletics have raised the White Elephant banner in Jacksonville.  In Eastern League Basketball tonight, league leading Greystock visits Reading for a double-header and DeNeri is at Camden.