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


The forecast calls for fair skies this morning with increasing cloudiness throughout the day. The high will reach 61° with a low tonight about 30°. Every day at least 100 boys and girls report to a first-floor room at 1522 Cherry Street (shown below). The room is the headquarters of the Bureau of Compulsory Education. It is a dim and poorly ventilated room presided over by Miss Ada Nesper. For 12 years Miss Nesper has examined thousands of children over 14 years old who have come here for permission to work. These are the children of this city who due to poverty find it necessary to leave the schoolhouse and enter the factory. Miss Nesper is pleasant of face and very kind, sympathetic and encouraging to those that come here. She understands their plight as she has heard thousands of stories over her years of experience.

10-25-1915 Kids Getting Work Permits

The compulsory education law requires a child entering the workforce to be able to read and write the English language intelligently and Miss Nesper decides which child can do so. If she deems the child “intelligent” she issues a labor certificate terminating their school career forever. If a child fails he or she must return to the schoolroom for at least 2 more years. Miss Nesper says she is sadden that most of these children abandon their education for the novelty or need to earn a wage not realizing they are leaving behind the happiest days of their lives.

On the sports beat, in American League Soccer Disston Saw Works beat the Hibernians 1 to 0. And the University of Pennsylvania defeated the Philadelphia Cricket Club 3 to 1. In High School soccer West Philadelphia High defeated Haverford Prep 4 to 0. In women’s field hockey Haddonfield played the Germantown Cricket Club to a 4 all tie.  The match between the Lansdowne Country Club and the Merion Cricket Club ladies also tied at 1 all. In Industrial League sports, the E.G. Budd Manufacturing Company announced today that it will add basketball, tennis and track and field teams to its employee athletic roster.


On the western front the French continue their advance against the Germans in the Champagne region north of Mesnil-Les-Hurlus. On the Italian front Austrian aeroplanes bombed Venice last night. Damage was reported throughout the city including the Piazza of St. Mark and the Chiesa degil Scalzi which had its ceiling destroyed. Also on the Italian-Austrian front, Gorizia the key to the Isonzo, has fallen to the Italians. In Servia, Austro-German and Bulgarian armies continue their advance through the country. French troops are now in Servia fighting against the Bulgars. On the eastern front the Germans announced that they have repulsed Russian attacks south of Riga. The Germans also claim they are only 9 miles from the city of Dvinsk on the Duna River and will take it shortly.