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 partly cloudy skies over the area today with a few periods of light rain. Temperatures will be cooler causing some frost in outlying areas overnight. Today’s high will be 64° with the low tonight near 47°. It is estimated today that over 175,000 residents of this city are stricken with the Influenza. During the last 48 hours 5,561 new cases were reported. In the last 24 hours 289 deaths have been reported. Reports are now being received of entire families being wiped out by the disease.

Several hundred senior medical students have responded to the call for volunteers and have been sent to hospitals to assist where they can. Some are going door to door in the neighborhoods most heavily affected. To date Philadelphia has contributed 713 of its physicians and surgeons to the military leading to the shortage here. All the city’s armories are now being used as emergency hospitals as is the former Medico-Chirurgical Hospital at 18th & Cherry Streets. Private properties have also been offered for use as hospitals and many are being converted. Even private homes have been turned over. Mrs. E.T. Stotesbury has given the house she owns at 205 South 22nd Street to the Navy for sick sailors.

Today Director Wilmer Krusen of the Department of Health suggested certain measures that could be taken to prevent infection. He advised that people should avoid crowds. Also, he suggested the purchase of a nasal atomizer and an ounce or two of tincture of iodine. Then mix two teaspoonful’s of the iodine with a quart of salt water and spray this mixture into the nose and throat each morning. Additionally, Doctor Krusen said people should eat well, get plenty of fresh air, keep warm and keep their bowels open.

The Fourth Liberty Loan Committee has disclosed that Philadelphia is lagging behind in its subscriptions. The quota for this city was set at $259,198,000.00. At this time only $40,263,500.00 has been raised with just three weeks left in the campaign. The Committee said it recognizes that the Influenza is playing a large part in hindering the loan effort but also begged to remind Philadelphians of the sacrifice being made by our boys over there and our responsibility to aid them with all we can spare.


This morning President Wilson received a communication from the German Government requesting an Armistice. The note was sent from Prince Maximilian, the Imperial German Chancellor, through the Swiss Government. The Chancellor asks Mr. Wilson to contact all the Allies and request them to send plenipotentiaries for the purpose of opening negotiations and restoring peace. The letter also states Germany would accept the principles set forth in President Wilson’s message to Congress on January 8 and his speech of September 28 as a basis for the peace negotiations.

Notwithstanding the German note the fighting continues. On the western front, American troops fought their way across the west bank of the Aire River in the Argonne today against heavy German resistance. In Champagne our boys, in cooperation with the French, advanced 25 miles and captured St. Etienne. The Germans are in retreat along a line between Rheims and the Argonne Forest and are fighting a rear guard action while trying to reach the Aisne River. As they fall back they are burning villages and towns.