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


The weather will bring increasing cloudiness through the day with rain moving in by tonight. Today’s high will reach 82° with the low tonight about 68°. Twenty young women will begin training today at the Hospital for Contagious Diseases at 2nd & Luzerne Streets. The classes will run for eight weeks. After the classes most of the women will be sent to base hospitals overseas.

The city and its police and firemen have reached a tentative agreement on pay raises. Director of Public Safety William Wilson announced that he will bring a bill before city councils on September 19 which provides for a “substantial advance”. Under the proposed plan it is believe policemen and firemen will receive a raise equaling 50 cents per hour or $4.00 per day.

From Washington D.C. comes the news that President Wilson has commuted the death sentences of 10 Negro soldiers to life imprisonment. The men took part in the riot in Houston, Texas on August 23, 1917. The death sentences of six other Negroes were affirmed by the President. This was because they had been found guilty of great cruelty in the murder of 4 policemen and nine civilians.

In sports, the first game of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox was postponed today due to heavy rains in Chicago. The opening game will now be played tomorrow.

Here in Philadelphia three world famous Hawaiian swimmers will be visiting for four days beginning today. Duke Kahanamoku, Harold Kruger and Charlie Lane will be competing in swimming exhibitions to raise funds for the Red Cross. Mr. Kahanamoku won a gold and silver medal at the 1912 Olympics. This evening the trio will be at the Germantown Cricket Club. Tomorrow’s swim will be at the Columbia Swimming Club, Broad & Oxford Streets and on Saturday they will appear at the Philadelphia Turngemeinde Club at Broad Street & Columbia Avenue. After each swimming meet the “Duke” will show off his vocal talent singing traditional and popular Hawaiian songs accompanied by Mr. Kruger on the guitar and Mr. Lane on the ukulele.

Duke Kahanamoku


American troops have taken the town of Juvigny after a five day battle. The doughboys faced four different German divisions defending the town during the course of the fighting (shown below). The German divisions included the 7th, the 223rd, the 238th and the 237th. As one German division wore down from the American assaults it was replaced by another but eventually they all broke and retreated. [EDITOR’S NOTE: The battle of Juvigny was one of the pivotal victories in the Allied Oise-Aisne Offensive. The fight for Juvigny was conducted by the 32nd Division made up of men from Wisconsin and Michigan. The French who witnessed the fighting nicknamed the division ‘Les Terribles” in praise of their prowess in battle, a nickname the Division retains to this day. The division suffered casualties of close to 50% killed or wounded. The division historian called the battle “five days of hell on earth”.]

32nd Division at Juvigny 1918