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


Philadelphians can revel in warm temperatures and fair skies today. The high will reach a balmy 53° with the low about 42°. A campaign has been initiated by Mr. William Stecher, Director of Physical Education for the Philadelphia Board of Education. The campaign is to prevent public school children from carrying too many books back and forth from home to school and once at school between classrooms. The campaign began today at the Edward T. Steel School, 16th & Cayuga Streets. Mr. Stecher believes carrying too many books around all day makes a child round shouldered. Starting today teachers at the school must ensure that children in their care only carry books that are absolutely necessary.

In Atlantic City, Mayor Harry Bacharach has banned the showing of the motion picture “Birth of a Nation”. The Mayor stated that with the nation at war and thousands of young negro men patriotically responding to the country’s call to service, the film should not be shown. The Mayor feels showing the film would insult negroes and incite racial hatred.

Mayor Harry Bacharach

As of this writing the honor roll of the University of Pennsylvania which contains the names of those killed fighting in France stands at eight. Two others have died while serving at Camp Greene. The dead in France are William Austin Abbey ’12, Hugh Dalrymple ’14, Herbert Hunter ’07, Percy Byron McNally ’08, Eldred Leslie Fraser ’13, Harold St. George Taylor ’16, Franklin Dick ’04 and Alexander Patrick Husband. Sergeant Harold Small ’11 and Clarence D. Bradley ’07 died at Camp Greene. Also in Penn news, Professor Louis Klein, Dean of the University’s Veterinary School has been placed in command of the American veterinary service in France.


News cleared by the censor: The American artillery was triumphant in its battle with the German guns yesterday. The battle of big guns lasted all day yesterday and ended at dawn this morning. The censor will not permit the disclosure of the object of the bombardment but it is clear our guns accomplished their mission. No infantry engagements were reported today.

On the eastern front, Rumania has rejected Germany’s ultimatum that it conclude a peace with the Kaiser’s government within 24 hours. The Rumanians defiantly declared that they will continue the fight and either survive or perish with the Allied cause. Also the Rumanians have crossed the River Pruth and entered the former Russian province of Bessarabia which declared its independence from Russia. The Bessarabian government requested the Rumanians to enter the country and help them drive out a Bolshevik army.