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 clear fair skies over Philadelphia today. The temperature will be slightly cooler with the high reaching 62° and the low near 48°. Today is the 20th anniversary of the victory of Commodore George Dewey over the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay in the Philippines. Dewey’s fleet was in Hong Kong when war was declared between the United States and the Kingdom of Spain in 1898. He immediately sailed for the Philippines and met the Spanish in the harbor of Manila Bay on May 1. From his flag ship, the U.S.S. Olympia, Dewey gave the order to open fire. When the battle was over all the Spanish ships had been destroyed, sunk or scuttled. The Americans suffered no losses in ships or men. Organizations of veterans of the war intend to hold dinners and dances this evening in celebration of the victory.

Pope Benedict XV today appointed Bishop Dennis Joseph Dougherty as the new Archbishop of Philadelphia. Bishop Dougherty is presently the Bishop of Buffalo, New York. He succeeds Archbishop Prendergast who died on February 26. The Bishop is considered a brilliant scholar and is no stranger to Philadelphia. He studied for a time at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and also taught there after his ordination. Bishop Dougherty was born on August 16, 1865 in Ashland, Pennsylvania. His parents immigrated to the United States from County Mayo, Ireland. Bishop Dougherty will not come to Philadelphia until the receipt from the Pope of a formal Papal Bull announcing the appointment.

Archbishop Dennis Joseph Dougherty

In national news, the Senate of the United States is taking up a bill to give naturalized citizenship to all aliens serving in the armed forces. It is the intent to make the American army 100% American. The bill would allow the immediate naturalization of 123,000 men now in the service or enrolled in the draft. The War Department fully supports the measure because it is reluctant to send soldiers to France who are not American. The theory is that soldiers’ still holding German or Austrian citizenship, if captured, could be shot for treason. This would also be true for Hungarians, Poles, Bohemians and Slaves whose homelands are under the German or Austrian Empires.


 The German drive toward the Channel ports is stalled. The Germans know their only hope of victory in the war is reaching those ports before the full force of the United States is brought to bear against them on the western front. No one in either the British or French High Command expect the Germans to fall back or cease their attacks. In fact most believe the offensive will continue throughout the summer.