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 were slightly warmer temperatures on Sunday but today the cold has returned. The high will reach only 33° with the low tonight near 3°. Today is the 3rd “heatless” Monday and Philadelphia’s industries are closed. So are theatres, movie houses, dance halls, skating rinks, concert halls, billiard rooms and saloons.

Hundreds of German alien residents lined up at Philadelphia’s 42 police stations today to register. All enemy aliens must provide 4 unmounted photographs of themselves. They will also be fingerprinted and required to provided their work and residence history since arriving in the United States. Every one that came today gave the impression of being a loyal American. Some wore Liberty buttons, others Red Cross buttons and a few expressed shame at failing to become citizens. One man of 70 years cried while being escorted by his 4 sons into the 65th & Woodland Avenue station. All his sons are naturalized Americans. The old man explained that he did not object to registering but he was distraught that he would be thought of as an enemy of America.

Fingerprinting Aliens

There is sad news for the sporting world, John L. Sullivan, former heavyweight champion of the world died at his home in Abington, Massachusetts on Saturday, February 2. Mr. Sullivan fell dead shortly after having breakfast with his friend George Burke. Mr. Burke said that Mr. Sullivan told him he wasn’t feeling well and went to lie down. He seemed to rally but shortly before noon he expired. Mr. Sullivan was 60 years old and a widower having lost his second wife Katherine two years ago. He leaves two children, a son and a daughter. Mr. Sullivan (shown below in his younger years) is credited with 44 professional, sanctioned fights. Of those he won 40, had 2 draws, 1 no contest and 1 loss. Unofficially he is believed to have knocked out over 200 men in various sanctioned and unsanctioned contests. But the champion himself said his greatest victory was over liquor, which he renounced in 1905.

John L. Sullivan


The War Department announced today that the section of the Western Front to be held by American forces is in the Lorraine near the Marne-Rhine canal. This area comprises the Department of the Meuse, the capital of which is Verdun, the Department of the Meurthe-et-Moselle, whose capital is Nancy and the Department of the Vosges with its capital at Epinal. The front stretches for 158 miles.