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 skies will be clear and bright over Philadelphia today with the high reaching 76° and a low of 55°. The death toll from influenza and pneumonia over the last 24 hours is 557. That is 43 more than yesterday. The Department of Health announced 2,612 newly reported cases today.

Governor Brumbaugh today asked families who employ nurses to release them for public service until the influenza epidemic is brought under control. These nurses are predominately employed in the homes of wealthy invalids. The Governor noted that there are at least 500 nurses permanently employed in private homes throughout Pennsylvania. He also noted that the majority of those are in or near Philadelphia.

The Red Cross, the Emergency Aid of Pennsylvania, the Visiting Nurse Society, the National League for Woman’s Service and the Philadelphia Council of National Defense have joined together to help alleviate the nursing shortage. These organizations are asking all healthy women who are able to volunteer for nursing service. These organizations will train those women in the basic skills necessary to perform work that will help relieve the shortage.

The shortage of grave diggers is leading to scores of unburied bodies. Bodies are left unburied at cemeteries or worst, left in the homes of their loved ones. The city morgue is almost filled to capacity. Inmates and convicts are digging graves at Woodlands Cemetery across the Schuylkill River. A steam shovel was commandeered by the city to dig trenches at Magnolia Cemetery in Tacony. In many instances family members have taken on the sad task of digging the graves of their mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, wives and children.


On the western front German troops are in retreat along a 160 mile front. In northern France the British have taken Cambrai. The British were supported by Canadian and New Zealand divisions and used tanks to great effect. In the Champagne Region, French and American troops have met north of the Argonne in the Grand Pre Gap. The French have crossed the Aisne and captured Termes. The American have cleared the Argonne Forest and have now moved east capturing numerous towns.