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 partly sunny skies today with the high temperature reaching 42° and the low near 27°. The Roman Catholic High School for boys, Broad & Vine Streets, has announced that it now has 156 alumni and students in the armed services. The men are from the classes of 1896 through 1918. The school is preparing an honor roll containing the name of each man and his class year.

Mayor Smith’s administration has increased the city payroll for “personal services” to the point where it is now larger than any other item in the budget. For 1918 there will be 14,000 employees on the payroll which includes hundreds of new hires. The overwhelming majority of these jobs are being filled by political “friends” of the Mayor and the Vare faction of the Republican Party. These city workers salaries will cost the taxpayer $18,000,000.00. In other City Hall news, the Vare-Smith faction has begun to dismiss known supporters of the Town Hall Party from their positions with the city.

Many of Philadelphia’s finest polo players are now putting their skills to use in the United States Cavalry. Because of that game the men became superb horseman, highly disciplined, excellent team players and strong physical specimens, all qualities necessary in making a fine fighter. Those serving now include Captain Robert Strawbridge and his son Robert, Junior and Mr. Rodman Wanamaker and his cousin Mr. John Wanamaker.

On our southern border, the United States cavalry fought a fierce battle with 200 Mexican bandits who had raided a ranch near Presidio, Texas. The Mexicans were led by Chico Cano, a known outlaw. When the fight was over 35 Mexicans were dead along with one America Trooper.


On the western front, German forces have switched tactics and are now attacking British troops north of the Cambrai salient around Moeuvres. The massive German reserve forces brought to the battle have forced the British to retreat in certain sections. American doctors are with the British helping to tend to the wounded. And American engineers are also involved. The engineers were not there to fight but to build railroad lines. The German advance caught them up in the battle. So they borrowed British rifles and joined in the fight.

In Eastern Europe, Bulgaria has announced that it will open armistice negotiations with Russia. Also on the eastern front, as a consequence of the talks between Russia and Germany over a peace treaty, Ukrainian troops are reportedly leaving their posts at the front and returning home.