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 over the city today with some rain later in the afternoon or this evening. Today’s high will reach 81° with the low tonight near 64°. The Wanamaker Institute of Industries will hold its graduation ceremonies tonight at the Bethany Sunday School Hall, 22nd & Bainbridge Streets. Sixty-one graduates will receive diplomas from Mr. John Wanamaker. The students have received training in art needlework, bookkeeping, clock and watchmaking, dressmaking, stenography and domestic science.

Sabotage may be behind the fire this morning at the Philadelphia Wool Scouring and Carbonizing Company at Somerset and Rush streets. Over 600 employees had to flee for their lives as the fire spread. Some workers had to jump from 2nd story windows to escape the flames. Residents of Rush Street were also forced out of their homes over fear of the fire spreading. The company has been engaged in war work for the government. The fire began on the ground floor by the main entrance to the building.

A Frankford man has been awarded the Croix de Guerre of France for courage under fire. Sergeant James Keay is fighting with Canadian forces in France. He is well known in the northeast and is a proud member of Clan MacGregor No. 213, Order of Scottish Clans. Also receiving the French Croix de Guerre for gallantry is Raymond Trice of 502 South 44th Street. Private Trice is 22 years old and serving with the American Ambulance Corps. He received the award for his service during the recent air raids on Paris.


On the western front, the German offensive that began on June 1 is now being met by American forces. The United States Marines are taking on the Germans in vicious fighting northwest of Chateau-Thierry near a place called Belleau Woods (shown below). The advance and gains the Germans made against the French forces was halted upon the arrival of battalions of the 5th and 6th Marines and units of American army infantry regiments.

6th Machine Gun Battalion, United States Marines

The Americans have driven the Germans back over 2 miles along a 5 mile front and have recaptured the towns of Bussiares, Torcy-en-Valois and Bouresches. Reportedly after a battle on June 4 retreating French forces urged the Marines to fall back in retreat, to which a Marine Captain replied “Retreat Hell! We just got here”. The battle is continuing today.