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 rain through the morning with the chance of thundershowers in the early afternoon. However, the rain will clear out by this evening. Today’s high will be 83° with the overnight low near 62°. Those on the boardwalk at Atlantic City saw a truly majestic site today as a huge dirigible flew only 500 feet above the city. Bathers and strollers were transfixed by the site. Airplanes have become a common site for Atlantic City but a dirigible is unique. The airship was on its way to Cape May where it will be stationed.

Inmates at Eastern State Penitentiary have written President Wilson requesting the opportunity to fight for America. The letter will be transmitted by Mrs. John Gates, 2030 Locust Street. Mrs. Gates is known as “Little Mother” at the prison for her untiring work on behalf of the inmates. Mrs. Gates said of the request that the men sincerely wish for a chance to serve their country and to rehabilitate themselves. She pointed out that nearly every inmate takes part in military drills on the grounds. White and Negro alike stand side by side to train and learn to take orders. The letter also states that if the men are not permitted to serve in the military they will take on any task including working on farms or in mines or factories. The inmates want to do their bit for the country. Mrs. Gates left today for Harrisburg to ask for Governor Brumbaugh’s support. From there she will travel to Washington to deliver the letter to the White House.


The Marines are continuing their advance in Belleau Wood. American artillery opened up on the Germans yesterday morning at 3:30am. After an hour of bombardment the Marines supported by French troops attacked. Hundreds of Germans lost their lives and over 300 prisoners were taken. Many of these Germans are quite young and appeared happy to have the ordeal over. The Wood is 5 miles west of Chateau-Thierry and of strategic importance to the continued resistance to the German offensive. It has been learned from prisoners that the ferocity of the Marines in battle has resulted in the Germans giving them the nickname “Teufel Hunden” or “Devil Dogs”.

In the Noyon sector of the Oise front, the French have stopped the German advance. Along a 20 mile front an estimated 250,000 Germans have been attempting to break the French line to no avail. Reports are that the battlefield is a sea of blood and German bodies.