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


President Wilson addressed both houses of Congress this afternoon giving his fifth State of the Union address.  In clear, decisive terms he stated that America intended to win the war. Mr. Wilson dismissed critics of his policy as not speaking for the nation or its interest. He said the American people want peace but only by the overcoming of evil and the crushing of the sinister forces making peace impossible.

He said the purpose of the Central Powers strikes at the very heart of everything we believe in. Their method of warfare is an outrage to every principle of humanity and knightly honor. Their sinister and secret diplomacy has sought to take our very territory away from us and disrupt the union of States. Our safety would be at an end, our honor forever sullied and brought into contempt were we to permit their triumph. They are striking at the very existence of democracy and liberty.

The President then asked Congress for a Declaration of War against the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Mr. Wilson said that Austria-Hungary is merely a vassal state of Germany and in order to fully prosecute the war we must take the fight to them also. The President said autocracy must be shown the utter futility of is claims to power or leadership in the modern world. He concluded by saying that our cause is a just and holy one and nothing will turn us aside from it until it is accomplished.

Philadelphia’s women are needed for war work. The Philadelphia division of the Council of National Defense has set up booths all around the city for women to register to help in whatever way they can in the war effort. Married or single, employed or not, the government is requesting women to let it know what they can do to take the place of the men called to war and war production. Even if a woman can only give an hour a day the government needs you. Three grades of work are specified in 154 occupations including volunteer work, work paying expenses only and work paying salaries. For those women with ambition in certain special fields, training will be provided.

In sports, basketball fans are stunned to learn that the Eastern Basketball League has disbanded. The owners of the teams made the decision after a special meeting last night. The Jasper Jewels of Kensington presented its resignation to the league. This was followed by Gray’s Ferry’s Greystock Greys. De Neri of South Philadelphia, Trenton and Camden all wished to continue the league but with the loss of two teams it was impossible. The calling of many players to the service as well as many their fans is thought partly responsible for the League’s collapse.