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. We will also recount the events occurring in the war on that day. So, check back often for new updates.

To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com


There will be clear and fair skies over the city today with gentle winds from the west. The high will reach 77° and the low tonight around 69°.

The holiday death toll was surprisingly and thankfully small this year and none of the deaths were due to fireworks. Three deaths resulted from drowning, 1 man committed suicide because his wife left him and 1 man was shot and killed while trying to collect on a bill for ice. Finally, Robert Winters, 65 years old of 2517 North 5th Street, died at the Phillies game. Reportedly Mr. Winters became overly excited while watching Grover Alexander pitch his third 1 hitter in less than 6 weeks as the Phillies beat the Giants 2 to 0.  The excitement was apparently too much for Mr. Winters.

The story of “Rosie”, the little lost girl who was found back in June has a happy ending. We reported Rosie’s tale on June 25th & 26th but new developments have occurred since then. Rosie is back with her family and her real name is Esther Borteck (shown below with her brothers and sister). It seems Esther’s father and mother, Russian Jewish immigrants, thought she was staying with an aunt on North 7th Street. On June 21st Ester’s parents told their 11 year old son Benjamin to take her to stay with her aunt for a few days. When Benjamin got to his aunt’s home she wasn’t there so he left Esther on the steps. Apparently the little girl got bored and tried to find her way home when she was found by the police.


Esther’s father works all day as a cobbler in their home at 504 South 18th Street and her mother is employed in a shirtwaist factory. The couple has 5 children. Neither thought the girl was lost. Joseph, her father, did see the picture of a little girl in the newspaper and thought she looked familiar but didn’t think it was his daughter. And not being proficient in English he was unable to read the story. It wasn’t until young Benjamin read the newspaper article and saw the picture that he realized the lost girl was his sister.

Mr. Boteck wept as he told of finding out his daughter was missing and had been found by the police. He said he and his wife are hardworking people living in a few rooms which they share with a Chinese laundry on the 1st floor. It was because of the crowding and dampness of the house that he sent Esther to her aunt for some time in less cramped surroundings. He was also very grateful to the kind couple that offered to adopt his daughter when she was in need.