The Philadelphia War History Committee[Record Group 60-118-2]
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- 60-118-2.1 Philadelphia in the World War, 1914-1919
On 22 September 1919, Mayor Thomas B. Smith appointed the Philadelphia War History Committee to compile a history of Philadelphia's involvement in the recent World War (I). Mayor Smith had appointed two committees in 1916-1917 to help Philadelphia's soldiers. The first, appointed on 18 June 1916, was the Citizens' Soldiers Aid Committee, which raised money to assist the families of the Philadelphia regiments of the National Guard called into active service along the Mexican frontier. This committee terminated its functions at the end of 1916. On 20 March 1917, Mayor Smith appointed the Philadelphia Home Defense Committee which initially aided a naval recruiting campaign in the Philadelphia area but generally coordinated all efforts to assist the war preparations and the families of those in the armed forces. The Philadelphia Home Defense Committee soon passed into history, supplanted by the state Pennsylvania Committee of Public Safety, but at least two of the sub-committees continued to work throughout the remainder of the war. The first, the Philadelphia Home Defense Reserve, created a military reserve of 2500 men which helped keep peace in the city throughout the war. The second, the Personal Service Bureau, aided the soldier and his family to adjust themselves to war conditions, help maintain communications between them, and offer a general helping hand to service men from other cities located temporarily in Philadelphia.
After the termination of hostilities, the chairman of the Philadelphia Branch of the Council of National Defense, suggested the appointment of the Philadelphia War History Committee while the materials for a book were still freshly available. This book, entitled Philadelphia in the World War 1914-1919, was published in 1922. Detailed histories of the two Mayor's war committees are included although the records of these organizations appear to have passed into history.
According to the Guide to the Manuscript Collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (1949), some of the preparatory materials relating to the publication of the Committee's book are located at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Similarly, the HSP possesses two volumes of papers relating to the Pennsylvania Committee of Public Safety of 1917-1918, one volume of papers relating to the Philadelphia Selective Service of 1918-1918 and several volumes of materials relating to the draft boards in Philadelphia in 1917.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
The Philadelphia War History Committee [60-118-2]
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Last updated on August 27, 1999