What Life Was Like 100 Years Ago in 1917

Created on Dec 28, 2017 by Kathy Pinna
In 1917 (100 years ago this year), President Woodrow Wilson was just beginning his second term in office. The United States entered World War I - the Great War (which began in Europe in 1914). The University of Oregon won the 3rd Rose Bowl and the Chicago White Sox were the world champions. The most popular names were Mary, Helen, Dorothy, John, William, and James. Electricity and indoor plumbing were luxuries and everyone who could (including the middle class), had servants. Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Theda Bera were big movie stars (in silent films). Jazz music was becoming popular (so scandalous!). Women were still seeking the right to vote and labor and race disputes (and riots) were common, while Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman in the U.S. House of Representatives (Montana had given women the right to vote in 1914). Tsar Nicholas II abdicated and Lenin and the Bolsheviks took over Russia, making it a communist country.

In other words, while technology and fashion have drastically changed, the challenges people face remain much the same. There was war, labor and racial unrest, and America began its path of "making the world safe for democracy" - in the words of President Wilson. These are the pictures of everyday life in 1917 - 100 years ago this year.

What Life Was Like 100 Years Ago in 1917

Beautiful baby boy, 1917

Jean Holmberg, adopted 3 weeks

Vogue magazine, January 1917

That's Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Gloria Vanderbilt's aunt - or for the younger crowd, Anderson Cooper's great aunt.
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney - Vogue magazine

58th Infantry, 1917

Harry Biba, Wallace Shearer, William Mort

Before going off to World War 1

Montelle Smith

Enid Oklahoma, 1917

William Mark Conway family

Boy Scout band, Oklahoma

Boy Scout band, Okemah, OK

NYC Subway Guard, 1917

Subway Guard NYC

New Jersey wedding, 1917

Toby Chieffi  | Vincenza Stallone wedding

Michigan wedding, 1917

Owen & Frances Rhodes Wedding Photo

Pennsylvania bride, 1917

Pauline W. Wolanska

Suffragette Doris Stevens

Doris Stevens - Woman's Party jailed

She spent 60 days in jail in 1917, protesting for the right to vote for women.

Subway worker

Subway Worker NYC

New York City, 1917


Red Cross burial packet, 1917

American Red Cross burial packet
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