Fool me once….

Ahhh, yes. It is that time once again. April Fools’, also referred to as All Fools’ day, is a day when children and adults alike are encouraged to take part in some lighthearted mischief. During April Fools’ it is ok to not take ourselves so seriously and, in the words of the Roman poet Horace, one can “Mix a little foolishness with your prudence: It’s good to be silly at the right moment.”

While it is difficult to pinpoint when exactly the tradition of April Fools’ began, one of the most notable stories from the holiday’s early history can be traced back to the 16th century. When Western European countries (such as France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain) adopted the Gregorian calendar in the 1580s, New Year’s Day was moved from April 1 to January 1. Those foolish enough to partake in the New Year’s festivities on April 1 were thus dubbed “April Fools.”

Through our research, using the newspapers we have digitized for the NJDNP, we found that the spirit of the April Fools holiday was alive and well at the turn of the 20th century. Below are some articles that we hope you will enjoy!

An article from the April 1, 1895 issue of the Jersey City News.
An article from the April 1, 1910 issue of the Perth Amboy Evening News
An article from the April 04, 1901 issue of the Bridgeton Pioneer.
An article from the April 1, 1905 issue of the Perth Amboy Evening News
Above is column by the frequent contributor to the Perth Amboy Evening News, Barbara Boyd from the April 4, 1904 issue.
Another political cartoon from the March 31, 1909 edition of the Perth Amboy Evening News.
What would April Fools be without an editorial cartoon. This is a cartoon from the April 1, 1909 edition of the Perth Amboy Evening News about the recent outgoing President Theodore Roosevelt and his notable African safari trip.

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(Contributed by Giovanna Ligato-Pugliese and Jacob Paul)

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