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The Advance. : (Jamesburg, N.J.) 1888-19??
Place of publication:
Jamesburg, N.J.
Geographic coverage:
  • Jamesburg, Middlesex, New Jersey  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
New Jersey State Reform School
Dates of publication:
  • Changed to magazine format Nov. 1921
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Mar. 1, 1888)-
Biweekly <Jan. 5, 1921-Sept. 20, 1921>
  • English
  • Publication of the New Jersey State Reform School, later known as the New Jersey State Home for Boys.
sn 91064026
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The Advance. March 1, 1888 , Image 1


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The Advance

The Advance was the school newspaper of the New Jersey State Reform School located in Jamesburg, N.J. It was started on March 1,1888 and was published on the first and third Thursday of each month. The paper was four pages with four columns and was sold for a subscription price of twenty-five cents a year in 1888 and fifty cents a year in 1921. There was no advertising.

John F. Babcock, formerly the editor of the New-Brunswick Daily Fredonian, was the editor and printmaking teacher though there was purposely no named editor identified in the newspaper. The paper was published for the benefit, directly and indirectly, of the boys of the school as they learned printing skills and practiced their English language and composition lessons in a real-world application.

The New Jersey State Reform School was opened in October of 1867 and used a "family" system of organization where the boys resided in different houses headed by a husband and wife with approximately fifty residents according to age. The opening of the school represented a step forward in the care of young offenders as they had previously been housed in county jails alongside adult prisoners. The Reform School had a program of early rising (5:30am) and then work until lunchtime. Work tasks included printing, brickmaking, farming, making shoes and shirts and laundry and kitchen work. School followed lunch for three and a half hours, five days a week, fifty weeks a year.

The residents of the school were boys between the age of eight and sixteen, both white and Black. Many were sent there for crimes related to larceny and incorrigibility. Newspaper content was intended to inspire, instruct and educate with an emphasis on right living and moral instruction, interspersed with poetry and stories. "Just as the Twig Is Bent the Tree's Inclined" was the phrase on the newspaper masthead. News items about the reform school, its bands, sports teams, and the activities of the staff were also featured. In later years, each of the houses provided a written report of events in their house. News from around the state allowed the boys to remain connected with their home towns.

In July of 1889 the Advance moved to a weekly publication schedule. The shirt factory where many of the boys worked in the mornings closed leaving them without occupation. Some were sent to school in the morning, others were employed by a local brush factory and others were sent to work on the Advance which doubled the number of students working in the print shop.

September 20, 1921 was the last issue of the Advance as a four-page newspaper as it transitioned to a magazine format in November of that year.

Provided by: Rutgers University Libraries