The Man Who Printed Books
CAROLINE F. SCHIMMEL
'^HE standards of the Hammer Creek Press would not al¬
low a less-than-perfect piece of printing, which says a
great deal for an organization -which consisted of one man
with a single less-than-perfect press in an incommodious YMCA
room, over a span of fifteen years with a production of more than
si.xty booklets, folders, and broadsides, and innumerable ephemera.
The man was John S. Fass, his press was a 1905 Hughes & Kimber,
a "little Aldine," the YMCA was on i6ist Street in the Bronx, and
the time was 1950 to 1965.
Supetb printing A\-as the expected thing to those who knew Fass
before 1950. But to explain the perfection one must go back fur¬
ther. John Fass was born in 1890 in Lititz, Pennsylvania, in the
heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, where hard work well done
was a fact of life. This Fass learned well and early in his chosen
trade, working summers from the age of twelve, and full time
after graduation from high school, at the Lititz Express. It «'as
"the first newspaper in town to have a linotype," he mentioned
somewhat proudly in a conversation with Paul Bennett. Still, it
was a fairly crude operation, as he discovered in 1918 when he
went to work as a compositor for the Holmes Press in Philadelphia.