Pennsylvania Dutch Barns: 1940s & 50s
Photography by John Fass
John Fass was a country boy with an urban aesthetic. Although he lived in New York City, he maintained close bonds with his relatives in Lancaster County, PA, where he owned the house previously owned by his parents in Lititz.
John celebrated his rural Pennsylvania Dutch heritage in both his photography and books arts. In the 1950s he created two booklets about hex signs on barns. He printed the books in miniscule editions in his room at the Bronx YMCA. The titles are Barn Signs of the Pennsylvania Dutch Usually called "Hex Signs" (1953, edition of 4 copies) and Designs of the Pennsylvania Dutch Usually Called Hex Signs (1954, edition of 6 copies). The books consist of hex sign decals "collected and arranged by the Hammer Creek Press."
Previously, in the 1940s, John created a series of photographs of Pennsylvania Dutch barns, shot with Kodachrome slide film. These barns stand tall in their fields, in dramatic counterpoint to the Manhattan skyscrapers John photographed during this same time.