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Is it possible to create a calligraphic first letter for a chapter AND have a header or a footer? Each time I try to have a calligraphic initial and a header, the header won't show up.

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Do you mean a drop capital for the first letter of the first paragraph after a chapter heading? –  Gonzalo Medina Sep 17 '11 at 1:39
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Please add a minimal working example (MWE) that illustrates your problem. And welcome to TeX.sx! –  Caramdir Sep 17 '11 at 1:44
    
Are you trying to set the first character of the chapter caption with an enlarged (dropcap) letter? And are you also trying to have a nonblank header line on the first page of a chapter? –  Mico Sep 17 '11 at 2:12
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2 Answers

If I understood the question well, here is an example using both drop caps (lettrine) and headers on the first page of a chapter:

\documentclass{scrbook}

\usepackage{scrpage2}
\usepackage{lettrine}

\chead[My normal heading]{My chapter heading}
\renewcommand*{\chapterpagestyle}{scrheadings}
\pagestyle{scrplain}

\usepackage{lipsum}

\begin{document}

\chapter{A first chapter}

\lettrine{T}{his is the first line}. \lipsum

\end{document}

enter image description here

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The standard book and report document classes of LaTeX necessarily use a different page style for \chapter's first page than it does for other pages of the document. In particular, these pages are typeset using the plain page style, which only typesets the page number in the footer centered. For completeness, \chapter for both book and report is defined as follows:

\newcommand\chapter{\if@openright\cleardoublepage\else\clearpage\fi
                    \thispagestyle{plain}%
                    \global\@topnum\z@
                    \@afterindentfalse
                    \secdef\@chapter\@schapter}

From this it is clear that a \thispagestyle{plain} is issued whenever you use \chapter. As such, in order to override this plain page style, issue your own page style immediately after \chapter. Here is a small example that illustrates this.

enter image description here

\documentclass{book}
\usepackage{lettrine}% http://ctan.org/pkg/lettrine
\usepackage{fancyhdr}% http://ctan.org/pkg/fancyhdr
\fancyhead{}% Clear all fancy headers
\fancyhead[C]{My headings}% Add a header "My headings", centered
\renewcommand{\headrulewidth}{0pt}% No header rule
\pagestyle{fancy}%
\begin{document}
\chapter{First chapter}
\thispagestyle{fancy}% Force fancy page style for first page of chapter
\lettrine{L}{orem ipsum} dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. 
Pellentesque lectus est, sodales in ullamcorper vitae, hendrerit id 
massa. In sed pharetra orci. Sed vitae nibh neque. Proin at nisi metus. 
Maecenas pretium urna eget nibh convallis id ullamcorper dui lacinia. 
Mauris auctor, erat sed tristique sagittis, erat odio imperdiet orci, 
in volutpat lacus libero sit amet sem. Phasellus augue lacus, lacinia 
et interdum vitae, mattis in urna.
\end{document}

The page on the left shows the default first page of a chapter (using the plain page style), while the page on the right shows the overridden (yet elementary) fancy page style that was made using the fancyhdr package. In both cases, lettrine was used to drop the first capital of the paragraph.

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