I encountered the following version of \mathcal{H} and like it a lot:


This is slightly different from the usual one from Computer Modern font:


I have done some search and tried different fonts, e.g., mtpro2, mathptmx, and mathpazo etc., but could not find the first \mathcal{H}.

Here is my question: Is there a way that I could get the first one? Is it some sort of "old \mathcal symbols"?

Any help would be highly appreciated.

PS: I have found an example for the source of the first \mathcal{H} here is the link on arXiv preprint page.

I downloaded the *.tex file of that pdf, and here are all the packages used there:



Of course, typing \mathcal{H} in this setting yields the second one, but somehow the \mathcal{H} in the link looks like this:


So I guess there must be something "weird" going on here.

PS: I often see the first one in papers published by Springer, e.g., https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs000200300015.pdf (it appears right in the title)

I also saw the first one \mathcal{H} in this question svmono template and `\mathcal`.


3 Answers 3


The H comes from the standard font cmsy10, but an old version. There was a change in 2009. (The cited typesetting-script.pdf was created at 2009-02-11, using the old symbol font.)

The symbol with cmsy10.pfb from an old TeX Live 5 (2000):

\mathcal{H} before 2009

The font file cmsy10.pfb from TL 5 (2000) contains:

CMSY10 1.0
%%CreationDate: 1991 Aug 15 07:20:57
% Copyright (C) 1997 American Mathematical Society.  All Rights Reserved.

The current font file (2018) contains:

%%Title: CMSY10
%Version: 003.002
%%CreationDate: Mon Jul 13 16:17:00 2009
%%Creator: David M. Jones
%Copyright: Copyright (c) 1997, 2009 American Mathematical Society

Very likely there was a font change in 2009 or before that changed the calligraphic uppercase H.

  • 1
    So, if I understand your answer, David Jones is to blame for this. :^) Commented May 3, 2018 at 9:46
  • @StevenB.Segletes I have not found a "ChangeLog", thus it is not clear, who has when changed the form of the glyph (a matter of taste anyway). Commented May 3, 2018 at 11:40
  • @HeikoOberdiek Wonderful!! :) Do you happen to know a way to get that good old one? I think somehow Springer can still produce that \mathcal{H} since some papers published in recent years still have that one. PS I agree this is just personal taste anyway.
    – weirdo
    Commented May 3, 2018 at 18:18
  • 1
    @weirdo Tar files of historic TeX Live versions can be found here. Then, the texlive-<date>-texmf.tar.lzma can be downloaded and opened with 7-Zip, for example. Then locate and extract the cmsy*.pfb files somewhere below TDS:texmf/fonts/type1/public/. The files can be placed (a) the project directory for project scope only, (b) the home TDS tree of the user, or (c) the local TDS tree for system-wide override. But be aware, that the sources compiled with other recent TeX distributions gets the new form. Commented May 3, 2018 at 18:45
  • 2
    this h is the one that's pictured in volume e of computers and typesetting, at least the first edition. i'm trying to reconstruct the chronology of the development, when the bluesky type 1 version was released, when hermann zapf cooperated with the dutch guys on a tidied up version as a birthday present for don, ... certainly the current version has the extended bar. as i remember, the only thing david jones did was apply the sil open font license to the files, which required repackaging. Commented May 3, 2018 at 20:23

I hacked a fit to 10pt and 12pt versions, by stacking white boxes over the left arm of the H.




enter image description here

If those boxes were visible, they would look like this:

enter image description here

  • I guess another different is that the horizontal stroke of the first \mathcal{H} is higher than that of the second one. Your solution indeed looks very close to the first one :) Many thanks!
    – weirdo
    Commented May 3, 2018 at 1:18
  • @DavidCarlisle I followed your advice and used acrobat to check the fonts used in those pdf file. Seems like it is a "weird" type of cmsy. FYI the first H is also in stat.colostate.edu/~vollmer/pdfs/typesetting-script.pdf and the author says "no package required," from which I think this situation depends on the "type of cal letters" available in each computer.
    – weirdo
    Commented May 3, 2018 at 7:19
  • I'm going to clean up comments before the system starts telling us off for too long a comment thread:-) Commented May 3, 2018 at 11:08

Here is a version that gets you something similar using the modern toolchain (unicode-math in XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX). A second script alphabet is available in Asana Math as a stylistic alternative.

\documentclass[varwidth, preview]{standalone}

\setmainfont{Palatino Linotype}[Ligatures={Common,Discretionary,TeX}]
\setmathfont[Scale=MatchUppercase]{Asana Math}
\setmathfont[range={cal, bfcal}, Scale=MatchUppercase, Alternate]{Asana Math}

\( \mathcal{H} \)


You can see a pretty comprenehsive list of the legacy calligraphic alphabets in the documentation for mathalpha (formerly mathalfa).

You might try pxtx or see if there’s another version there you like better:

\documentclass[varwidth, preview]{standalone}

\( \mathcal{H} \)


Both of these are based on pxfonts/txfonts by Young Ryu.

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