I am busy typesetting a book for guntenberg.org and I would like to keep as far as possible close to the original style. The book was written in 1787. Here is an extract.

scan from the book

Is there a similar font for LaTeX? I would particularly like to retain the ligatures and the long s i.e., "ſ" used as 's'.

  • 1
    fontspace.com/category/old+english maybe you find one for use with XeTeX or LuaTeX. And also: tug.dk/FontCatalogue/blackletterfonts.html
    – user2478
    Commented Jan 22, 2011 at 22:07
  • @Herbert Thanks. I had a look, but this is more of a Times Roman than a blackletter font. There is a font that comes close the "oldstandard" but does not have the old 's'.
    – yannisl
    Commented Jan 22, 2011 at 22:30
  • 3
    Just wanted to point out real quick—it's not an "f" in place of an "s", it is an "s"—a long "s", or "ſ".
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 23, 2011 at 0:01
  • 8
    @Yiannis not to be too picky, but the period called "Middle English" ended around 1500, and your sample document is much later than that. In fact, it's much later even than what is usually called "Early Modern English" (which ends around 1650); you might want to correct your question to read "18th century English".
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Jan 23, 2011 at 1:11
  • See also nitens.org/taraborelli/latex#rare for two examples with XeTeX (and unfortunately non-free fonts).
    – Caramdir
    Commented Jan 23, 2011 at 2:17

5 Answers 5


One thing you could try would be the "Day Roman S" font, which seems to be preconfigured to insert the long (f-like) s in the proper spots. Link: http://www.tug.dk/FontCatalogue/dayroms/

Another avenue is to use XeLaTeX and the fontspec package, which provides an easy way to turn on uncommon/historical ligatures. You then need a font that supports these ligatures -- the free Linux Libertine (to give just one example) does, but perhaps without support for the long s. Fontspec only works with OpenType fonts, and I don't think Day Roman S is available in that format, so these two possible answers are mutually incompatible. But try them both and see which works for you.

  • 4
    @Yannis: Linux Libertine supports the ſ (and Lucida does, too).
    – lockstep
    Commented Jan 22, 2011 at 23:06
  • @lockstep Thanks will give all of them a try! From the Day Roman readme, "Two Line Double Pica Roman", a typeface designed by 16th century French punchcutter François Guyot. Looks very good actually!
    – yannisl
    Commented Jan 22, 2011 at 23:10
  • 1
    @Yiannis: you may also want to take a look at Igino Marini's revival of the Fell types (available in OpenType format) which are under the SIL Open Font License: iginomarini.com/fell/the-revival-fonts Commented Jan 23, 2011 at 10:14

It may be worth pointing out that the rules for when to use long "ſ" and when to use round "s" are not as straightforward as they might appear at first (and these rules vary depending on language and time-period). This is a useful reference: http://babelstone.blogspot.com/2006/06/rules-for-long-s.html

So I'm a bit curious about what algorithm the Day Roman font package uses to automatically choose between "ſ" and "s".


Following up on Willie Wong's answer above, here's an example using Kepler Project fonts (which works in regular LaTeX):

Where Fractions= are wanting, a Division serves= to distinguish the
Numerator from the Denominator, by putting it thus=; viz.\ 3-8, 12-63, 
16-50, though some other symbol might serve better for the purpose; and
therefore we propose one that is= similar to an Italic~\textit{l}
inverted, and whose figure takes= in the whole depth of its= body; which
then would have this= resemblance; viz.\ 3{\italiclinverted}5 
12{\italiclinverted}63 16{\italiclinverted}50.  And as=
to the thickness= of this= Divider, we think it should not exceed that 
of an n-quadrat, but rather join closer to the figures=.

Which looks likekpfonts example


That is not hard to do since most quality OpenType fonts have the ſ character and appropriate ligatures. Here is an example for Minion Pro, which comes for free with Adobe Reader:

\documentclass[pagesize=auto, version=last]{scrartcl}


\setmainfont[Numbers={Lowercase, Proportional}, Ligatures=Rare]{Minion Pro}


Where Fractions are wanting, a Diviſion ſerves to diſtinguiſh the Numerator
from the Denominator, by putting it thus; viz.\ 3–8, 12–63, 16–50, though ſome
other ſymbol might ſerve better for the purpoſe; and therefore we propoſe one
that is ſimilar to an Italic~\textit{l} inverted, and whoſe figure takes in the
whole depth of its body; which then would have this reſemblance; viz.\ 3/5
12/63 16/50.  And as to the thickneſs of this Divider, we think it ſhould not
exceed that of an n-quadrat, but rather join cloſer to the figures.


Result: alt text

  • Perhaps you mean Adobe Acrobat? I don't seem to have it on one of my machines which has Reader only, but it's surely present when Acrobat is installed. Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 10:07
  • 6
    @Martin: It is part of Adobe Reader, but a bit hidden. Depending on the operating system, there is a directory called Resource/Font somewhere at the place where Adobe Reader is installed.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 13:22
  • Ahhh.. I found them. Strange why they're not installed by default, but not a problem to do so manually. Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 13:35
  • I have not understand how can i have the font Minion Pro. When i try to compile i get this error: The font "Minion Pro" cannot be found. Thanks.
    – Aurelius
    Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 13:12

Try also the Kepler Project fonts with the fullveryoldstyle option. It contains the ct ligature and the old-style s (two items that stick out to me in the capture you posted in your question).


Hoefler Text supports most – if not all – of these ligatures, and it ships with OS X. (In fact, it’s used throughout the fontspec documentation to showcase exactly those features.)

You also need to enable “Rare”, “Historic” as well as “Contextual” ligatures regardless of the font.

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