Transitional book font used in the Ticknor and Fields 1867 edition of Dante.



In a modern font Gazette Roman (Regular) from Linotype comes pretty close for Devine Comedy.

AFAIK this one is not digitized. Gazette Roman is not all that far off as a modern substitute. I could nit pick the differences but there is no real point as the font is now defunct. But note that the 1867 font is lighter in weight. A lighter weight of Gazette Roman or something similar would be helpful.
As for the original, this could be checked against book type in the Boston/Central specimen books.
Link to Boston Specimen books

Boston did not use font names. With the thrilling name of "No.10" here is what could perhaps be a matching specimen from the 1860 specimen book:


Here is a screenshot of Gazette converted to a "lighter weight" as Don mentioned. A light like this does not happen to exist.

Text size of "No 10" from Boston 1860

Bob, the lighter weight of Gazette looks closer.
BTW the the samples I posted are excellent examples of the emaciated nature of 19th century book types that were scrapped at the end of the century.
In modern fonts we sometimes see such lightweight versions as the Latin text component of Far Eastern fonts. Might be worth going through them to see if there something that approximates the Devine Comedy book, which could perhaps be Boston's "No.10" font.

Just found an ebook on! More letters, more precision!
I am specifically looking for the text font.
Thanks so much for the quick response, guys. You never fail to impress me!

The text appears close to Adobe Caslon Pro (Regular) for a modern version. Also some Fell Type fonts that try to duplicate early printing are close (

I found Williams Caslon, which is (I think) even closer.
Any more suggestions?


Same publisher, same year, same text font, higher resolution scan.
_Queer little people_
A good source for compiling an alphabet.
Tip: download the jp2 scans from It's the file titled
Use a program such as Irfan view to read the jp2. Save selected pages as regular jpeg files. Excerpt the letters one at a time. Post the result here.
The letters will be at this scale:

BTW Dante's _Divine Comedy_ may be in the cannon of literature, but Harriet Beecher Stowe's _Queer Little People_ is a lot more fun to read. She also authored _Uncle Tom's Cabin_, a book of some significance.

More about the Fell Revival Types

The text in the two Ticknor and Fields books from 1867, and Boston Foundry's "No.10" seem to be derived from a typeface known as Williams Caslon. The digital Williams Caslon is mostly the same, except that it is a heavier weight. What would come really close to Ticknor 1867, would be a digital Williams Caslon Light, but this is not available.
note that there are letter-form differences , particularly in the italic. Compare the short excerpt from Dante's _Divine Comedy_


That funky-looking Q is available in the digital version as an alternate, though:

Excellent. Trim the curl off the tail of alternate _Q_ and it's pretty much a match to the book's italic _Q_.

According to Charlie Rheault in The Riverside Press in Retrospect, 1852-1971, "Ticknor & Fields brought a great deal of its work to Riverside [Press]." I have an 1887 Riverside Press type specimen containing a face called Franklin that looks like a very close match to the display type in this sample.

Thanks Victor for the provenance of Franklin. I had thought about this as a possibility for more letters of the alphabet. We might compare a later [1898] showing by ATF of its 12pt Franklin with the book samples I posted earlier. Are these the same letterforms, esp the_g_?

Alas, Don, my specimen shows only the uppercase.

Many years ago, I had the great good luck to find this specimen in a secondhand book shop in Belmont, MA. They had acquired it from the grandson of Melancthon Montgomery Hurd, who was a partner with Henry O. Houghton in the publishing company that still bears the latter's name.

Victor, the UC Franklin titling sizes in your Belmont MA bookstore good find certainly look like the book titles.
One of the problems we have is that until near the end of the 19th century different font sizes were individually cut and there could be quite a lot of variation between font sizes. The Caslons were particularly varied in their interpretations.
But all things considered, I'm leaning towards the idea that the 1867 books, Boston "No10" and Franklin are pretty much the same. Whether by electrotyping or re-cutting I can't say, but Franklin looks really similar to Boston "No10," which I believe is probably the font in the books.
So, if we recall elementary logic A=B and B=C means A=C, then some good specimens of Franklin should give us the full alphabet for the books.