A different Times

Some weeks ago, I stumbled upon a variant of Stanley Morison’s Times in which several characters of the italic cut differ from what nowadays is usually seen in this typeface. Have a look:

Lowercase ‘v’ and ‘g’ differ noticeably from the standard TNR, shown below:

Unfortunately, I don’t exactly recall from which book I took the above snapshot. I reckon that it might have been a non-fiction volume from the 1970s, printed probably in the USA. What I do remember is that the colophon stated that the book was “set in Monotype Times Roman”. This information, however, has not led me very far.
Can you tell me something about the provenance of this mutation? Has it been used in Europe as well as in the States? Is there any relation between these character shapes and Morison’s original drawings? And finally: Is there any digitised Times featuring a two-storey ‘g’?
P.S.: I know this isn’t precisely a type ID, but this board is where I hope to meet the detectives among you. Thanks in advance!


I looked in the McGrew book of American Metal Typefaces and nothing is shown for Times with these letter variants. Also checked Jaspert's Encyclopaedia, Phil's Photo type book, and A.T.A. Type Comparison Book. In the book "Typefaces for Books" by Sutton & Bartam, they show Monotype and Linotype versions of Times New Roman. Both say "educational characters available". Thinking of Bembo Schoolbook, which uses a single storey 'g' in the Roman and Italic versions, and the fact that Morison was the one who directed the Bembo design for Monotype (according to McGrew), makes me wonder of perhaps that could explain these variants.

- Mike Yanega

Thank you very much for checking these specimen books! I probably wouldn’t have been able to access all of them myself.

It doesn’t sound unlikely that the characters shown above have been influenced by ‘educational’ glyph shapes, although — if I remember correctly — a two-storey ‘a’ and a three-storey ‘g’ were used in the Roman text. And what is schoolbook-like about that italic ‘v’, slightly reminiscent of a Greek upsilon? Maybe it has to remain a mystery …

This came up before, see this thread. Has not been solved, though.

For typesetting mathematics, Monotype had a variant of Times with alternate v (to avoid confusion with greek nu). Here’s an example from the Monotype Mathematical Sorts List booklet they made:

There isn’t an alternate g, but Times 569 (the math variant used with the 4-line mathematics technology) had both alternates:

The slant is not the same as in your example, so it’s not that typeface, but given what your colophon indicated, it would be reasonable to think that Monotype had a variant of Times 327 with those alternate v and g.

Very interesting, thanks all!

In the meantime, I have been able to find out that a (slightly different) digitisation of Times containing these alternate characters has been used by various scholarly journals, some of which are available online. The following screenshot is from one of those publications:

Whereas the slant of the ‘g’ is less pronounced than in the pre-digital sample shown above, the ‘v’ seems to be virtually identical, doesn’t it?
This journal typeface is embedded as ‘Adv-Times-i’, ‘AdvMacTim-i’ and the like, ‘Adv’ allegedly being a prefix assigned by some Arbortext typesetting software. If anyone of you is technically capable of inspecting the copyright notice of such a font, try your luck here — an article from one of the above-mentioned journals that happens to be publicly available as a PDF.

Copyright \(c)\ 1990 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reservedTimes New Roman is a registered trademark of Monotype Corporation plc

These alternate g and v have the same slant as the Times 569 sample above:

which is not the same as the slant of the other italic letters, contrary to the original sample:

Thank you for visualising this! The letters in the sample I have provided in my topmost article are apparently better drawn than those in the digitisation. The disharmony you have pointed out is why the glyphs from the latter version have always looked somehow off-kilter to me.

A tolerable two-storey ‘g’ for both upright and italic cuts can be found in versions of Times that come with phonetic symbols (see below for Times New Roman). The alternate ‘v’ doesn’t seem to be present, however:

P.S.: The copyright notice is not particularly informative, is it?

There is an alternate v in most times clone fonts used for math, but none have the same shape as above: