Posted 8 months ago
This is an old book of hymns and spiritual songs. Unfortunately, the first 34 pages are missing, including the title page, so I do not know when it was printed. Although I know any collector value is gone, I can't seem to get rid of it.
It is written using the long, medial or descending s (f) that is a form of the minuscule letter s formerly used where s occurred in the middle or at the beginning of a word, for example "?infulne?s" ("sinfulness").
The long s was derived from the old Roman cursive medial s. When the distinction between upper case (capital) and lower case (small) letter-forms became established, towards the end of the eighth century, it developed a more vertical form. In this period it was occasionally used at the end of a word, a practice which quickly died out but was occasionally revived in Italian printing between about 1465 and 1480.
The long s fell out of use in roman and italic typefaces well before the middle of the 19th century. In Spain the change was mainly accomplished between the years 1760 and 1766; in France, the change occurred between 1782 and 1793; in Britain and the United States, between 1795 and 1810. For example, in Spain, the multi-volume work España Sagrada made the switch with volume 16 (1762); The Times of London switched to the short s with its issue of September 10, 1803; and in the United States, acts of Congress were published with the long s throughout 1803, switching to the short s in 1804.
In plate #4 above, you can see where the long s (f) is used.
Someone wrote on the opposite side of the front cover that it is from around 1710, but I have no way to verify that. It's a small book, 3-1/2 inches by 5-3/8 inches, 396 pages plus 10 pages of the Table of songs listed in alphabetical order.
Thanks for looking,