[tex-fonts] Re: [texhax] On the proper look of the \AA

Lars Hellström Lars.Hellstrom at math.umu.se
Fri Jan 16 19:49:09 CET 2004

At 15.29 +0100 2004-01-16, Barbara Beeton wrote:
>One of the principal models used by Knuth in deciding
>on the appearance of various things for TeX was the
>Swedish journal "Acta Mathematica".  I assume (though
>I don't have first-hand experience) that the Aring
>was not uncommon in its pages, and Knuth followed
>that model.  Someone who has access to old issues
>(from the days when it was set from metal type) could
>check the appearance of the Aring there.

Being currently stationed at the Institut Mittag-Leffler :-), I feel
obliged to check Barbara's conjecture. Looking through some randomly
selected volumes of Acta, I haven't been able to spot a single \r{A} in
there. In retrospect, this isn't particularly surprising; Acta has always
been a very international journal. (Some of its early popularity came from
the fact that it was neither a French nor a German journal, thus being
universally acceptable amongst both authors and subscribers.) Text is
generally in French, German, or (nowadays mostly) English---neither of
which languages use \r{A}. Hence the only likely source of that letter
would be a name, but \r{a} isn't that common a letter in names, and I found
none as an initial. I did however find a \textsc{\r{a}}, where the ring is
close to, but does not touch, the \textsc{a}.

Still, there is a good chance that an \r{A} in the journal would have had
the ring joined to the A. In the (far less prestigous) sister journal
"Arkiv för matematik", which is also published by the institute and (at
least in the lead era) was printed by the same printer as the Acta, I did
manage to find an "\r{A}ke", and there the ring was joined to the A.

Thus in summary: It is possible, although rather unlikely, that Knuth saw
such an \r{A} in the Acta mathematica.

Lars Hellström

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