IMG_0064I once designed a jacket using the long s. It seemed not inappropriate for a book about Isaac Newton — after all the first edition of Principia Mathematica used it. Quite a few copies of Never at Rest were returned with the complaint that there was a spelling error on the jacket — if you don’t want a book, just return it: don’t make up silly justifications for doing so! (It’s reminiscent of Knopf getting returns of deckle-edge books with the complaint that the books haven’t been properly trimmed.)

The invaluable Typefoundry blog  has a history of the long s. It would seem that long s began to fall out of use with the design of the “modern” typefaces in the late eighteenth century, which often just didn’t include one. A remnant of it appears on your Mac keyboard — Option-s will deliver ß, the German Ess-zet, which may now itself be endangered after the 1996 promulgation of revised spelling rules in Germany.