I have a Wittgenstein book whose initial page thanks an English scholar "Miß G.E.M. Anscombe". The text was published in 1960. Is this use of the ß/esszet still a common way of writing Miss (as opposed to Ms. or Mrs.) in German?
Just checked my collection of Duden:
- 1880 – Not in the book (Faksimile 1990)
- 1924 – Miß (Misses, pl)
- 1947 – Miß (Misses, pl) (Leipzig)
- 1991 – Miß (in engl. spelling Miss)
- 2006 – Miss
For good measure two Knaur:
- 1932 – Miß
- 1965 – Miss
So Miß was the correct spelling until the reform(s) in 1996/2004/2006 and there was a time when the English spelling was accepted as well.
Miß (sic) seems to have been an accepted spelling back in the 1960’s. Take this article from the Zeit, e.g.:
Denn auf der glatten Stirn dieser Jung-Parlamentarierin namens Dr. Ursula Krips ziehen steile Unmutsfalten auf, wenn sie daran erinnert wird, daß eilfertige Reporter ihr den Titel „Miß Bundestag“ verpaßt haben: „Politik ist doch kein Schaugeschäft! Ich finde es schon fatal, wenn man bei der Beurteilung der Männer, die sich der Politik widmen, Maßstäbe anlegt, die mit Gesinnung oder Leistung nichts zu tun haben. Aber geradezu ärgerlich finde ich es, wenn man einer Frau, die sich für die Politik entschieden hat, einen Titel aufzwingt, der ihr die Arbeit eher erschwert als erleichtert.“
These days (i.e. after the reform) anything but Miss would be considered incorrect, however.
Miss Marple is "Miss Marple" in German in much the same way that the English press often refers to "Frau Merkel". It's actually a quite common word in translations from English and in German literature that plays in English-speaking countries, and this is by no means a recent phenomenon. Apart from that, Miss also exists in German as a common component of beauty pageant titles, but I don't know if that was already a relevant factor in Wittgenstein's lifetime.
ß was originally a ligature for sz (or more precisely ſz, where ſ is long s as in the integral sign), but is treated in German to some degree as if it had evolved out of a ligature for ss (or rather ſs). In fact, the antiqua version nowadays looks more like ſs than like ſz, though that's in part due to the simpler modern shape of z.
According to pre-1998 orthography rules, ss at the end of the syllable was always spelled ß in German words. Whether this was applied to an English word depended primarily on how 'foreign' that word still felt. I think Miss feels roughly as 'foreign' in German as rucksack and sauerkraut do in English, i.e. it's recognisably foreign but has already been naturalised except for spelling. And just like rucksack and sauerkraut lost the capitalisation which every German noun has, Miss got the obligatory ss to ß transformation normally reserved for German words.
In 1998, the majority of uses of ß - after a single short vowel - was reformed to become ss. (This is essentially one of the rules that once competed for becoming the official standard but lost when the spelling of Konrad Duden's dictionary was finally agreed upon as mandatory for official use.) This affected the spelling of Miss, but the fact is obviously not relevant to Wittgenstein. Making naturalised foreign words look closer to the original spelling may actually have been one of the motivations for this detail of the spelling reform.
Since ß felt like a ligature, I expect that many Germans used it even when writing English, at least in handwriting.
Writing Miss as Miß is no longer done for the simple reason that it is no longer the officially correct spelling, though the fact that many German speakers nowadays are using a lot of English every day may also play a role. Reprints and new editions of German books generally get their orthography modernised silently, just like you won't find ſ in today's English Dickens editions. (If this is not done, it's either for financial reasons or because someone rejects the spelling reform, but generally not out of some idea of staying true to the original text.)