Children Handwriting: Advice from Handwriting Experts

The development of a children handwriting writing from a mere copying exercise to using words as a vehicle for expression is one of the most exciting aspects of childhood.

From their early efforts, erratic and faltering, through the impressionable early teens, to their adulthood, children handwriting changes. It moves from the writing of the copybook to an individual style with its own mechanical efficiency, from a conscious to a subconscious process, and charts the child’s development on the way.

Graphology can help a parent monitor a child’s intellectual and emotional development. You can spot danger signs of anxiety, and detect the common tendency for children to try out different handwriting styles before assimilating them into their own natu­ral handwriting. (just as they imitate other people’s behaviour during their impressionable years)


children handwriting

The typical stages of development in a children handwriting are outlined below. The age ranges given are approximate and all children develop in different ways, so these must be seen as broad generalisations.

They still provide valuable guidance on the development process in handwriting for children.

Age 5-7:

The child is taught to copy individual letters, and inevitably mimics the style as well as the shape of the letters in the example.

Age 8-10.

Handwriting has become more automatic and individual touches start to appear. The child is encouraged to link the letters of words together -‘joined up writing’. Once achieved, children often see this as a sign of sophistication, but in the meantime, and for quite a long period, they will carry on printing letters because the overall effect is neater.

Age 10-12.

Handwriting is now a natural process, and content occupies more of the conscious brain than the mechanics of how the writing is achieved. However neatness and legibility are commented on by parents and teachers alike, and the child will carry over an increased awareness of presentation in the writing. Simplifications start to appear (ommitting loops for example) as the hand and brain learn short cuts in forming letters.

Age 13-17

The image of handwriting increases in significance for the writer. Deliberate stylistic changes will be made, usually not being retained longer than two years. These are a symptom of the stage of experimentation and imitation of others, and (in the later teens) an urge to show more individuality.

During puberty the sudden and uncontrollable surges of emotions which children experience is reflected in bursts of heavy pressure. After this, it is common in adolescence for the children to write with a much lighter pressure for a period of up to two years. This shows a time of lack of confidence and insecurity concerning their identity. It is also quite common for a teenager to switch to backward slanted handwriting for a while. This reflects a great awareness of self-image and a wish to appear adult and sophisticated.


Adults have the luxury of opting to use a typewriter or word processor for written communication if their handwriting is difficult for others to read. Children do not, in the main, have such a choice, and the importance of legibility in their handwriting cannot be underplayed.

From their first copied line of letters, through all their school examinations, to their letters applying for jobs, the vital aspect of a child’s writing is that people can read it easily. Many teachers privately admit that poorly presented work, whatever its true quality, is likely to be marked more harshly than work which is easy to read.

A lot of pressure is applied to children with illegible writing to improve it. This applies par­ticularly to girls, who are generally expected to have neater handwriting than boys. There is no reason why this should be so, indeed the graphologist cannot tell the sex of the writer from a sample of handwriting.

It must be understood that illegible writing by children can have a variety of causes, but is most unlikely to be a result of poor writing technique: the causes will lie much deeper. Some typical reasons for illegible writing in children are listed here.

  1. Consistently very illegible writing is a sign of deep emotional problems, causing repression and anxiety.
  2. The natural stage of simplifying writing style for efficiency – a sign of high intelligence — can be over executed, creating neglected letter forms.
  3. Lack of concentration can lead to the child ‘forgetting’ to ensure their writing can be easily read. They do not have the capacity to keep their attention on the job in hand. Wildly undulating baselines are another symptom of this.
  4. Fear of failure. Children under massive pressure to succeed are under stress, and illegible writing can be a defensive measure to protect the child from blame for poor content in their work — it creates an excuse for bad marks.

Understandably, parents become very concerned if their child’s writing is unreadable. One initial practi­cal step is to equip the child with a fibre tip pen. These flow more easily across the page and are a smoother writing implement.

However, it is likely there is a subconscious reason for the lack of expression the child is showing through illegible writing. Parents should consider whether the child is unhappy in some way, or perhaps simply bored with what they are doing. Never force a child to change their handwriting style in a bid for greater legibility. You will be storing up problems for the future, by repressing some aspect of the child’s character.


No-one likes to think of their child as suffering from anxiety, but children do go through stages of stress, as the body changes, as emotions develop, during exams, etc. The signs of anxiety listed here should cause concern only if they last for an extended period.

  • Rigid, restrained writing, with a significant lack of curves. Shows tension, and can indicate a deliberate holding back, perhaps refusing to live up to the expectations of parents.
  • Repeated heavy amendments. Show great sen­sitivity to criticism and a fear of failure.
  • Reversing letters. The mark of poor concentra­tion, possibly caused by anxiety. Can also be a symptom of dyslexia.
  • Narrowing of letter widths. Anxiety.
  • Extra large handwriting during the years of puberty. The writing is compensating for feelings of inferiority.
  • Columning of words, when the writing reads as usual across the page but words are carefully placed in line with words above them on the page. This shows a fear of authority and an attempt to meet the demands of conformity.
  • Again, whenever these traits are apparent for long periods, look for the underlying cause: do not cure the symptom, look for the hidden problem.


These apparently contradictory actions are signs of character development, and are very easy to spot. Simplification involves the dropping of parts of letter forms without compromising readability, to achieve rapid, efficient and often elegant writing. This is a sign of intelligence and is particularly significant if it appears before the age of nine in handwriting of children.

Another sign of early intelligence is upright, unslanted writing, which indicates an old head on young shoulders. Embellishment is the addition of flourishes to the writing in an attempt to give it a unique and distinctive image. It shows a wish to be recognised and appreciated, and a step away from the conformity of the copybook style to something with more individualism. The embellishments will be dropped or adapted to form part of the writer’s adult handwriting style.


About a fifth of all people are left handed. Some of them experience difficulty in writing because the act of pushing a pen across the page – as opposed to the pulling motion used by the right handed writer causes them problems.

The left hander has to adapt and hold the pen in a different way to write across the page, and some end up with a very contorted pose in their efforts to achieve this. Provided this does not cause physical pain or affect the handwriting , it does not matter how the left hander solves the problem.

Some sensible suggestions include placing the writing paper slightly to the left, to give the arm more room to move in to; and ensuring that the pen or pencil is gripped at least 3 cm from the tip, so that words already written are not smudged or concealed by the moving hand.

Using this sensible advice, the left handed writer should suffer no disadvantage in how they write — you cannot spot them from their handwriting style. As is now well known, the worst thing you can do is force them to hold the pen in their right hand, because this repression inflicts deep pyschological suffering.

A general point when examining the children handwriting is that, in the end, content is much more important than appearance. A happy, imaginative, confident child may have writing that is difficult to read, but if the mind develops well they will learn in time the value of expressing themselves in the written word.

It is relatively easy, by careful training or by switching to another writing format such as a typewriter, to get legible words onto a page. Children handwriting should be judged by what these words express rather than how they are applied to a sheet of paper. So even if your child has wildly illegible handwriting, provided you are sure that this is not cause by lurking emotional or mental trauma, do keep the ‘problem’ in proportion. Where graphology can help is in identifying possible hidden unhappiness and, hopefully, monitoring its demise.


To learn graphology visit the official website of Handwriting Analysts International

To get professional guidance on the handwriting of children contact us by leaving your comments below.

A Brief History of Handwriting

Writing is a strange and wondrous thing. And it has a long history. People have been using written symbols for over six thousand years. This probably started in the area of Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia.

history of writingA bison drawn on the rock wall of a cave in Spain. The artist was a prehistoric human.  Scientists don’t agree on what to call cave drawings— art, hunting magic, or writing.






In the ancient societies, writing was a holy thing. After all, it was a way of changing the sounds of speech into visible forms. That sounds like magic, so the ancient peoples thought that writing must have been invented by the gods. Add to this the fact that the priests were usually the only ones who could do it, and writing got a big reputation.

The Egyptians used picture writing inside their tombs and called it “the speech of the gods.” The Greeks called the Egyptian letters hieroglyphics, or “sacred carvings.”

These hieroglyphics were magic to the Egyptians. The marks were not just pictures, they were the thing itself. For example, suppose that a hieroglyph for a bird had to be used in a tomb. What if the bird ate the store of grain that was being left for the dead person to use in the after world? More than that, what if the bird ate the dead body? The Egyptians thought that this was possible, so they figured out a way of preventing it. Sometimes they used an incomplete drawing of the bird. At other times they might draw the bird in two separate halves. In this way, they believed, the whole animal could not appear.


In northern Europe during the early centuries of the Christian era, there were magic letters called runes. This term came from a word meaning “mystery,” or “secret.” The modern German word raunen, for example, means “to whisper.” Runes were used inside a tomb to keep evil spirits away from the body or to prevent the body from leaving the burial place. This is another example of the belief that writing is powerful.

Here is a quote from an early Swedish gravestone, written in runes: “This is the meaning of the runes; I hid here magic runes undisturbed by evil witchcraft. He who destroys this monument shall die in misery by magic art.”

Runes were used on weapons, too. One warrior named his sword “Marr,” and wrote on it, “May Marr spare nobody.” Runes were said to be able to bring the dead back to life.

Runes carved on a stone in Gripsholm, Sweden.

history of writing

 `An old legend says that Odin, the chief god of the Germanic peoples of northern Europe, wanted to learn the mysteries of the runes. To do this he had to hang for nine days and nights with a spear sticking through his body into Yggdrasil, the tree of life. When his torture was over, he seized the runes, saying:

I peered downwards,
I took up the runes,
Screaming, I took them—
Then I fell back.

When northern Europe became Christian, the early priests outlawed the writing of runes. There was too much of a connection between these markings and pagan religions and magic. In Iceland, as late as the seventeenth century, people were burned at the stake if they were caught with some runes.

In a way, writing goes back further than just to the ancient tribes of the Middle East. Drawings dating back to 20,000 B.C. have been found on the walls of caves. Not only were there pictures of animals and humans, but there were also geometric shapes and patterns. They are thought to have religious and magical significance.

brief history of writing

The pharaoh Akhenaton and Queen Nefertiti of Egypt making an offering to the sun god, Aton. The symbols in columns above their heads are hieroglyphics.

So writing, as we know it, seems to have come through three main stages. The first was the pictograph type of writing – If you wanted to write the word “sun,” you drew a picture of the sun like this:


Want to write “star”? Just draw


The second type of writing was the ideograph. Take the picture for the sun in the last paragraph. In ideographic writing, the drawing means not only the sun but also some of its characteristics. “Light,” “heat,” “brightness,” and “day” are examples of these new meanings. The picture of the star may also refer to heaven, or even God.

Ideographic writing is complicated. When you see a picture of the sun, how do you know whether it means “day” or “hot”? The drawing can have several different meanings. And then there is the problem of abstractions. How would you draw a picture of the words “truth” or “justice”?

The answer, of course, is the phonetic type of writing, such as we use now. Here we have symbols that stand for sounds, not things. We have twenty-six symbols in English—called the alphabet. Other Western languages have about the same number, give or take a few.

Many scholars think that all of the alphabets of the world are descendants of one original alphabet. This first alphabet was probably invented in either Syria or Palestine sometime between 1750 and 1500 B.C.


We no longer think that writing is a magic thing, but there are many people who think that handwriting can communicate much more than ideas. It can tell us, in detail about the personality of the writer, his or her physical and mental state, and about the subject’s career aptitudes. The technique of reading these things from handwriting is called graphology.

Graphology probably started about 1000 B.C. in China and Japan. We know that one of the most famous early believers was the Greek philosopher Aristotle. He once wrote that he could “define the soul of people by their way of writing.”

During the Middle Ages, Catholic monks practiced the art. Later, Shakespeare wrote: “Give me the handwriting of a woman, and I will tell you her character.” That’s not as easy to do today, as will be explained later.

The first known book on graphology was published in Florence, Italy, in 1622. The author was Camillo (or Camilio) Baldi, and the title of the book was De signis ex epistolis (rough translation: “The Meaning of Letters”). It had a subtitle: “Treating of How a Written Message May Reveal the Nature of Qualities of the Writer.” Baldi was a professor of medicine, philosophy, and logic at the University of Bologna. He traveled around from castle to castle analyzing the writing of the lords and ladies.

Serious study in graphology has started from the middle of the nineteenth century. It was then that Abbe Jean-Hippolyte Michon, a Frenchman, developed a set of handwriting signs. After that intensive research has been done by graphologists across the world to establish scientific basis for their findings.


Today, the truly professional analyst is called a Certified Handwriting Analyst. He or she can get certified by the Handwriting Analysts International(H.A.I) after the training which takes 2 to 3 years. Most of the graphologists are used by business and industry as consultants.

Obviously, one of the regrets that the society has is that there are hundreds of thousands of people who claim to be experts in graphology. They give the properly trained graphologist a bad name.

Now you have a brief summary of the state of graphology —past and present. If you wish to learn graphology visit the official website of Handwriting Analysts International (H.A.I) –



Why Handwriting Analysis Tests are used in Selection

Employers hire for job skills, and fire for personality faults”

A handwriting test can help you avoid these problems

Validity of Handwriting Analysis Test:

The U.S. Supreme Court considers handwriting a public document, and has declined to attach the privacy tag to it. More-over there is no law in India, which bars handwriting analysis test. Therefore handwriting can be analyzed without the author’s consent express or implied.

Although personality test from handwriting is relatively new to Corporate India. Globally more than 5,000 companies are already using applicant’s handwriting as a medium of test in their hiring procedures. Additionally, on September 03, 1985 The front page of the Wall Street Journal reported that 80% of corporations in Countries such as France, Israel and Germany employ handwriting analyst in their employment decisions.

Just look at this, 54% of all resumes are falsified, particularly in respect of previous earnings, education & experience they are often not prepared by the applicants; therefore, quality is not reflective of applicant also. Resumes also do not demonstrate the attitude, approach, performance or personality of applicant.

Importance of Personality Tests:

A 16-year study by psychologist Herb Greenberg tried to recover the most important factor in job success?” After gathering data from more than 7,000 companies and 350,000 employees, the study determined that, “Personality is the single most important factor in job success – not education, not experience, not age, gender, race.” Other reports have revealed that ” Employers hire for job skills, and fire for personality faults.

Why a HANDWRITING PERSONALITY TEST is the right choice for HR managers:

handwriting analysis test for team work assessmentIdentify prospective embezzlers and frauds: They always said prevention is better then cure

Improve teamwork & work environment: Large Companies send their employees on vacations to increase the feeling of togetherness and develop team spirit. We try and do the same through handwriting analysis letting the best possible combination of people be in the team.

  • Gain insight before promoting or transferring employees
  • Profile efficient & inefficient poor staff;
  • Retrenchment – Locate the best talent to retain with an effective handwriting test
  • Troublemaker – a handwriting analyst can help you Identify the ones giving out trade secrets raising anti company positions or are most likely to raise the Red flag in terms of go slow, strikes, etc.

Gain Deep Insights During Investigations with a Handwriting Analysis Test

handwriting analysis testProfile prospective business partners and customers before hand and enjoy the advantage of knowing their character nature approach and attitude during negotiations. Try and avoid people who are more likely to back stab you or turn hostile

  • Anonymous letters (understand the nature, character and try to identify the person who could have written such letters)
  • Threatening letters; in-depth understanding of the personality of author (kidnap notes/poison pen, Suicide notes)
  • Profile suspects personality and character without their knowledge (improved interrogation techniques)
  • Gain insight & Understand troubled family members
  • Jury selection (eliminate unsuitable juror candidates)
  • Profile the uncooperative by submitting their handwriting to a handwriting analyst (best method for those who refuse to take psychological tests)

As a policy, collect and preserve handwriting samples of ALL employees and job applicants (for use presently or in the future). Personality test from their handwriting can be produced on employees when the need arises, such as: during an investigation, or to understand why an employee who later leaves the company was so successful or unsuccessful, or to understand why an employees performance has improved or declined over time by comparing earlier handwriting samples to current ones. A handwriting analyst can profile excellent & poor employees and use them in screening future job applications with the created success models. Handwriting analysis test is the best personality test for longitudinal studies.

BACKGROUND CHECKS: In case of the applicant’s first employment there is no scope for background checks. Handwriting analysis test provides a useful check in this regard.

CONSUMER CREDIT CHECKS: It is an Invasive, non job-related work function and the problem of dealing with Incomplete and incorrect information is not uncommon


Most of our self-reporting personality tests are not comprehensively designed as they relate to specific work functions.

For e.g. A persons applying for a job as a Financial Controller will have questions relating to Finance.There is no avenue of knowing his mental make up during a period of Financial Crunch? In other words will he be able to manage the creditors and recover money from the customers?

  • Test taker could lie or misrepresent himself about his personality
  • The examinee’s sense of understanding about the questions could be different from what was asked to him?
  • All examinee’s do not take personality tests very seriously most of them treat it as a formality?
  • Does not evaluate one’s actual personality, just their reactions to questions
  • Requires their cooperation, honesty and self-awareness


handwriting testInterviewing is a generalized method of drawing specific conclusions. A person, who does not dress himself well regularly, is very non-compromising and inflexible might turn up well dressed and cordial. This 30-minute evaluation is based on the presumption that first impression is the last impression but it does not happen that way really. It is very difficult to summarize a lifestyle of character and personality in these 30 minutes of subjective discussion

  • Anxiety and Modesty does not let the applicant perform well during interviews. Their answers are also prone to subjective interpretations.
  • Screening Interviews are time consuming as you interview both poor applicants as well as good ones.
  • Decorative aspects of the personality influence people like a warm handshake, a smiling face, well dressed personality and so on. It is such a myth as outside the interview room this person could be an active volcano and not the cool sea breeze that he appears to be inside.

Let us consider the following example:

Ram: Ram is a dark skinned middle-aged gentleman with bushy eyebrows and sharp eyes without a post graduate degree.

Sunita: Sunita is 26, beautiful, attractive carries a postgraduate masters and has been planted by a rival Company to get insights about your business

Sunita will invariably qualify for the job while Ram will be shown the no-vacancy Board as there is no way of finding out aspects about employee honesty and integrity apart from a handwriting test. The appointment of Sunita could be the turning (downward) point of your Company.

  • You can profile out-of-town applicants before asking them to come over
  • Discover applicants strengths & weaknesses before interviewing
  • Profile vendors (therapist, baby-sitter, landscapers, roommates, accountant, attorney)

Always insist for a handwritten resume and a paragraph on a blank unlined paper followed by a signature. It is really that simple and easy.

You can contact us after going through the range of services we provide in handwriting analysis tests. Look at the benefits that we offer. We shall discuss the fee structure with you over phone after going through your requirements. Consultations are included.

Pre-Interview Sort: (normally requires 10 minimum per order): Designed to pinpoint which job applicants are worth interviewing, and which are not; this saves you a lot of time. This fast and easy process gives you the advantage of being able to quickly identify and hire the best applicants before your competitors. Applicants are sorted into one of four groups: very good, acceptable, questionable poor. This handwriting test is Ideal for high volume screening when you don’t have time to interview everyone, but can’t afford to overlook good people. Self-explanatory results.

Risk Assessment: Designed to evaluate applicants considered for cash, safety or security sensitive jobs. Profile measures four key areas: Emotional Stability, Honesty, and Judgment Quality & Substance Abuse Risk. Self-explanatory results.

Basic Profile: A unique intermediate level pre-employment handwriting test where we customize the profile to the specific job. Designed for career guidance, job matching and team-building.

Handwriting analysis tests are designed for applicant screening (and interviewing tool), self-improvement, employee assessments, team building, career guidance, compatibility assessments (corporate or personal), and any type of behavioral investigation. Many companies use this personality test during job screening process, then provide new hire with copy as a tool for self-improvement. Recommended on any important job post and on all final job candidates. Consultations are included.

To hire a certified handwriting analyst for conducting personality tests visit

Career Development In Handwriting Analysis

 Graphology can give you an extra, and very useful tool in many different professions; you can also use it to go into business for yourself.

These are some of the ways professional graphologists earn a living.

1. Consultant Services

A. Aptitude analysis can be offered to major businesses as an accurate means of evaluating the abilities and attitudes of prospective employees. It can be used for both executive recruitment and general employee screening.

The aptitude analysis can also be offered to employment agencies, schools or counseling services which provide vocational guidance, as an added means of testing people who are looking for what kind of work they should do.

Beyond the fact that a complete analysis reveals not only potentials preferences—and therefore indicates what kind of work environment the individual needs to function best—it has an additional advantage as a tool for vocational placement.  The analysis does NOT reveal sex, race, or age; and makes it, without question, an equal-opportunity employment tool.

B. Social services in general can make use of the General Personality Analysis report or other forms of attitude and personality analyses. Schools may need assistance in evaluating and helping problem students.  Graphology is also a useful guide in working with the emotionally disturbed, both children and adults.

C. Legal services are also an option. It is possible for you to learn to authenticate any handwriting on questionable document such as checks, wills, extortion letters, etc.  Comparison analysis can tell you, and your client, whether or not the person who is supposed to have written something did in fact write it, or whether the signature or document is likely to be a forgery. A qualified graphologist can also be called in by police departments to perform character analyses on samples of handwriting found at crime scenes or written by possible criminals. An analysis of the personality and potential behavior patterns of a kidnapper, for example, could be of great value to local authorities or the FBI.

Doing this type of analysis could make you an expert witness in a court of law, so it is essential that you be extremely accurate. Again, stick to analyzing just the handwriting. Even if you eventually become very experienced in this field of work, let the authorities deal with analyzing the paper, ink and other material evidence.

D. Marriage counseling, dating services, and, as we mentioned, compatibility analyses for prospective business partners or even roommates, are also excellent opportunities for the graphologist. If you are interested in this type of field, you should either have psychological training or be working with someone who does. Listing the traits you find and interpreting what they could mean to the people involved are two different skills!

E. A newspaper column can also give you an opportunity to use your new skill. For this, you would have to become adept at using the mini-analysis to answer specific questions. You would also have to make certain that your readers know what kinds of questions you can’t answer, as well as what kind of samples you need.  But there are and have been successful advice columns which use handwriting analysis as the basis for solving reader’s problems.  If writing as well as graphology is one of your abilities, there’s no reason why your byline can’t be on one of them.

2. Teaching

You can offer to teach this skill in the regular school system supervisors of evening classes for adult or continuing education may be interested in adding graphology to their program, and so may colleges or universities.

It is also possible to start your own classes or instruct individual students for a fee. A good format for independent classes is from 12 to 20 hours of instruction in equal sessions over six to eight weeks.  After completing the Graduate Course in Handwriting Analysis, you can use the kit of teaching materials developed by H.A.I as a means of organizing your lessons. You can offer to teach in your own home or office, or make arrangements with local social service organizations, such as church or community groups, for lecture hall space. You’ll find that teaching graphology makes you a better graphologist; explaining it to someone else reinforces your own skills and understanding of this complex art-science.

3. Going Public

Everybody likes to hear about himself, and everybody’s got problems. Handwriting analysis can be done through the mail, thus offering not only a comprehensive character and personality portrait but also absolute privacy; and for many people, the fact that they don’t have to meet a counselor face to face could definitely be an added attraction.

It’s also possible to “perform”; to lecture or give demonstrations at various social functions. You’ll find the mini-analysis a useful tool for this type of situation; and many local organizations do look for guest speakers and interesting topics as a way of attracting people to their planned events.

What you choose to do will depend on your background, personality, and special interests, of course; and whether you use graphology as a tool or as a toy will depend on how well you learn it and how interested you are in making use of what you learned. But there are self-employment possibilities for qualified graphologists in many different fields, and job openings in businesses, government services, or private institutions—many more than we have mentioned here. If you learn this discipline thoroughly and use it accurately, your expertise can open doors to an almost limitless variety of employment opportunities.

The Handwriting Analysts International offers an advanced handwriting analysis course that will provide you with a professional qualification in graphology. When you have successfully completed the course of study, you will receive the official certification which will entitle you to practice as a professional handwriting analyst.

This course is distinctive in that it incorporates the principles of both Trait Stroke and Gestalt schools of thought. By combining the two schools within this course, you will gain a richer and more detailed awareness of how to create the portrait of the writer.

As a student you do not need to have any previous qualifications before you start on this voyage of discovery.

Handwriting Analysis in Human Resource Selection

General Electric, U.S. Steel, and over 3,000 other companies in the United States have adopted handwriting analysis as a valuable personality assessment tool. 80% of European corporations use handwriting analysis in their hiring and placement practices.

Why is modern business turning to this old science?

  • Matchmaking

Human resource professionals find handwriting analysis helps avoid the ‘square-peg’ syndrome-mismatching a new hire, promotion, or transfer to a job-thus saving the organization thousands of dollars in training and orientation.

The “Dress for Success” power suit, firm handshake, and impressive curriculum vitae may make a great first impression, but the trained eye of the professional handwriting analyst will discern those argumentative p’s and wimpy y’s that tell the real story.

  • The fink in the ink

Handwriting analysis has been recognized and used throughout history.

Thomas Gainsborough, the great English artist, kept a sample of his subject’s handwriting beside him while doing a portrait because he felt that the writing helped him to translate and capture on his canvas the essence of the personality. Many of today’s Fortune 500 companies feel the same way.

Your handwriting is as individual, as unique, as integral to your true self as are your fingerprints. With every stroke of the pen, your thoughts and emotions are transmitted through your nervous system in to the movements of your hand and fingers. Each time you commit words to paper in your own inimitable style, you declare your character and personality traits, your talents and abilities, even your current mood.

Of course, everyone’s handwriting changes from time to time, often several times throughout the day. However, generally just the slant changes-the stroke structures themselves remain fairly constant.

  • Assessment tool

Handwriting analysis offers a way to look beneath the surface to identify the individual’s personality traits and aptitudes, and determine whether they fit the job.

For example, an energetic, dynamic personality may mask a weak-minded undisciplined individual who has difficulty with problem-solving. On the other hand, handwriting analysis may reveal a “diamond in the rough”:an employee who on the surface may seem only average, but whose handwriting indicates otherwise undetected exceptional talents in specific areas.

In Europe, the science has so grown that if someone’s writing demonstrates an abundance of negative traits-such as weak will, lack of self-confidence, and resentment-that can be enough to halt o delay that person’s career.

In North America, the science is still relatively new. The few practitioners here work largely for the courts (criminal investigations,fraud, etc.), or for career counseling & placement agencies.

Many companies employ handwriting analysis to handle all the initial screening, based on handwritten letters submitted by the applicant.Others use it at the second screen stage, after selecting the best-qualified applicants.

Minding your Ps and Qs

Personality is complex. You can’t judge a person from just one letter or one word. You need to see it in the context of a larger representative sample, with several combination and repetitions of letters.

Usually, an analyst looks at about 100 strokes – a paragraph or preferably a page of normal handwriting – to assess your character traits. A signature alone is an insufficient sample for three reasons:

• Because people have to sign their name so so often, signatures take on a stylized form that may be quite different from one’s regular handwriting.

• The spelling of your name may only cover a narrow span of the alphabet, and convey just a partial picture of your personality.

• Much like stage fright or photo shyness, people need to write a while before they ‘loosen up’ and begin to be more themselves on paper.

Here are a few examples of what handwriting can reveal:

• Consider the letter ‘t’: Is the ‘t’ bar situated mid-way, high or low on the ‘t’ stem? The higher the bar is on the stem, the higher the person’s goals, and the more he or she will want to stretch his or her talents and abilities.

However, when other strokes such as lower loops (or non-loops) and other traits are seen and compared, that may alter or focus the perception of the individual’s competence, for example, with respect to willpower,the ability to accept challenge, self-discipline, and energy.

• Check the downstrokes of the ‘g’ and ‘y’ letters. Are they curved or straight? If they are straight you know the individual will finish what he or she starts and will have the determination to see a task through to completion.

• Is the writing slanted to the right, to the left, or is it vertical?Asa general rule, the more right-slanted, the more outwardly expressive of emotions the individual will be. You may want to review the qualifications and tasks this potential employee is to perform, and how people-oriented the position is going to be.

• Are the ‘I’ dots close to the stem, or far away? The closer the dots is to the ‘I’ stem, the more detail-oriented the person will be.

• Are there loops in the ‘d’ and ‘t’ stems? If so, check for frequency and width of loops. The wider the loops, the more sensitive to criticism this candidate will be.

A good handwriting analyst must take a multitude of factors into account to provide a thorough, balanced picture-everything from the measurement and evaluation of the upstrokes in the writing, to the way the writer utilizes “white space”. Isolating individual traits is not enough. All traits must be considered and evaluated in relationship to one another to form a coherent personality profile.

Although various psychological testing methods have proven useful in avoiding the ‘square-peg’ syndrome, handwriting analysis is becoming evermore widely accepted as a precision tool that can augment or sometimes even replace more cumbersome and costly methods.

The Three Powerful Branches of Handwriting

callligraphy, graphology, graphotherapy

The three powerful branches of handwriting you should know about are:

I. Calligraphy

II. Graphology/ Handwriting Analysis

III. Grapho – Therapy

I. Calligraphy:

It’s an art of producing beautiful handwriting. To impress yourself and others especially, the teacher you need to write beautifully.  Calligraphy deals with the formation of lettering and the various facts pertaining to improvement of handwriting.  It also deals with the artistic / decorative lettering used in designing the posters, invitation cards etc., You can develop various kinds of artistic lettering (Fonts) through the study of calligraphy.

II. Graphology/ Handwriting Analysis:

It is the science of handwriting analysis. It helps in analysing the mindset and attitude of an individual based on his/her handwriting sample. ‘Handwriting is actually Brain Writing’ Say world renowned Graphologists.  Our subconscious mind stores and then generates all the letters, formations, connections of our handwriting.  Your handwriting is one of your unique features like your personality, voice and finger prints etc.,

From your handwriting alone a graphologist (handwriting analyst) can make out your qualities like… intuition, memory, indecisiveness, intelligence, versatility, temper, discipline, self-respect, mental balance, concentration, flexibility, social behavior, logical thinking, self-control, ego, expression, material desires, sensitivity, nervousness, critical ability, will power, excitement, talkativeness, secretiveness etc., besides assessing whether you are an extrovert or an introvert.

Graphology is used as a tool to analyze the personality of candidates at various interviews both in India and abroad. Graphology is also used in the Police Department to determine whether a particular person has committed a particular offense.

World over graphology has got its application areas such as: Education, Medicine, Psychology, Social Work, Business, Crime solving and personal uses.

III. Grapho – Therapy:

It is a behavioral modification tool which modifies and modulates your personality. Your personality can be improved by making some changes in the letters, like slants, shapes, sizes, pressure of your handwriting. In a nutshell Graphotherapy is nothing but “CHANGE YOUR HANDWRITING, CHANGE YOUR MINDSET”

In this non-medical therapy exercises are given to the brain, while ‘graphology’ analyses the personality based on handwriting.  Graphotherapy addresses the problems of personality through modification of handwriting.  By changing the strokes or size or shape of a letter, from the finger nerves to the subconscious mind reverse mechanism takes place thereby resulting in change of behavior and mindset.

Graphology and Graphotherapy are purely scientific which are developed by psychologists and handwriting experts.  A handwriting specialist or the teacher who teaches handwriting must have knowledge about Graphology and Graphotherapy as they can make the handwriting ‘SCIENTIFIC’.

Your handwriting is the written externalization of
the vibrant activity going on inside you !


If you would like to pursue a professional handwriting analysis coursevisit the official website of Handwriting Analysts International.

Handwriting Analysis for Successful Relationships

The Psychology of Compatibility: 

You may meet someone at a party, social, dance, church, singles bar, perhaps through family, friends or business contacts or even through a dating service or “personal” ad.  At first impression you like the way the other person looks, talks, walks, dresses, dances, etc. Perhaps it’s sex appeal.  He appears to be a”nice guy”.  She seems interested in everything you have to say.Soon there is a feeling of “chemistry”, infatuation and sexuality.  You think you have finally at last met the right one. You are sure this is the beginning of a long-lasting, beautiful relationship—one that could lead to wedding bells. You’re falling in love!

Is anything wrong with this? Of course not! It’s wonderful! Isn’t this what most of us look for and really want?  However, the emotional feeling you have experienced doesn’t last forever.  Longtime lovers find the relationship mellows into a less dramatic phase.  That is, after taking their blinders off, they discover each other’s true behavior and personality.  This is the real thing that sustains a relationship “for better or worse” for a long, long time.Checking into past divorces, business dealings, etc., doesn’t tell you about his emotional being.  If you’re lucky, he turns out to be kind, generous, sympathetic and social.  It’s equally possible you might find him to be indifferent,stingy, uncaring or even perverted.

Determining his behavior and personality at the very beginning of a relation-ship seems impossible.  It may take months to know his true self and often by that time irreparable damage has been done. Then what is the answer?  An ounce of prevention—handwriting analysis.  Obtain samples of his/ her handwriting at the very beginning and all during the relationship to make absolutely sure of what makes your partner tick before making a long-term commitment.  This will substantially increase your chance of success in romance. It is quick,accurate, inexpensive and unobtrusive.

Handwriting analysis is not a substitute for psychological guidance when it comes to choosing the right one.  Rather it is a simple way of getting a thumbnail sketch of the behavior and personality of another. Although it cannot predict your future, it does depict the present and a lot of past influences.

Ideally, analysis of a potential partner’s writing should occur before things get serious. In this way, there are fewer surprises and disappointments. Think of the time, energy and money you have spent in the past developing relationships only to find that your potential partner was not for you months, even years later.

Is it too late to do this if you already have a mate or are involved in a relationship?  Better late than never.  You can find and confirm present sources of conflict and proceed to resolve them for each others benefit.  Remember you can change yourself by changing your handwriting.

We change constantly (hopefully for the better) whether or not we are aware of it.  To prove this point save samples of your handwriting over the years. Keep a journal to note the changes.

A handwriting sample is like giving your psychiatrist a personality evaluation chart.In fact, many professionals now use this tool for date-matching, where undesirables can be weeded out immediately.

As you change so does your handwriting, sometimes ever so subtly. A significant, sudden writing change in one partner usually signifies out growing the other, a red flag to be sure, calling for compromise and compensation to hold the relationship together.

Even so, some will not accept the results of a handwriting analysis regardless of the truth it reveals.  Consider the case when a couple in love is told they are incompatible.  Unfortunately, because they are in love they will most likely ignore the analysis, since those in love yield to emotions rather than facts.  Does this mean that such a relationship will not succeed? Of course not! Other factors come into play as will subsequently be seen.

Contact Handwriting Analysts International today for a compatibility analysis report !

To learn handwriting analysis visit

Handwriting Analysis for Recruitment and Staff Development

Graphology Assessments

Job competence is achieved through a combination of knowledge, skills, experience, temperament, intelligence, aptitudes and personal qualities. Skills tests, aptitude assessments, career history and qualifications usually give reliable evidence of technical ability and past performance, but significant personality factors can often be overlooked or misjudged. Handwriting analysis is very useful for filling in some of these gaps and providing information not easily assessed from application forms and interviews.

Personality in the Workplace

From various surveys, it has been found around 85% of problems at work are personality-related. As many managers have unfortunately discovered from personal experience, employing the wrong person can be very costly in more ways than one. Temperament, attitude and behaviour are just as important as qualifications and technical competence but much harder to assess at a selection interview.

Company Culture

Companies, like individuals, have their own personality (or culture). This explains why people who are happy and successful in one company are unhappy doing a similar job in a different one. With an understanding of company culture, a person description and job description, handwriting analysis can provide managers with useful, focused assessments to complement other selection procedures.

Benefits of Handwriting Analysis in staff selection:

Used alongside a well structured interview, handwriting analysis provides a cost-effective aid to recruiting the right person for the job:

  1. It does not involve testing or complicated questionnaires and for candidates is non-threatening and non-intrusive.
  2. It is objective – based entirely on handwriting. Therefore judgements are not influenced or prejudiced by physical factors such as appearance, age, sex, race, colour etc.
  3. It can identify inner conflicts and tension concealed below the surface.
  4. It can assess attitude to authority and other important factors that can affect relationships and harmony in the workplace.
  5. It is cost-effective and easy to administer, involving no additional time, effort or paperwork.
  6. It aids efficiency by helping managers select the best people and place them where their skills and personal qualities can be fully utilised and developed.

For more information about using handwriting analysis for staff selection, placement and development contact Handwriting Analysts International –

Graphology in Career Guidance

When making significant career decisions, it is important to recognise a few key characteristics about ourselves so that we make choices that are well suited to us. It is helpful to clearly understand what we are interested in, what our strengths and abilities are and what our personality type is. Having self-awareness about these attributes will help us to choose a career that will bring a sense of satisfaction.
There are now many assessment tools on the market. One type of testing that is becoming increasingly popular is personality assessment. Personality tests are effective tools to employers for screening out candidates with undesirable characteristics, such as those with a bad attitude or poor work habits. It is also a valuable self-assessment tool for job seekers or those whose interests have changed in career directions and who is planning for his personal development.
Personality traits cannot be accurately determined through interviews and cognitive ability test. They need to be assessed using instruments designed to measure the different aspects of personality that are job-relevant. Two of the most well-supported and well-documented classification systems are “Big Five” and Dr. John Holland’s “Career Personality Theory”.
The Big Five is generic model with five characteristics: Openness to change, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion and Neuroticism (also known as emotional stability). Of these five traits, only Conscientiousness, Extraversion and Neuroticism have been consistently associated with job performance. Unlike “Big Five” personality tests that measure broad job performance related traits, Holland’s Career Personality Theory is best
known for matching personality types to different jobs. Holland’s Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional model is widely used for career counselling, fitting people with interests and compatibilities to over 1,300 jobs (Sarkar-Barney and Williams, 2003).
The six personality types and career categories of John Holland’s are:
  1. Realistic category includes skilled trades, technical and some service types.
  2. Investigative category includes the sciences and some technical types.
  3. Artistic category includes the creative arts, musical and literary types.
  4. Social category includes educational and social welfare types.
  5. Enterprising category includes managerial and sales types.
  6. Conventional category includes office, clerical and those working with numbers and data.
An analysis of handwriting can most accurately determine which of Holland’s six types or combination of types a person actually belongs to. It is used in conjunction with psychometric testing to create character profiles and can be the final arbiter for a job position. The following illustrations are the sample handwritings typical of each personality type:
Realistic Type—Simple and Plain Printing Style

Investigative Type—Tiny Script, Illegible and Stripped Down Letters

Artistic Type—Tiny Script, Illegible and Stripped Down Letters

Social Type—Rounded, Forward Slant and Long Ending Strokes

Enterprising Type—Large Letters, Forward Slant and Bold Appearance

Conventional Type—Meticulously Made and Carefully Constructed Letters, Consistent spacing Between Words and Lines 

For further information on learning handwriting analysis

Handwriting Analysis in Genealogical Research

Genealogy is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. 

Whileyou’ve been discovering your ancestors’ names, learning about where andwhen they lived and died, and looking at old family photos, have youever wished you could meet your forebears? Who were the people behindthe names, dates, and faces, and what were they like? Did they haveanything in common with you other than genetic makeup?

Names,dates, places, and photos give us tantalizing clues about our ancestors,but we can only guess what they were like as people. Those olddaguerreotypes make everyone look so stiff and stern, it’s hard to tellwhat kind of people they really were. Yet there is a way to meet yourancestors as people. If you are fortunate enough to have samples of yourancestors’ handwriting, you can learn about their personalities.

A History of Handwriting Analysis

Awarenessof the relationship between writing (or printing) and character isnothing new. Aristotle, Confucius, and Shakespeare all commented on therelationship between one’s character and the way one writes. Modernscientific methods have led the Library of Congress to classifyhandwriting analysis as a social science. Like medicine, it is anempirical discipline. The experience and talents of the practitionermake a big difference in the results. Just as some physicians are betterdiagnosticians, some analysts are better at discerning character.Although most practitioners use similar principles, differences in theirexperience and abilities affect their findings.

Handwriting Is Unique

Althoughsome people’s writing may look quite similar, in fact, everyone’shandwriting is unique, allowing experts to testify in court about whosewriting was really on that will. That’s because handwriting is reallybrain writing, and each of us has a unique personality. Handwriting islike an electrocardiogram of the brain that a handwriting analyst caninterpret into various personality traits and behavior patterns.

Is It Chance?

Somepeople think handwriting is simply a matter of pure habit or learning,but if that were the case, everyone trained in the same system wouldwrite in a very similar fashion.

But neither is it just randomchance that we write the way we do. Studies have shown that all of aperson’s movements, including handwriting, gait, and gestures, arerelated. There is something at the core of each of us that is reflectedin our movements, and handwriting freezes that movement so that we mayunderstand its meaning.

Businesses around the world have foundthat handwriting analysis, when done by a well-qualified analyst, isinvaluable in hiring and in personnel work. I work in a company thatspecializes in corporate handwriting analysis, and our clients, rangingfrom Fortune 500 companies to family businesses, find handwritinganalysis more helpful than psychological personality tests in personneldecision-making and team building. In France, job applications must behandwritten, and in Israel, new kibbutz members are accepted only aftertheir handwriting has been analyzed.

What Does Handwriting Reveal?

Hundredsof personality traits can be evaluated through handwriting. Traits thatsome scientists believe have at least a fifty percent genetic componentinclude aggression, anxiety, extroversion or introversion, sociability,creativity, alcoholism, impulsivity, schizophrenia, dominance,leadership ability, intelligence, and shyness.

However, there aremany things that can’t be determined from handwriting: age, gender,race, religion, financial status, values, and profession (althoughaptitudes are apparent in handwriting, people don’t always use theiraptitudes in their professional lives).

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Ofcourse, how a person learned to write affects his or her handwriting.The method of writing is called the “copybook,” after the way peoplelearned in past times to copy writing from an instructional copybook.But we all, including writing teachers, deviate from what we weretaught, even if only in subtle ways. It is precisely those subtledifferences that are the keys to analyzing handwriting.

Forexample, almost all American adults learned the Palmer or Zaner-Blosermethod of handwriting. If you did, you were taught that your upper loops(“l”s, “h”s, “k”s) should be about two-and-a-half to three times thesize of your small letters (vowels, for example).

(Palmer method)

Whatif you make your upper loops four times the height of small letters?That could indicate an interest or ability in the abstract (ideas,philosophy, religion, etc.). More precise information would depend onother factors in your writing.

Why Copybooks Are Crucial

However,what if you had discovered the fountain of youth, and had actuallylearned to write in 1847, according to the model below?

Along life would probably have made you somewhat philosophical, but ahandwriting analyst might think you even more philosophically inclinedthan you are if information about your copybook was not given. Of courseyou wouldn’t look your age, but even if you did, many handwritinganalysts would not be aware of the copybook differences and ask. That’swhy it’s important for a handwriting analyst to be aware of where andwhen a person learned to write.

From the sixteenth century untilthe nineteenth, most people learned to write from self-styled “writingmasters.” I have samples of nine copybooks from the eighteenth centuryand eleven from the nineteenth century, and that is a small sample. Evenin the late nineteenth century, writing masters remained prominent indeveloping penmanship models. Many people have heard of “Spencerian”writing, named for the American penmanship teacher Platt Rogers Spencer,who lived from 1800–1864. Quite a few of these masters developed theirown particular forms in handwriting, which they passed on to theirstudents through the copybooks they published and sold.

So when ahandwriting analyst starts to look for deviations from the “standard,”it is vital to know what that standard is. The uniformity in copybooklearning that analysts assume today was not the case before thiscentury. Although some copybooks were similar enough to contemporaryones that no special considerations need to be made, this is not usuallythe case, especially for writing learned before the end of the CivilWar.

What Analysts Examine

Apartfrom how individual letters are formed, handwriting analysts look at anenormous variety of factors. They note the pressure of the writer’shand on the pen and paper, the quality of the line of writing (sharp orpasty edges), and the rhythm or flow of writing. They measure the slantof the writing, the width of the letters, the spaces between letters,and the spaces between words and lines. The size and shape of themargins, the straightness or curvy quality of the lines of writing, andmany other factors are taken into account. Some of these factors areaffected by the copybook style, and some are not.

Furthermore,some of these characteristics are affected by the nature of the pen(quill or steel tip) and the quality of the paper. For example, theabsorbency or roughness of the paper can influence the evaluation of thepressure used and the fluidity of the writing. Contemporary analystsdon’t have to be concerned with the effects of old types of pens andpaper on the writing they analyze, so many are not aware of it. However,it can be critical in analyzing some genealogical samples.

Context Is All-Important

Thepopularization of graphology has led to magazine articles andsupermarket books reporting that if you form a letter a particular wayit means a particular thing. If you pick up a supermarket graphologybook, it may tell you that if you make your “y”s a certain way, you’resexy. That’s only one possible meaning. Good analysts never considerhandwriting features in isolation. Those “y”s could mean you’redetermined, or you like variety, or many other things, depending onother features in your writing.

Any single feature of the writingis meaningless out of context. It’s like flour in a recipe. When yousee a cake, you don’t think of flour, eggs, and sugar. Those things,taken separately, taste and feel different than they do in combination.The result in baking—and in graphology—is determined by what any singlefeature is combined with; you could get anything from a chocolate torteto papier-maché, and the equivalent in terms of personality.

Strong Flavors

Yetthere are certain aspects of handwriting that are strong influences inthemselves, and may give a noticeable flavor to personality. Forexample, which writer do you think is more likely to prefer that thingsoccur in an orderly, predictable way, to have habits and routines?

Structured examples


Which writer is more likely to give in easily?

Examples of angles and garlands


Cultural Influences

Buteven some features, such as the “strong flavors,” have to be consideredin terms of copybook learning and the cultural influences of time andplace. Did the writer develop those features because of the influence ofa unique personality, or was the writer merely adhering to conventionas best he could? In certain countries—Russia, for example—writing wasdrilled so strongly into students and conformity was so stronglyemphasized that it took quite an independent personality to show markedindividuality in handwriting (or anything else, for that matter).

Contemporaryhandwriting analysts require a “spontaneous sample.” They don’t wantwriting that is copied, but writing that occurs when the person isfocused on the content, not the form, of the writing. Handwritinganalysts don’t analyze calligraphy as handwriting. Trying to produce aparticular impression in writing, as extreme conformity does, requiresdifferent rules of analysis. It is important to recognize when thoserules are appropriate for writing from certain time periods inparticular societies.

The below figures are samples of writing from Bolivia, Germany, and United States respectively.


AnAmerican handwriting analyst might consider German writing to haveextreme deviations if the analyst was unaware that the person learned towrite in Germany before moving to the United States. (There are manyGerman copybooks from the early twentieth century, to confuse matterseven further.) The German writer might well be different from theaverage American for cultural reasons. An angular writer, with othersupporting features, would probably be a tough negotiator. Donald Trumphas incredibly angular handwriting!

    (Donald Trump’s signature)

However,an analyst couldn’t be sure if the individual was a tough negotiator ora conventional type without knowing the copybook. This is true for bothcontemporary and old handwriting.

Fortunately, there are manyindications in handwriting that do stand up across countries andcenturies. It is important that the handwriting analyst know whichfeatures can be considered individual differentiations in yourancestor’s writing; otherwise, personality traits may be attributed toyour ancestor that are really just the writing conventions of the time.

Personality and Society

Anotheraspect of culture which may be important is a knowledge of the societyin which your ancestor learned to write. One client sent me a sample ofan ancestor who had left England as a young man. The sample was a letterfrom a gold-mining camp. The man’s writing showed him to be veryindependent, quite an individualist, but not in a negative way.(Analysts can pick up indications of dishonesty, deceit, substanceabuse, and sensual overindulgence, to name just a few traits.) He lookedlike quite an entrepreneur. It was important to know that had he stayedin England, he would have appeared very different.

In theclass-conscious, conformist English society of the time, any show ofindividualism would have been regarded with horror in the social classfrom which he came. This probably would have led to indications ofstress in his handwriting, which could be misinterpreted if the analystwas ignorant of the social circumstances. Fortunately he found a perfectsetting for his abilities in the California gold rush. After receivingthe analysis, the descendant told me that he had become quiteinfluential and prosperous.

Why Age Counts

Itis important to have some idea of the age of your ancestor, as well asinformation on his or her education or profession, as this indicates howpracticed a writer he or she was likely to have been. A very polishedand fluent handwriting produced by a twelve-year-old would lead us toattribute unusual ability. The same writing by a forty-year-old wouldstill indicate a well-integrated and intelligent person, but would notbe nearly as remarkable.

George Washington learned “roundhand,” as above. Look how he changed from the copybook as he matured.

Itis important to know a writer’s age, as that influences the degree ofdifferentiation. John Quincy Adams, however, adhered closely tocopybook. He probably cared a lot about propriety and was a stickler fordoing things right.

CompareWashington’s writing with that of an ordinary citizen of the day.Washington’s looks smoother, more balanced, flowing, and coordinated.Washington had lots of writing practice, but that kind of coordinationrequires a well-integrated personality. A disturbed personality may showin an unrhythmic quality in the writing.

Samples of Washington’s handwriting


Does Your Writing Change?

Let’shope the writing on your grocery lists differs somewhat from that ofyour love letters. Your writing reflects you at the moment you wrote,and that includes your moods. Unless you are passionate aboutsupermarkets, we’d expect more emotion in the love letters. Furthermore,are you the same person today you were twenty years ago? If so, yourwriting will be essentially the same, but if you’ve changed, it will bedifferent to the degree that you’ve changed. If you are under stress,that, too, can change writing.

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address and letter


Doesone writing seem more “emotional” to you? Lincoln was much moreemotional writing the Gettysburg Address, the second sample. The line ofwriting is thicker, yet pastier, with more pressure. The letter showsmuch more control in the line of writing. Although sympathetic, it wasnot written in an emotional mood.

One client sent me a letterwritten by her ancestor to the government, the last in a series he hadwritten over a span of years, trying to rectify an injustice. The lettershowed anger and temper. Fortunately I knew the circumstances of theletter. If I had had only that letter, I would have said the author wasangry when writing, but I couldn’t have said whether he was a habituallyangry person. Even more fortunately, the client had another letterwhich had been written years before under different circumstances, whichdid not show anger or temper.

This is why it is good to havemore than one sample of writing, from a different time, for anyindividual. Handwriting is a picture of the person at the moment it waswritten, and you need to see a person in a variety of circumstances toget the full range of personality. One letter will give you a portraitof the ancestor at the moment the letter was written, and of course,many aspects of personality, such as intelligence or manual dexterity,are not much affected by mood.

Your handwriting also alters withphysical infirmities (arthritis, etc.), mood, certain medications, anddegree of inebriation, but certain basic characteristics stay the same(except with true multiple personalities). That’s why it is important toknow the circumstances under which a document was written.

Artistic License

Ifyou have artistic inclinations or simply love art, you may have anintuitive reaction to handwriting. That’s because part of handwritinganalysis relies on the unconscious symbolism in handwriting. Forexample, one of my ancestors made a heart formation in certain letters.That can indicate a need or wish for love, and it was validated by otherfeatures of his writing. His wife showed extreme reserve, pride, anddignity. This gave me a clue as to why their marriage was not happy.

Youcan use your intuitive ability in another way. Simply take a dry penand trace over the writing of your ancestors. You may get a certain“feel” as you form the same strokes of writing as your ancestor did.


Inearlier times, writing was not a universal skill. People often reliedon scribes to write letters. The rich who could write sometimes usedsecretaries. Make sure that it is your ancestor’s handwriting. One wayis to look for how congruent the signature is with the writing. (Asignature of “X” is a dead giveaway.)

Should you wish to get to know your ancestors on a personal level, here are some questions to ask your handwriting analyst:

* Are you certified by a national handwriting analysis organization?

* How long have you been certified? (Five or more years is likely to give a better result. Practice does help.)

*What information do you need to take into consideration in analyzing myancestor’s handwriting? (This should include, at minimum, yourancestor’s approximate age at the time of writing—young adult, middleaged, or elderly is sufficient, if not ideal—any physical infirmities orspecial circumstances at the time of writing, the country and timeperiod when your ancestor learned to write, and, depending on the timeperiod, information about the quality of the paper.)

* Is this sample sufficient to give an in-depth analysis? If not, what kinds of things can you tell?

*What kind of report will I receive? What kind of information will itcontain? How long will it be? Will it be a presentation folder or atyped report?

If you are lucky enough to have documentshandwritten by your ancestors, you command a resource that will enableyou to gain access to some of the most personal and significant aspectsof their personalities and to attain an unprecedented degree ofcloseness to those whose lives contributed so much to your own.

For further information on learning handwriting analysis visit

Analysis of Sigmund Freud’s Handwriting

sigmund freud - famous for his theories of unconscious mind

Freud’s handwriting may be surprising if referred to the cliche of the founder of psychoanalysis silently listening to his patient lying on the sofa and sitting behind him not to interfere anyhow with the free flowing of images and memories coming from the unconscious of the patient undergoing analysis.

Sigmund Freuds’s handwriting exhibits that he is a person of strong emotions, which have great influence on his thinking and ultimate decisions.  Feelings are likely to weigh more than cool objectivity and he is very likey to have emotional outbursts, feelings with deep highs and lows.  The hallmark of his handwriting is  the very less spacing between each word and sentence which indicates his deep interest in the involvement with people.

There is also a strong element of orignality in freud’s writing; a unique talent for creating without precedent and the ability to individualize his own expression.

n fact, his whole handwriting suggests the image of a direct, strong interpersonal interaction, based on a deep need of connecting with others (Forward Slant) through an unending search for provocations (Sharp) to elicit a response and consequently the opening up and manifestation of the Other, either a patient, a colleague or an enemy. Therefore, to be silent and let the other talk was, for him, very difficult, as Freud patently belongs to the Assault Temper: his personality is characterized by the sign Sharp fully yielding its three requirements of angularity, narrow letters and tall letters, suggesting a sharp intelligence and drive to contradiction, appearing in a noteworthy recklessness and passionate way (Rushing).

His intelligence is highly original (Methodically Uneven) and therefore capable of deeply creative intuitions also in a psychological field (Sinuous), where it is powerfully rooted. Intuition proceeds according to the sharp intelligence’s typical way, therefore “going to the truth by means of sampling, contradicting, discarding, sorting“(3) and this tortuous way of proceeding strengthens his memory because this subject assimilates results through fight (Sharp, Forward Slant).

Freud’s mind does not belong to a rational, clear-minded scientist, but to somebody feeling the power in his own intuitions and defending them in any possible way (A Angles and B Angles above average); though he does not possess the ability of net linking, therefore his intuitions remain isolated and cannot be connected in a theory.

May be somehow surprising that this bright investigator of the unhealthy human mind had himself such an unquiet personality (Sharp, Rushing), so contaminated by irrationality (dark, Off-and-on Carved I, Flourishes of Mythomania) almost to the limit of being himself overwhelmed by his drive to contradiction so strong and immediate (Sharp, Forward Slant, Rushing), by his emotionality, by his need to be always, anyway, right(A Angles, Off-and-On Carved I) to the point to exhaust his own physical resources (not to mention the others’), because his personality is always set on self-defence, as the whole world, by means of projection, reflects on him this drive to contradiction and attack he has to defend himself from, but really belongs to him.

In many ways, we can say Freud could investigate the world of irrationality because he felt its power and charm, he joined it. As his intelligence was sharp, therefore more interested in pointing out the negative side of the observed phenomena, he saw it as a destabilizing and ominous world against which we have to defend ourselves:

But in order to explore the unconscious world, somehow we have to be prepared to experience it directly, meaning actually either to allow us to live up this experience, or to live it so deeply ourselves to be utterly incapable to deny it, ; and in his unrelentingly materialistic point of view we can see his desire to bring reason and order to the human psyche and to dominate the obscure forces he felt inside himself and were to be brought to light through the strictly defined-in order to control the unconscious- therapeutic practice he had elaborated.

Handwriting Address Interpretation Software being used by the FBI

Anyone who has ever tried to decipher bad handwriting can understand why postal work­ers have a reputation for inefficiency: They read some 50 million hand addressed envelopes a day, or 10 percent of the overall mail. Sargur Srihari, however, has eliminated that frustrating and time‑consuming task once and for all.

Sargur SrihariSrihari, 52, director of the Center of Excellence for Document Analysis and Recognition (Cedar) at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Buffalo, has developed a handwriting recognition computer program capa­ble of culling useful information from illegible addresses on letters.

Similar programs, particularly the ones on tiny hand‑held computers and personal digital assistants, have been around for a while, but they have the advantage of being able to “feel” how each letter is formed on an electronic pad and to learn an individual’s hand‑writing style. Such software would be woefully inadequate in untangling the typical envelope address, in which individual characters are often illegi­ble, if not dropped entirely.

Market‑driven research was always high on Srihari’s agenda. He began work on handwriting analysis shortly after he arrived in the United States in 1970. A graduate of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, Srihari headed to Ohio State University for a Ph.D. in computer and information science.

It was during this time that he developed an interest in researching handwritten documents and commer­cializing the applications.

He wondered how people read newspapers, what captured their attention in a tabloid, or how a reporter read his handwritten notes. A deeper understanding of the process­es behind these required some sort of analytical framework. And Srihari was determined to create one.

After joining SUNY’s computer sci­ence department as a faculty member in 1978, Srihari helped found Cedar, where he put together a research team that would study handwritten documents using artificial intelligence and mechanical analysis.

En route to creating the Handwritten Address Interpretation (HWAI) software, Srihari generated six patents, authored 150 papers on text recognition and was inducted as a fellow of the prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

In 1983, the United States Postal Service (USPS) and companies such as Lockheed Martin and Siemens who are postal contractors, became inter­ested in HWAI.

 After funding the program’s devel­opment for more than 14 years, the USPS eventually ran a test deploy­ment of the HWAI software in 1999, and later installed it at 255 of its major processing centers in the country.

The HWAI software currently rec­ognizes ZIP codes correctly in rough­ly 70 percent of handwritten address­es and has achieved full address recognition in 30 percent.

The system may cut post office labor costs by as much as $150 mil­lion per year by reducing the need for human intervention in sorting hand­written letters, according to Srihari.

At that rate, one year’s savings will easily justify the USPS’s investment in Srihari’s research.

Srihari also notes that the agency had a billion‑dollar budget surplus in 1999. “We like to think that about one tenth of that billion‑dollar surplus was our contribution,” he says.

How exactly does the software function? It looks at the ZIP code on the envelope, accesses a database of possible street names within that area and then compares that information with the beginning of the handwritten street address.

For instance, if the program deci­phers from the ZIP code that the address on the letter is Camden, New Jersey, and it can read only the first four letters of the street name (CAMD), then it can look up all possi­ble street names that match and come up with Camden Court.

HWAI’s uniqueness lies in its abili­ty to consider the overall shape of the word rather than deciphering one character at a time. This has yielded significant information about cursive writing, which has drawn the interest of the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The two have expressed interest in developing computer‑assisted hand­writing analysis tools for forensic applications.

Armed with a $428,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice in Washington, D.C., Srihari and his team are modifying the HWAI soft­ware. The ultimate aim is to be able to provide foolproof analysis that can be used to support the testimony of handwriting experts in courts.

Scientific tools, such as those developed by Srihari, are considered essential for admitting handwriting evidence in U.S. courts due to a number of recent rulings, including the Jon‑Benet Ramsey case concerning expert testimony.

Though handwriting analysts may be able to solve the question of who penned a ransom note or forged a check, their testimony is not admissi­ble as evidence in criminal cases. The reason being that since they are human, they cannot claim complete objectivity.

“A human expert may put in his or her own bias unconsciously,” explains Srihari. “We have built the foundation for a handwriting analysis system that will quantify performance and increase confidence in determining a writer’s identity.”

The software basically validates individuality in writing. The idea that everyone’s handwriting is different is taken for granted. Srihari has devel­oped purely scientific criteria for that premise.

He has submitted a paper, “Individuality of Handwriting” to the Journal of Forensic Sciences. If accepted for publication, the paper will herald a new era in criminal cases, as it will form the basis for admitting expert testimony on handwriting under the so‑called Daubert guidelines set by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Srihari and his team developed the software by first collecting a database of more than 1,000 samples of hand­writing from a pool of individuals rep­resenting a microcosm of the U.S. population in terms of gender, age and ethnicity.

Multiple samples of handwriting were taken from subjects, who were asked to write the same series of sen­tences in cursive.  Instead of analyzing the sentences visually, the way a human would, Srihari explains, the researchers deconstructed each sample, extract­ing features from the writing, such as the shapes of individual characters, descenders, and the spaces between lines and words.

The researchers then ran the sam­ples through their software program. “We tested the program by asking it to determine which of two authors wrote a particular sample, based on measura­ble features,” recalls Srihari. “The pro­gram responded correctly 98 percent of the time.”

Part of the software has been devel­oped at CedarTech, a spin-off from Cedar. “Not all work that needs to be done in this area could be performed in a university setting,” Srihari notes.

 Although he believes in conducting research for its own sake ‑ that is, with­out necessarily exploiting the findings for commercial purposes ‑ Srihari feels that market‑driven research is far more satisfying because there is an ultimate goal.

“Some of the end goals are so chal­lenging that it does not trivialize the science,” he concedes.

It was to meet these challenges head on that Srihari and his wife, Rohini, also a computer scientist, co founded Cymfony, a software company specializing in information extraction technology.  Despite years of research, Srihari remains more of an educator than a scientist. He balances the day between his teaching job and what he calls “seri­ous” commercial research.

“Pattern recognition is going to become a multibillion dollar industry and its applications are innumerable,” Srihari says. “We are just beginning to tap into this industry, and this what drives me.

Discovering the Potential of the Student through Handwriting

Teaching is certainly the occupation where knowledge of  handwriting analysis is most useful.   Each year, teachers are likely to see before them a great number of specimens of handwriting of a relatively homogeneous population (age, language, penmanship, upbringing, etc). Over time, without knowing it, many teachers develop “intuitive” graphological knowledge that is primarily based on the association between academic success and general handwriting features.

With the arrival of computers the disappearance of handwriting was predicted, but experience showed that more paper than ever is used and that the act of handwriting is, and will always remain, an essential behaviour that goes well beyond simple communication.

As Vaudoiset (1999) says so well “Handwriting is the first instrument of autonomy and the relationship to others, both at the same time. It would even seem that it is the first mark of “humanitude”, the tattoo of man’s destiny. It is free in itself. It is free of charge. It is produced in abundance. It adorns the stones of all civilisations. It is newly born for me to use, the day of my birth. It stays with me until I die. It is my freedom!”

While writing, we do more than simply reproduce the copybook to represent our thoughts, our states of mind.  We leave an impression of what we, ourselves, are and nobody else. Our writing reveals our deepest hopes, our pace, our codes, our barriers and our prisons since our energy is channeled in a form and a movement which is personal for us and which expresses itself in our script. When we write, the letters that we have just written already form part of the past, those which we are in the process of writing are the realisation of the present, those right under our pen announce the future: the act of handwriting is truly the experience of the here and now, “immortalised” on paper.

To observe, decode, understand, to experience, to feel… our writing gives us, first and foremost, a whole tool of self-knowledge.   How would you describe your writing? Is it harmonious, jerky, soaring, wide, squeezed, inflated, straightened, narrow? Does it change according to your mood? What do you feel while writing: pleasure, embarrassment, obligation? Are there letters that you avoid? What do you find it hard to form, what do you consider ugly? Which handwritings do you like? Which do you hate?   While answering these questions, you will understand at which point handwriting is an intimate gesture that gives light to the darkness.

Let us now see how knowledge of the handwritten gesture can help the teacher, at whatever age his pupils might be.


The child’s drawing is a message, just like handwriting. At the same time it is a spontaneous language and a free act by which the child tells and explains everything that he cannot express in words. The scribbles and drawings contain the same symbolic features as those studied in handwriting (i.e.) pressure, movement, speed, form, dimension, use of space, etc.

The parents of young children and or playgroup leaders can only gain from a better knowledge of the symbolic language children use in their drawings. The fundamental interest of the comprehension of the symbolic system of the layout and the colours enables us to be close to the child and to be able to bring answers to the questions to him that he does not manage to express.

It is important to observe the child whilst he draws. How is the paper positioned (vertical or horizontal)? Does the child rotate the sheet? Use of space (balance between black and white)? Does he have difficulty in starting the task? Are there accelerations? Predominance of features (curved or straight)? Choice of instrument (pencil, chalk, felt-tipped pen, brush)? How does he hold the instrument? Colour preference? What is his mood when he draws? (slack, contracted, anxious, angry, merry, loquacious, patient…)  Does he give a commentary?

When drawing, the child structures his Ego, he experiments with all of life’s questions. He speaks freely and fully through such great symbols as the sun, water, the tree or the house. When he draws a person, it is first and foremost a self-representation; it says to us how he feels, how he’s getting on in his environment.

It is therefore important to warmly receive the child’s drawing, since by giving it to us, he delivers a message to us, he reveals himself to us in a gesture of love. A negligent glance or disinterest can deeply wound the child.

Knowing how to decipher this message, which is unique each time, makes it possible for us to enrich our relationship with the child and to help him to develop his potential. To read the drawing therefore makes it possible to love the child more and be involved as an educator.

Primary Education

With the first cycle of the primary education, the child finally starts to learn how to write. For a long time he has dreamt of the day when he will write messages like adults. Learning handwriting is a long process since it is a complex act which brings into play many neurological structures in addition to the muscles, bones and joints, of the hand, arm and of the shoulder. Handwriting requires a physiological maturity that children acquire gradually and can largely be dependent on age.  (see Serratrice et al 1993 where these neurologists describe in detail all facets which come into play in the production of handwriting.)

“The handwritten act is seldom mastered before 14 years of age; one notes at this age a lack of control and regularity associated with the adult, resulting from good coordination of the movements of writing and progression.” (Peugeot 1997)

In Quebec, in order to facilitate penmanship, first of all the child learns how to write in script. He learns how to recognise and reproduce simple forms, made up of juxtapositions of curved and straight features. Thus letter “a” is formed by a circle to which is added a straight line. The letter “b”, is a long stick to which is added to a half-circle and so on. It thus does not have continuity in the movement. All the features are discontinuous; the child must lift the pen each time the stroke changes.

The child’s concentration involves slowness and tension that results in a heavy and static handwriting. Clenching is related to fear, worry and aggression appear primarily in the pressure exerted on the pencil. Pressure plays a dual role: it acts both as a discharge and as a brake. While pushing deeply into the paper, the stroke is “paralysed” preventing easy progression towards the right. Moreover, handwriting script with prevalence of vertical ” sticks “, blocks the natural movement towards the other letter.

The easy progression of handwriting is only achieved when fear is overcome.   A good way of overcoming this fear is to allow movement to come into play as soon as possible. Simple exercises like those in Figure 1 can easily make the child confident by making him “feel” the ease of movement.

These exercises just as easily be done in mid-air by making strokes with the right and left arms. This “dance of the letters” which involves all the body thus becomes a moment of relaxation and pleasure in addition to allowing cursive letters to be learnt.

Figure 1. Examples of handwriting exercises allowing the release of movement, necessary for the progression of the handwriting.

It is fascinating to see at which point children (even pre school) easily and naturally integrate these ” drawings ” into their handwritings. For example, Annabelle, 5 years, spontaneously used the letters ” elle” from the first exercise in her name.

During the second cycle of the primary education, the child learns how to connect letters thus allowing a more natural progression of handwriting.   With ease the tension and the pressure diminish thereby leaving more room for movement.

Persistence from too strong a pressure involves bumpings of the curved strokes (for example in the letters: a, b, c, d, g, o, p, q, u), tremors and smudges which give a “dirty” aspect to the handwriting. This element disappears quickly, it rarely persists beyond the 8 year old except in dysgraphic children.

A defective pressure must alert the teacher as it indicates a greater vulnerability of the child. It is important however, before concluding too quickly, to check if the pen hold (too near or too far away from the point) or the instrument itself (ball point pen of small gauge, or badly sharpened pencil) are not to blame. Good pressure, neither too strong, nor too weak, is always a positive indicator for the child.

In addition to movement and pressure there is the control of size, form, spacing, slant and layout. The masterful harmonious control of these features, together, results in a flexible layout at the same time faithful to the model and of course personal to the pupil.

Self-esteem is a fundamental feature in the development of the child. Handwriting and drawing are remarkable indicators of self-esteem. To know how to decode them adequately is very useful for any teacher. Moreover, swift action to correct bad habits (pen-hold, body posture, letter shape etc) and early monitoring of problems (dysgraphia, dyslexia) can make all the difference between the pleasure and the displeasure of writing…and of living!

Secondary Education

Adolescence is marked, of course, by significant changes at both a psychological level and a physiological level.  Teachers of pupils aged 14-15 years know that this period is particularly difficult for many. The torments, both inside (crisis of identity) and outside (parent/child relationship) are frequently translated in handwriting by irregularities mainly of the slant.  Many feel themselves trapped between the unconscious desire to stay “little” and irresistible call of independence and autonomy of ” grown-ups “.

Visual Representation of “torments” by Singer (1969), with the following caption:  “Change of the slant:  oscillation of social attitude, tearing, opposition between slant, between tendencies.”

It is also the period of self-affirmation that often passes by a legitimate need for dispute and confrontation.  The curve then gives way to the angle in the layout which takes the allure of a hedgehog then.  One defies the authority by not complying with more the rules of layout (margins, spacing, subparagraphs).

The “evil being” also writes in the shape of certain letters which twist under the effect of pain.  Tensions, hesitations, over-writing, smudges are some signs revealing of the difficulties of living and of adequately expressing emotions. The personal pronoun I and the signature are personalised in search of identity.  What form do they take?  Small and stunted?  Long and frayed?  Round and plump?

The ways of thinking are solidified:  logic, reasoning, analysis, intuition, synthesis, etc and express themselves in particular by the shape, stroke quality, control, the organisation of space, dimension, etc.  Originality, creativity, curiosity all develop and express themselves by distancing handwriting from the copybook and by the addition of inventive combinations of letters or features.

The teacher who is attentive to the sudden changes of a pupil’s handwriting will have an important tool for monitoring and will thus be able to collaborate more effectively with the other professionals at the school. It is at the secondary school when handwriting “moves” the most.  In many cases, a remedial handwriting exercises, supervised by a qualified professional, can make all the difference between liking oneself through self-respect and hating oneself by self-isolation.


The handwriting of the young adult becomes stable. The graphic gesture is normally personalised, less attention is paid to the form.  One is now more able to distinguish the personal and individual characteristics of the writer. The writer’s occupational aptitudes, his strengths and vulnerabilities are recorded in the whole handwriting.

At this age, the temperaments, the syndromes and the fields of strength are usually so well in place that they are evident in the handwriting such that we can distinguish the introvert from extravert, the manual worker from the intellectual, the leader from the subordinate, the victim from the torturer, the ” flyé” from the “straight “, the doer from the planner, the cicada from the ant.

Now handwriting plays also more and more its role of instrument of communication which makes it possible to structure the thought.  The abstract thought expresses itself more freely through philosophy, mathematics, the literature, arts, etc.

It is otherwise particularly interesting to note at which point handwriting reveals the mental age of the writer and not his biological age as  the example below shows.

Large writing, left slanted, rounded with immature features.  Although it could be easily associated with a teenager, it is in fact of the handwriting of a man aged over 45 years!

As an adult, vocabulary, semantics, pauses, now deserve more detailed attention when studying the handwriting.  In addition to stroke quality and symbolism of space, the study of the choice of the words or the absence of certain letters becomes more valuable (see Vaudoiset 1999).


” Teaching handwriting is much more than simply training the writer:  its importance in teaching deserves reflection.  The effort required by handwriting, the conflict which  it opposes to the copybook, the need for its economic execution justify a revalidation of its teaching.  If handwriting expresses the personality of the writer, can’t his education have an effect in turn?  Would the effort, the discipline, required by good penmanship have no effect on the development of handwriting of the child, the adolescent, and even of the adult?

Why is handwriting a drama for so many people?  It puts to work intellectual and psychomotor mechanisms whose harmonious play should be gratifying.  It is true that for some people to write is a pleasure, whilst others may only discover it long after their penmanship ends, when personal development made handwriting the balanced synthesis of his ends:  means pleasant and personal to thus communicate a thought which s.élabore in its expression even. Without considering of atteindre, before qu.une general maturation does not allow it, such a result, it from the beginning remains possible to promote a real satisfaction, at least in the sensory plan, in the well synchronised play of the mechanisms of the writer, as a private individual in the ” relief ” which translates, with a released, ” elastic ” pressure, the flexibility and psychomotor the correct operation. ” (from Olivaux 1991)

As you can note, the field of study of the graphologist is vast. Knowledge of the genesis of handwriting up to its symbolic interpretation while passing by monitoring, remedial penmanship and the graphotherapy, there is no shortage of subjects to study! Basic concepts in graphology, albeit summaries, can thus be very useful for anyone operating in an educational setting. The basics are particularly important for teachers at all levels.

Copyright 2001 by Graziella Pettinati

Graphology in America

graphology americaMany students of handwriting analysis are not aware of the influence European thought has had on graphology in America. This article gives you information about the beginning days of handwriting analysis in America and events till the year 1961.

The beginning of graphology:

Notions of identifying handwriting indicators and their meanings were introduced in USA even before the father of graphology “Michon” coined the generic term ‘graphology’.   These early introductions seem to have been inspired by two authors in England:

  1. Byerley (1823) who wrote an essay on handwriting interpretation in an English journal
  2. Isaac D’Israeli (1824) who wrote a section in ‘Curiosities of Literature‘ also published in London.

In turn these two English authors had indirectly drawn on Lavater.  Edgar Allan Poe is known to have read the works by Byerley and D’Israeli and he wrote two articles entitled ‘Autography’ which appeared in 1836.   Robert Charles Sands (1838) wrote an article ‘Thoughts on hand-writing’ which appeared in Knicker-Bocker.  He is also known to have read Byerley’s essay.

Samuel Robert Wells was a physiognomist and his father-in-law, a Mr. Fowler, was a phrenologist; together they formed the publishing firm Fowler & Wells in New York City.   In the early 1860s, Wells compiled a book New Physiognomy that was published by the firm in 1865, 1866, 1870.   Chapter 35 is entitled ‘Graphomancy’ which was Wells’ name for his variant of handwriting interpretation. Graphomancy was largely based on Moreau (1806) which was a French translation of Lavater’s pioneering work on physiognomy from the 1770s.   Moreau’s translation also included information from Hocquart and Moreau himself.

The first correspondence course in graphology:

In the 1880s an editor of a Pennsylvania newspaper began to publish questions and answers concerning coal mining.   In 1891 he prepared a course covering this field, to be offered by the correspondence method.  Other cognate courses were soon added, and within a decade this organization grew into the International Correspondence Schools, offering about 300 courses by 1928.   Many private ventures rapidly followed the I.C.S. pattern and by 1928 there were 498 private correspondence schools in the US, enrolling annually more than a million students.  This concept was soon applied to graphology; for example Edith Macomber Hall of the N.Y. Institute of Science, Rochester, NY offered a correspondence course (1903-1904).

In 1882, Mary Hanna Booth became interested in graphology through an “amazing” analysis of her handwriting made by Rosa Baughan.    Miss Booth received face-to-face tuition from Baughan in England and had to import books on graphology from England, as there were none available in America at the time.   From 1896 Hugo von Hagen did much to interest Americans in graphology, he was a member of the Paris Graphology Society.  He founded the first American Graphological Society in Boston in 1892, but seldom did it have over 30 members, finally withering away around 1921.

Marketing of graphology in the early 1900 to the depression

As early as 1900, Miss Booth was contributing articles on graphology to various business journals, and later to periodicals such as Bookkeeper (Detroit), and Stenographer (Philadelphia).  She also had a thrice-weekly column in a Philadelphia newspaper.   When she sent her first graphological printing order to her printer, he corrected it to “geographical” thinking that she did not know how to spell, since in 1900 few Americans had heard of graphology.

There is evidence of several other people operating in the field of graphology at this time. Clifford Howard wrote a book Graphology sold under the pen-name of Simon Arke (1903) and then from 1905 onwards as Howard.  In partnership with Mills Dean he operated a correspondence school in graphology between 1903-1906.  From 1904 to 1911 Professor George E. Beauchamp in New York City advertised graphological readings and lessons.  Prentiss Bailey, editor of a respected Utica, New York newspaper resorted to the nom de plume of John Rexford to write a book about his hobby in 1905.  In 1907 Julia Seton Sears published her book Grapho-psychology and she offered analyses by post.

In 1908 Louise Rice, a newspaperwoman and freelance writer, took lessons in graphology from Miss Booth. In 1910 Miss Booth distributed a little 3-by-5 inch leaflet entitled “Signature Design”, an article which first appeared in Stenographic And Phonographic Worlds, a commercial education journal devoted to teaching shorthand in business colleges.  Her book of 72 pages followed this.

One of the most expert penmen in America, Louis H. Hausam, wrote, published and was selling a 16 page booklet on graphology, this was in circulation around 1910.

From late 1911 to early 1918 Harry H. Balkin performed a vaudeville act in theaters all over America and Canada.  On these tours he claimed to have analyzed thousands of individuals using physiognomy, phrenology, palmistry and graphology.   In 1918 he compiled his book The New Science of Analyzing Character with six pages on graphology, largely based on Howard’s book.   William Leslie French was the writer of numerous articles published in various monthly magazines and newspapers from about 1912 until 1921.  These were brought together in his 1922 book The Psychology of Handwriting.

From 1916 to 1925 DeWitt B. Lucas became the foremost promoter of graphology in America.  During World War II he worked for the Navy Department in Washington as a graphologist and immediately after the war he conducted a correspondence course in the subject.  In August 1919 Lucas began his quarterly house organ Knowing People concerned with graphology.

Introduction of graphology at university level:

June E. Downey was a full-time University Professor.  In 1920 Warwick & York published her book Graphology and the Psychology of Handwriting.  Here was an American woman of academic status who was interested enough to brave the censure of other professors, and write about graphology.   She presented her findings in an exceedingly logical manner. Also in 1920 Albert L. Smith became prominent in the subject with Applied Graphology.  A reputable textbook publisher in New York, known for good business books, published this book.  Applied Graphology was actually used as a textbook for classes in graphology at over 50 different business colleges.  In 1923 Smith set up his own graphology correspondence school in Boston.

About 1924 Louise Rice set up her correspondence school, The Rice Institute of Graphology in New York City.   Rice had a regular column in the New York Evening Telegram, which yielded thousands of requests for analyses and her students completed these analyses under her supervision, one of these students was Nadya Olyanova.   In 1925 under the name of Laura Doremus, Louise Rice published a book which sold for many years, it was called Character in Handwriting.    A year later, in 1926, Rice founded the second American Graphological Society in New York City, as an organisation to which her students and graduates (Rice Institute of Graphology) could belong, as well as other “suitable” graphologists whom she invited to join. In 1927 this A.G.S. was incorporated as a non-profit membership organisation in New York.    In 1928, Miss Booth was elected Vice-President of the American Graphological Society. She resided in Providence, R.I., at the time.   At the April 1934 meeting of the American Graphological Society, Louise Rice introduced Miss Booth to those present, stating that they had been dear friends and colleagues since 1908.

Some of Louise Rice’s former students went on to become well known in their own right.

  • Helen King
  • Nadya Olyanova (Andreiff)
  • Dorothy Sara (Chatcuff)
  • Shirley Spencer and
  • Muriel Stafford.

Milton Bunker’s Contribution to graphology in USA:

milton bunker, m n bunker, graphoanalysisFrom 1934 until 1960 Milton H. Bunker was the foremost promoter of graphology under his variant of the subject he called ‘grapho-analysis‘.  During this period it is likely that he interested more Americans and Canadians in handwriting analysis than had his predecessors combined.

Bunker firmly believed in study by correspondence, for he had taken correspondence courses from 1898 to 1927.  He had taken study courses in penmanship, shorthand, business English, typewriting, short story writing, chiropractic and naturopathy and salesmanship.

Bunker also took correspondence courses in graphology from A.J.Smith, DeWitt B. Lucas and Louise Rice.  He also had purchased sets of the Busse course and the Gubalke course.   There is evidence to show that he made a careful study of available graphological sources.  For example he studied all these graphologists and their work:  Beauchamp, Hausam, Howard, French, Smith, Saudek, Seton, Poppee, Crépieux-Jamin, Lucas, Rexford, Erlenmeyer, Goldscheider, Klages, Langenbruch, Georg Meyer, Laura Meyer, Preyer, Schneidemuhl, Schwiedland, von Hagen, Wells, Byram, Gerstner.

From 1909 Bunker began freelance writing of articles, columns and fiction, often under pen-names.   At the age of 32 years, in 1924, Bunker combined his graphological and writing skills and began a monthly column on graphology under the name of Roger Derrick.  This was the first of many pseudonyms he used for graphology.

Development of Graphoanalysis by Milton Bunker in America:

The French influence on graphology is often overlooked in America.   Around 1919 Bunker found a German translation, by Hans Busse, of Crépieux-Jamin’s work (1901).  He extracted many of the meanings of signs and incorporated them into his courses without giving credit to his source.  In Chapter 10, “die Resultaten” is on just four pages (pp.193-196), here Busse condensed Crépieux-Jamin’s discussion of resultants unmercifully, omitting much critical information.   It was from this condensation that Bunker adapted, calling it evaluation.   Schooling’s English translation of Crépieux-Jamin gave a more extensive coverage of Resultants, and although Bunker obtained the book around 1920/1921 he apparently ignored over 50 pages (pp.89-141) on resultants.

Bunker  was effectively adhering to the absolute fixed significance of graphologic signs as given by Michon.   He was ignoring Crépieux-Jamin’s advances which were stressing the relative value of graphic behaviour clues. It should be added that Bunker’s system has been criticized for this approach.   Bunker and teachers of his system have also been criticized for not citing sources.

In 1925 he became a regional sales manager for International Correspondence Schools, with duties that included visiting and interviewing applicants, training salesmen, hiring and firing.   In that same year his column included short lessons in graphology and he gave his first public lecture on graphology.   In 1926, Milton H. Bunker was a correspondence student of Louise Rice (Rice Institute of Graphology, in New York City). They became personal friends, yet also were enemies, graphologically speaking.   In 1928 Bunker gave radio broadcasts on graphology.  He ran for office of President of the American Graphological Society, roundly defeated by Louise Rice.   He smarted from the defeat and it motivated him to begin a study class in graphology by mail, to compete with Rice.

Establishment of The American Institute of Graphoanalysis by MN Bunker:

In 1929 he coined a new term for his intended variant of graphology.   He used the first part  of the word “graphology”, “graph” and added a hyphen, and added the last word of “handwriting analysis”.   In this way he coined the term grapho-analysis.   With the help of J.I.Kinman, he wrote the first course in grapho-analysis.  Bunker’s definition of grapho-analysis was “Every stroke of your handwriting has a determined value.   Each trait revealed in your writing has a relative value to another trait – and the sum total of the traits is the sum total of your personality”.

He named his school “American Institute Of Grapho-Analysis”.  This was very carefully chosen, he felt that by including the word “Institute” in the name of his correspondence school, it would enhance its image, and thus help enroll more students.   It seemed good business sense.   On the other hand, he did not want his name, Bunker, in the school’s name.  He wanted something broad and widely inclusive, to cover all of North America.   Thus he selected the word “American”.

Bunker was a promotional genius; each month, in 1929,  he was probably processing 20,000 requests for short analyses. This was possible because he had devised a check chart whereby handwritings could be assessed rapidly.

Problems for MN Bunker:

Bunker had borrowed, adapted and re-named the stroke principle of Wells (1866) and Michon (1870).  He had also taken Wells’ Valuation and some elements of Crépieux-Jamin’s theory of resultants, re-naming them Evaluation.   He also used trait descriptions of Wells, A.J.Smith, DeWitt B Lucas, Louise Rice and at least 20 other authors, lifted almost verbatim, or re-worded.    He added the claim that he had discovered well over a hundred traits reflected in strokes of handwriting.   He lifted whole portions from different authors without asking for permission and without giving credit and in some cases this led to the threat of legal action.

For example in January 1929 Bunker received a registered letter from the attorney of DeWitt B. Lucas demanding that Bunker stop using copyrighted material forthwith, or face a plagiarism suit in Federal Court.

The Depression Years for graphoanalysis in America:

A video covering the events in America at various places during the depression years

In October 1929 the stock market crash led to hardship by many people in the United States, these were the years of the depression.    The Institute of Grapho-Analysis weathered the depression as Bunker wrote articles and fiction for many magazines; the money earned went into the Institute.   As Bunker said “For some years during the depression, the Institute took in copper teakettles, bed sheets and other things from students hard hit by the deepening depression.   They couldn’t pay any money, but they wanted to study.  We got more junk in two years than you could find in a second-hand store today”.

In 1935 Bunker began issuing a house organ The Grapho-Analyst on an intermittent basis, to advertise and promote his course.   In the same year he purchased a part interest in a British correspondence school pushing courses in “applied” psychology, hoping to get his course included in their offerings to the British public.

The depression was easing a bit in 1937 and Louise Rice raised the price of her course to $75, so Bunker followed suit and raised his course to $58, still undercutting his closest competitor.   Bunker knew that his office rent, office help and supplies cost less in Kansas City than did her office and other costs in Manhattan.   This difference in costs meant that Bunker could undertake more classified advertising in more pulp magazines.  By 1938 Bunker’s course was beginning to outsell Rice’s; one reason was pricing, the other was advertising.  Louise Rice coined the term “Bunkerites” for his students and graduates, much to Bunker’s dismay.    In 1941 Bunker tried an idea whereby students could buy shares of stock.   The idea was that students would work to get new students enrolled.   However this was not a success, as Bunker said, “None of them were interested in fulfilling the obligation of the corporation”.   It did show Bunker’s enterprising nature.

Progress of Graphology around World War II

After the War competition became more intense. Refugee European Graphologists began activity in graphology in the United States between 1935 and the 1950s. Additionally several people were offering correspondence courses in handwriting analysis besides Milton Bunker.

These include

  • Walter Mann of the Psychographic Institute
  •  Asheville, NC (1945-1947)
  •  Irene Marcuse at Hampton-Marcuse Institute of Graphology in New York(1945-1953)
  • Kay Wolley at the Academy of Scriptology, California (1957-1961).

Indeed from 1947 onward some of Bunker’s own students and graduates began writing courses.

Raising complaints against graphoanalysis:

A steadily increasing number of dissatisfied students and graduates complained to various state and federal agencies about Bunker and his school. In 1948 an investigator from the Federal Trade Commission warned Bunker to immediately stop using the title   “Doctor or any initials with his name. In 1949 the Federal Trade Commission in Washington made Bunker drop the word ‘Institute’ in vending correspondence courses in grapho-analysis.   The FTC finally issued a cease-and-desist order in January 1950.

These actions against Bunker led to him re-writing his courses several times and renaming the school as IGAS inc. in May 1949.   The meaning of IGAS was International Grapho-Analysis Society.   Bunker had been advertising his activities as international, and he had noticed that other corporations engaged in publishing such as Grolier Society and the National Geographic Society had excellent reputations.   For years he had been calling his students members and this title seemed to be appropriate.

In this way Bunker could continue to advertise and sell his courses and other publications dealing with, or related to, grapho-analysis in interstate commerce via the mails.   The “membership dues” received from students or graduates could continue to go towards the annual franchise fee, paid for the right to use his trade-mark-registered words “grapho-analysis” and “grapho-analyst”.

In 1957 Bunker devised a Code of Ethics to control students and graduates to eliminate future threats and to stop current students from spending money elsewhere.  Bunker’s first criterion of loyalty was how well his students and graduates kept away from graphological books and organizations, in obedience to his teaching and warnings.

New graphology schools in America:

  • Nevertheless, one dissident set up an Experimental Study Group in New York State, preparing an experimental set of lessons.
  • Around 1957, another graduate, Charlie Cole, set up Handwriting Analysis Workshop Unlimited (HAWU) and a correspondence course in graphology.   These lessons were based on Klara Roman’s Psychogram.
  • Around 1958 another graduate K.K.Golson in California set up the Scriptology Institute Inc. (S.I.Inc) and a course called “Scriptology” with over a thousand pages and lower cost than Bunker’s course.

Bunker certainly did much to popularize handwriting analysis in America.   At the same time, he was smearing graphology in any way he could, to lessen the competition, so that he could peddle his correspondence courses in grapho-analysis.  Bunker paid for the publication of a book that he wrote under the name of David Ord.  This book attacks graphology and praises grapho-analysis, under the misleading appellation of “an objective study” (1959).  Bunker did not stop here; he wanted to create a “cult” of grapho-analysis worshippers.  He did not want any of his students to even so much as look at any book on graphology.

In 1959 Bunker’s health began to fail and he asked Peter Ferrara to take charge of IGAS; in the next year he lost voting control of IGAS to Ferrara.    Following a series of heart attacks in March Bunker died in a Phoenix hospital on 3 April 1961

Jean-Charles Gille-Maisani (1991) said this of IGAS:  “In spite of the conscientious work of several authors who use this method and the occasional interesting remarks in their productions, I have no hesitation in considering that Grapho Analysis holds back the development of graphology in the United States and Canada”.

Conclusion notes about the progress of graphology in America:

There are several overall issues that emerge from the data, and help to explain the current status of the subject in America.

The vast size of America may be the reason why correspondence tuition has enjoyed popularity for all subjects.  It was only a matter of time before the formula would be applied to graphology. Milton Bunker must take credit for designing and promoting such a course that was extremely successful in the market place. This situation has persisted to the present day and distance learning is the most popular form of teaching for handwriting interpretation.   This is in spite of the fact that some people argue that it is not the best way to teach or learn.

A second observation can be made concerning the promotion of graphology.   The pattern of marketing and sales practices for graphology in the USA has followed an identifiable pattern.   The first phase came from newspaper columns and the offer of analyses.   The evidence shows that this resulted in thousands of requests and a great interest in the subject.   This idea was then adapted to the radio and then, albeit with less impact, to the television.   Against a background of low-cost self-help paperback books flooding the market, these initiatives did much to raise awareness in the subject.   In contrast, awareness and knowledge of graphology in Europe was built by word of mouth recommendation and by face to face teaching, in many cases as one-to-one tuition.

A third observation can be made concerning the short life of graphological interest groups.  Numerous groups have been established and been dissolved after a brief period of time.   IGAS is a notable exception, although it differs in that it is not a scholarly society but a corporation.   The French Graphology Society, which has run continuously since 1871 had some interesting observations on this instability in 1953 (La Graphologie No.50 12-15).   “Our impression, based on received documents, is that graphology in America has not had a comparable development to that seen in Europe, notably in Germany, France, Switzerland, Britain.   There is no regular journal in line with our ‘Graphologie’, where theoretical and practical issues of graphology are discussed.” The article continues: “The rule of the American Graphology Society is that its president must change every two years.  We doubt that this practice would be favourable to a continuous effort”.

A strange parallel took place in most graphological groups in America.    In every case, dissension and ill feelings between members and officers caused the dissolution of each group. A “power elite” had formed in each group, seeking personal advantage at the expense of the rest of the members.    Over half of these groups had collected small graphological libraries which quietly “disappeared” into the hands of the “power elite” of each group.  Conflict of interest, combined with selfishness and self-promotion, brought about each group’s disbandment.

The trustees and curator of H.A.R.L. have drawn a moral from this. They know that there must be a large, extensive reference library in graphology in the United States, preferably non-profit, non-political, non-sectarian, self-supporting, operated on principles of freedom of intellectual inquiry and high standards of scholarship and ethics, open to all sincere inquirers equally, but never favouring any one single school of thought in graphology.

It is clear that a short article cannot fully describe the development of graphology in the United States of America. These notes are therefore intended to encourage the reader to search out more information. This description should provide researchers with avenues for further investigation.

Click here to read this article in Italiano

Click here to read this article in German

To learn handwriting analysis visit the official website

of Handwriting Analysts International –