Next to a photograph of a person, a piece of handwriting provides the most intimate memento of another individual. Whether it is hurriedly scrawled as a note of self-reminder, a letter, or other document, a person’s penmanship is recognized as displaying in graphic form his innermost attitudes, intelligence, and sociability, as well as his integrity, aptitudes, and innermost tendencies.


An obscure awareness of this is no doubt a significant factor underlying the collecting of autographs of celebrated personalities. Such beliefs that handwriting reveal the writer’s personality have been shown to be warranted by accumulation of a considerable body of evidence over the last hundred years, although pioneers in graphology were building detailed methods as early as the seventeenth century in Europe.


As much of our culture has emerged from Mother Europe, so the roots of science, psychology, and graphology lie deep in the European heritage. Since its practice was first refined there, it is no surprise that handwriting analysis enjoys wide application in many European countries and is recognized officially through its broad use in education and business, in psyche-diagnosis and therapy, and as an aid in the diagnosis of certain medical conditions including speech defects, cancer, and heart disease.

In the United States, handwriting analysis is seen as somewhat less important than in Europe. This is due in part to the fact that we tend to be very demanding of rigid statistical documentation, thinking that if enough mathematical data can be manipulated by researchers that some new fact will be revealed scientifically. It has only been within the last twenty years or so that Americans are beginning to realize that there is a body of knowledge and awareness which cannot be defined through statistical operations. This rather abrupt change in our culture signals the growing importance of the entire humanistic movement in psychology and our increasing interest in the area of inner experience and self-awareness.

These have long been characteristics of oriental cultures and only recently have they been brought to the fore in the United States through various methods of meditation, the use of certain drugs, or the particularly scientific approach to increased inner-awareness, biofeedback techniques. Only in America would an approach be taken to expand awareness by fastening electrodes to our bodies and monitoring ourselves on elaborate electronic equipment. The oriental simply sits quietly and experiences himself.


What this means is that, while in other countries handwriting analysis has been accepted on an empirical basis and its methods gradually refined and verified through subsequent practice, it seems that many in America have placed the cart before the horse, scientifically, and attempt to use statistics to “prove” principles that have been known and accepted for a century before giving them any credibility whatever.


This has accounted for the retarded progress of graphology in this country, as compared to Europe, though the last several decades have shown great strides being made in the United States in both the theoretical foundation and the practical applications of handwriting analysis.

One of the most important contributors to the acknowledgment of handwriting as a significant manifestation of personality, has been the noted Harvard psychologist, Dr. Gordon W. Allport. Dr. Allport and his students approached the study of human kind from the standpoint of the individual.


They found that expressive activities are highly organized and well patterned, and that such movements convey important information about the individual’s inner character. Through his far-reaching studies of expressive movement, Allport determined that handwriting provides a means of ready access to important sources of motivation and conflict in the individual.

Children’s scribbles reveal a considerable amount of information about intellectual development, social adjustment, and their self-concepts long before they are able to draw the letters of the alphabet. The expressions of personality are found in spontaneous graphic gestures that emerge and develop quite apart from the learning of any alphabet. The natural expression of the developing graphic forms will be incorporated into the writing of words.