Outdating fingerprinting by many centuries, handwriting analysis (or graphology) has become one of the most respected tools that modern day criminal investigators have at their disposal. And though many people are somewhat familiar with the concept of a handwriting expert, few know anything about the history of graphology. Here are a few of the most important milestones and pioneers in this engaging and important field.
500BC Legendary Chinese philosopher Confucius warned in one of his writing to “Beware of a man whose writing sways like a reed in the wind”. This established the idea that there is a correlation between one’s handwriting and certain character traits.
1622: Camillo Baldi, an Italian doctor, first wrote down his theories on using handwriting as a tool to determine a person’s character. He did so in what would become the first book on handwriting analysis titled “How to recognize from a letter the nature and quality of a writer”.
19th Century France: Formal courses in the subject of graphology begin being taught in France as well as in Israel, North and South America, India and China.
1875: French abbot Jean Hyppolyte Michon coins the term “graphology.”
1890’s: German philosopher and graphologist, Dr. Ludwig Klages, applies gestalt theory to graphology. In the 1930’s Klages, who is regarded by many to be the father of modern graphology, publishes “Handwriting and Character.”
1938: Dr. Eric Singer opens a graphology practice where he uses handwriting analysis to help companies with recruiting and couples determine their compatibility with each other.
Late 1940s: Francis Timberly Hilliger, becomes one of the first graphologist to be recognized as an expert witness in the British Courts of Justice. In 1965 Hilliger, establishes ‘Handwriting Analysis Ltd’.
Through their research these pioneers have been able to determine that handwriting analyses can help identify:
- Methodology of the Person’s Thinking
- Type of Intelligence the writer retains
- Certain Types of Physiology
- Mental and Physical Health of the Writer
- Sexuality and Sexual Attitude of the Writer
Today, the field of graphology continues to evolve and benefit from technologies they were not available to the pioneers listed above. It has grown into a highly respected field and is recognized in most courts as an invaluable forensic tool on par with fingerprinting. Today, there are thousands of books published on the subject and as many courses taught worldwide on graphology. At Forensic Document Investigations our handwriting expert Dianne Peterson utilizes the latest technology and her expertise in providing a detailed analysis of documents, signatures, etc.