History of Graphology

History of Graphology

For a long time, graphology has been used to interpret the personality of a person.

In 3000 BC, Sumerian merchants, for the first time, recorded their transactions in a recognizable script. In 500 BC, Confucius warned, “Beware of a man whose writing sways like a reed in the wind.” 

It was one of the earliest observations of a person’s character from his handwriting. Based on the individual writing style of certain calligraphers, Ancient Chinese philosophers made assumptions about their personalities.

This article covers the history of graphology and how it evolved to its present state.


1622 – Foundation of Modern Graphology

Italians were significant contributors in the field of graphology. It is from Italy that it gained recognition as a subject all over the world.

The first printed publication on handwriting analysis was published by an Italian doctor Camillo Baldi. In l622, Camillo Baldi wrote the first book on graphology. It was titled, “How To Judge the Nature and the Character of a Person from His Letter.” He interpreted that the writings of all writers are unique, and there is no similarity between any two samples.


18th Century

Graphology emerged as a tool to analyze handwriting in Britain in the 18th century. Gainsborough and several other graphologists have analyzed handwriting during that period. 



Abbe Flandrin and Jean Michon from Paris used the word "graphology" for the first time in 1871. The term combines two Greek words, "graph," meaning writing, and "ology," meaning study. 

Michon collected and studied thousands of handwriting samples for many years and published his system of analysis. 

He established the Graphological Society in Paris, which existed until World War II. Crepieux-Jamin, a student of Michon, emphasized studying the handwriting sample as a whole and not as a combination of individual traits. 

Rosa Baugham published ‘Character Indicated by Handwriting.’ The Strand Magazine published articles on the subject. 



The book “Character and Handwriting” by Crepieux-Jamin established the rules that make graphology a genuine science of observation based on classified knowledge.



William Peyer, a child psychologist, wrote the book “The Physiology of Writing.” It supported the theory that handwriting is brainwriting.


19th Century 

France laid the foundation for the formal study of graphology. Graphology is now taught worldwide, including in Europe, Israel, North and South America, India, and China. 


During the early 1900s, people have started using graphology for commercial purposes.

Before the second world war, eminent refugee graphologists from Europe taught in England. Some of them were Dr. Eric Singer, a pupil of Dr. Ludwig Klages, who was the father of modern graphology. 



Edgar Allan Poe published some of his analyzed handwriting samples. He used the word "autography" to explain his study. Dial Press of New York published his research work in 1926 as a book.


1930 onwards

Dr. Ludwig Klages, a well-known German philosopher and father of modern graphology published many books on graphology. ‘Handwriting and Character’ and ‘The Problem of Graphology’ are among his most famous books.

He defined the principles of graphology. Some of these principles are still used by many graphologists today. 

From the 1930s, many groups were formed to discuss the subject. 

Gordon Allport explained the basis for personality assessment and its use in handwriting. His research at Harvard Psychological Clinic in 1930 was based on the assumption that:

  • Personality is constant. 
  • Movement is an expression of personality. 
  • The expressive movements of an individual are consistent with one another. 


1949, 1950, 1953, 1954 

In England, Dr. Eric Singer published: 

  • 'Graphology and Everyman' 
  • 'The Graphologist's Alphabet'
  • 'Handwriting and Marriage'
  • ‘Personality in Handwriting'  



Klara Roman and George Staemphli prepared a chart called a graphological psychogram. After a few years, it was remodified by Daniel Anthony of New York.



Francis T. Hilliger, Dr. Eric Singer's student, established his company ‘Handwriting Analysis Ltd.’ His business covered personnel selection, tuition, and graphotherapy. He worked as an ‘expert witness’ at London’s Old Bailey. He also developed a technique to evaluate any characteristic present in a handwriting sample. His method was used for student examinations in the UK.


In 1980 the USA Library of Congress re-classified the subject of Analytical Graphology under three categories: 

  • Diagnostic Graphology
  • Documentary Evidence 
  • Personnel Selection

However, after terrific efforts by Frank Hilliger, a student of Dr. Eric Singer, the subject was accepted on a professional basis in the UK. Hilliger invited graphologists to discuss the various opportunities for handwriting analysis.

On October 9, 1983, the British Institute of Graphologists was established at the Victory Services Club in London. Around 148 graphologists took part in the event. In the same year, the first edition of The Graphologist was released.


Final Words

Slowly graphology is being accepted as a method to analyze the personality of the person through his handwriting. But the acceptance and progress of graphology in the United States are less compared to the other parts of the world. Europe has emerged as a leader in the study of graphology. Many European universities include the study of handwriting psychology as a part of their Psychology curriculum.

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