From times immemorial (history of signatures)

Autograph and signature

The signatures have their own value and history in various cultures. In Japan, for instance, the masters often put their autographs (the so-called “seals”) on their works: such author’s items were much more valuable than the ones manufactured at plants. In Europe masters used to put their handwritten signatures on the works.

The signatures are connected with handwriting and graphology. Graphology is the study and analysis of handwriting especially in relation to human psychology. The desire to cognize a human being through his handwriting is determined historically. Graphology dates back to antiquity. Interesting historic evidence: Nero, the Roman Emperor famous for his cruelty wrote in one of his letters: “I am afraid of this man; his handwriting implies he is a betrayer”. Suetonius, the Roman historian and biographer, describing August as a greedy man, referred to his handwriting: a habit to put the letters too close to each other.

Graphology as science originated in the mid-1600’s when an Italian Professor Camilo Baldi wrote his book “How can one learn about a person’s character and personality on looking at his letters”. After the book was published, the study acquired a large following and the French abbot Flandrain applied two Greek words to describe the new study: “grapho” (to write) and “logos” (knowledge). However, the father-founder of graphology is the abbot’s student, Michon, who was the first to use the term “graphology” in his System of Graphology manuscript. Michon’s contribution to graphology is immense: he formed graphological societies; published magazines and founded the school. His approach was rather uncomplicated: he would study the separate written elements instead of complex approach. The method implied that presence of one graphological feature indicates a certain trait of character whereas its absence implies the opposite feature. His students and successors would not accept the utter method.

The most prominent of Michon’s disciple was J. Crépieux-Jamin who argued the graphological features were to be considered and studied in complex. Modern professional graphology is based on this theory.

Graphology gradually gained popularity in Europe and was introduced in Russia with Iliya Morgenstern’s Psychographology monograph in late 1800’s. In 1920's Dmitry Zuev-Insaro, the prominent expert graphologist, worked in the sphere of graphological analysis and was the author of such works as: The Structure of Handwriting and Character and Handwriting and Personality. In Stalin’s period graphology was declared “pseudo-science” and forbidden: according to the legend, it happened after Academician Bekhterev told his colleagues about the graphological analysis of Stalin’s signatures he had carried out. The test results implied the leader was mentally ill.

Nowadays graphology is very popular. Graphology is studied by the specialists of crime detection, diplomats, HP managers and many others.

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