Graphology references date back to the philosopher Aristotle but the first book appearing on the subject was published in 1622 in Capri, Italy by Camillo Baldi, physician, writer and professor of philosophy at the University of Bologna. By 1830 in France there was a school of the interpretation of writing, run by Abbé Flandrin who spent much of his life in the research of graphology.
It is not until Abbé Jean-Hippolyte Michon(1806-81) got to work that the ball really started rolling. For over 30 years, Michon collected thousands of examples of handwriting and signatures, and studied them in minute detail. Every single element in the handwriting he named a ‘sign’, corresponding to a character trait of the writer.
In 1871 Michon founded the Société Francais de Graphologie (“SFDG”) in Paris and in the same decade he produced two books “Les Mystères de l’Ecriture” and “La Méthode Practique de Graphologie” as well as starting to publish La Graphologie, which is published today as the quarterly journal of SFDG. A few years after Michon’s death, his pupil and successor, Jean Crépieux-Jamin (1858-1940) revised the whole of his teacher’s work, reclassified and regrouped the signs, and established new laws of classification of the signs that are still in use today. He wrote ten books on the subject, culminating in L’ABC de la Graphologie which consolidated 50 years of research and gave graphology a sound basis.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the Germans began to lead the way in graphological research. William Thierry Preyer was the first to show that handwriting is directed by the brain rather than the organ which directs the writing instrument.
Around 1900 Dr Ludwig Klages (1872-1956) formed his own school. He kept the observations of Crépieux-Jamin but introduced the positive and negative interpretation of the signs according to his concept of Form Level.
The Swiss Max Pulver (1890-1953) introduced the concept of the symbolism of space in his book “Symbolik der Handschrift” published in 1931 in Zurich. He was the first to apply psychoanalysis to graphology. Ania Teillard was a disciple of Jung’s for over 30 years and she applied his four main functions: thinking, intuition, sensation and feeling to graphology, together with the two attitudes: introvert and extrovert, the two tendencies: animus and anima and the persona. In the 1950s SDFG applied graphology to some of the most recent developments in psychological theories, for example Freud, Jung and Adler. In her book “Apprenez la Graphologie”, Madame Gabrielle Beauchataud incorporated characterology, the temperaments and Jung’s typologies.