U.S.A.

From Monique Stirling

There is much work going on in the USA to promote handwriting in schools and stressing the importance of Cursive writing. The main Schools are The American Society of Professional Graphologists; the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation and the American Association of Handwriting Analysts.

Prominent contemporary graphologists include Ruth & Sarah Holmes and Shiela Lowe and a wealth of information can be found on their web sites including application of graphology ranging from family to forensics.

Hiistorically big thanks go to Rose Matoussek, who on December 18, 1989, had graphology removed from the category of “Entertainment” in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). since handwriting analysis was utilized by companies for personnel selection, doctors, counselors, attorneys, academic administrators, etc. The definition became: “GRAPHOLOGIST (profess. & kin.) 199.267- Analyses of handwriting to appraise personal characteristics: Obtains handwriting specimen to observe overall appearance of writing and detailed formation of letters. Measures height of letters and slant of writing, using calibrated templates. Observes individual’s writing strokes to determine unique or distinguishing characteristics, using ruler and low-power magnifying glass or microscope. Evaluates handwriting sample to determine similarity to or divergence from style taught in school. Interprets findings according to theories of handwriting analysis. May use diagram to plot writing characteristics. “SOC Code: 3990 GOE Code: 02.04.01”

Rose Matoussek promoted also the change in the Dewey Decimal Classification System by the Library of Congress, so that graphology was removed on August 18, 1980 from “occult” to “psychology, document examination and personnel screening. The reasons were apparently that there is no element of future prophesy. Rather, graphology deals with the recorded evidence of a writing trail unique to each individual from which measurements and objective ratings are made

There was a move to stop the use of graphology for personnel selection in Rhode Island that was defeated. Dr. Marc Seifer led a successful fight against this attempt and testified a few times before the Rhode Island state Senators. His convincing argument was that all “personality inventory tests” are based on the same premise that a person projects his personality into all that he does. Consequently, if one bans graphology then one must also ban all forms of personality tests used by companies, such as the MMPI, Myers Briggs, etc.

In Oregon, the Labor Committee of the State Senate, supported by the Oregon State organization of labor unions AFL-CIO, intended in 1991 to change an existing 1988 law, that had outlawed the polygraph and other means for personnel screening by adding the words “…and handwriting analysis”. A volunteer committee, led by Gary Brown and Dr. Ellen Bowers, testified at the hearings. Eventually, the committee didn’t have the votes to outlaw handwriting analysis. During the next two sessions of the legislature, similar attempts to outlaw handwriting analysis were again unsuccessful. Thea Stein Lewinson, who had studied graphology in Germany in the 1930’s, worked for many years as the chief graphologist of the CIA. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the CIA was actively recruiting graphologists, also during congresses of some American graphological associations.

April 2019