One of the most common questions we get to Flea Market H.Q. comes along the lines of How do you read the handwriting? Often times, the answer is slowly! But have you ever wondered how to actually "read" handwriting? Graphology is the:
"analysis of the physical characteristics and patterns of handwriting with attempt to identify the writer, indicate the psychological state at the time of writing, or evaluate personality characteristics". How cool is that?!
"...she analyses handwriting to reveal what it says about the person behind the writing. From just a few handwritten sentences, her work provides insight into personality, behaviour, skills, motivation, potential and compatibility"
Tracey very generously sat with some questions I emailed her in anticipation of a collaboration which has since taken on a new life -- this blog post! Thank you Tracey, again and again, for your patience and generosity of time, resources, and kindness!
Without further ado, I'll (Liz) leave you know and hand things over to Tracey who took a look at the below letter. Written by Victor Rendano, father of Ralph Rendano of our Rendano letters. We're working away on some amateur genealogy but Tracey was able to suggest suspicions which Ancestry.com confirmed that Victor was an Italian immigrant to the U.S. A whole other story for another day! Victor's son Ralph was a U.S. G.I. serving in World War II, living in Texas at the time Victor wrote this letter from their hometown of Youngstown, Ohio in 1943.
Tracey, take it away!
Let’s take a quick peek at Victor Rendano’s handwriting and see what we can uncover.
Victor was a passionately caring and dutiful family man, who took his responsibilities seriously, and kept his true emotions in check (marked right slant, large UZ, regular, stilted rhythm). He adored company and couldn’t bear to be alone (very close word spacing). He was direct and assertive in his manner, ambitious and hardworking. But by putting himself under a lot of pressure to fulfil his commitments and respond (to any demands made on him) and to be so proactive, and also by facing up to his responsibilities as the tough man of the household, it was all taking its toll on his mental health, and he was clearly feeling exhausted at the time of writing this letter (lots of angles, fast speed, connected – driving ambition – combined with falling baselines).
We know that he chose to keep his worries to himself (closed ovals). Actually something happened quite a while ago in Victor’s life (perhaps around the time he immigrated from Italy to America) that he has chosen never to question. And we can see how effectively he puts a lid on this trauma, (if we take a look at how he cuts off many of the long downstroke loops beneath the baseline. Can you see how the horizontal cross of the loop runs well below and parallel to the baseline?) So, he tries to be realistic and sensible about things – He keeps his practical hat on (mostly medium size, regular, large and dominant LZ) so that he can cope with anything life throws at him. He tries to portray confidence (some large size) and intellectualizes matters (sharp penstrokes), so he doesn’t betray his deepest emotions.
Victor may have been tired at the time of writing this letter, but the way some of the words ‘fall off’ at the end of sentences reveals underlying depression, which I suppose is hardly surprising given the circumstances with his son away at war and the stresses and pressure he must have been feeling at the time. He was fearing the worst and catastrophizing everything, but actually bottling all these negative thoughts up. As the father, he had to be the strong one, and we can see how determined he was and how hard he was trying to keep it all together. There is some displaced pressure in the LZ (where the photocopy shows that the upstroke of the long stems or downstrokes are heavier than the downstrokes themselves – see L1 on P2 in the ‘g’ of ‘though’). This tells us that he had worn himself out. It’s like driving with the brakes on, sooner or later the parts wear out. This movement shows how hard Victor was trying to push through all his own personal difficulties, for the sake of his family and his principles.
Share Your Letter Story, Today!
Wow! Reader I don't know about you but I did not expect two pages of a letter to hold so much. Thank you again Tracey from the bottom of our letter loving heart for sharing your fascinating insights. Reader if you're interested in having a sample of handwriting analyzed you can learn more about Tracey's work on Instagram, Twitter, and her Website.
And finally, reader if you have a letter story you'd like to share send us an email at email@example.com. Until next time then!