A History of Graphology in Russia

A History of Graphology in Russia

История графологии в России

The first works in graphology appeared in Russia at the end of the 19th century.
There were translations of such foreign books as «Graphology Course in 7 Lessons» by Andre Varinard, «Graphology» by Cesare Lombroso, and in 1894, the first Russian book about graphology — «Graphology or a study about the character of writing» by N. Akhsharumov and F. Tishkov — was published. It was the main study material for Russian graphologists for a long time.

In 1903 and 1910, the works of the famous in that time psychotherapist I.Morgenshtern were published. Morgenshtern studied how handwriting is connected with physical qualities of a person, how it changes with age, and the possibility to identify hidden abilities of a person through his handwriting.

In his book, the scientist analysed handwritings of various people — from emperors to criminals, from geniuses to insane people. Morgenshtern foresaw a big future in graphology, especially in such areas as forensics, vocational guidance and psychiatry.

Graphology started growing actively in 1920s, during innovation and experiments in many sectors of creative and academic life. V. Bekhterev’s student, a psychophysiologist R. Cheranovsky conducted a number of studies that identified typical features of handwritings of people of different body types.

A Russian physiologist N. Bershteyn analysed the connection between the brain activity and the way of writing letters. At the end of 1920s, D. Zuev-Insarob published his book «Handwriting and personality». Later on, the latter became a basis for all future Russian studies in this area.

In 1936, a decree of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (b) «On pedagogic perversions in the area of the People’s commissariat for education» declared graphology as bourgeuos and anti-scientific. And, despite calls of the State Neuropsychiatric Academy of the USSR to continue research in this area, there were no more large-scale works in graphology in the Soviet Union.

Graphology came back to life again in Russia only in 1990s.

Modern foreign works were translated, and pre-revolutionary and soviet books on handwriting analysis were reprinted. The interest of modern society to psychology and related sciences plays an important role in graphology formation in Russia.

A wide area of usage, convenience and efficacy let graphology secure its position among other methods of identifying a character and abilities of a person.