Does Handwriting Provide a Window Into Emotional State?

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:

Saturday, March 28, 1914:  Sad and gloomy like the weather.

diary-3-28-14

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

I don’t know anything about handwriting analysis. Was Grandma’s handwriting different on a day when she was sad and gloomy, than on a day when she was happy and excited?

Vanbraman wrote comments several times wondering if Grandma’s handwriting provided an indication of her emotional state. For example on February 22 he asked:

Could you tell if she was excited by her handwriting? I know that some people show their emotion in how they write.

Here’s what she wrote that day.

diary-2-22-14

19 Responses

  1. Interesting :-). It does look like the first handwriting is a little slower. The letters are rounder and the spacing between words is a little bit larger. My very unprofessional analysis :-). Maybe she was excited when she wrote the entry in February ;-)

  2. Don’t know anything about hand writing but lovely to see her actual writing. Thanks for sharing that Sheryl.

  3. I agree with vanbraman…. the capital S is definitely more clearly defined in the “sad and gloomy” entry….not that I would have noticed that on my own!

  4. She had beautiful penmanship. I may be missing something but I don’t see that much difference except in intensity, which might be from using a different pen or variations in ink consistency. She might also have been in a hurry on sample 2 – not necessarily excited on an emotional level. It would be so interesting to bring in a handwriting expert…….

    • I also think that she may have used different pens. It does appear that the one entry was written more rapidly than the other. I agree that it would be interesting to get a handwriting expert’s opinion.

  5. The only things I have learned about handwriting are if the words slant up, you’re an optimist. If they slant down you’re a pessimist. A straight line is a balance between the two. Fat loops at the tops of letters mean you’re an ideas person. Fat loops at the bottom of letters means you’re an implementer.
    Diana xo

    • When I write I have fat loops at the bottom of letters–I guess that I’m an implementer (though I’m also am an ideas person).

  6. Dear Grandma from long ago,
    I love sad and gloomy weather and we only get sunshine, sunshine and more sunshine here on the south west coast of California.

  7. I think a lot of us can relate to feeling gloomy about the weather lately! I hope Helena gets a happier day soon.

    • We’ve had some rain lately. I keep telling myself that rain is better than snow and that it means it is spring–even if it is gloomy. :)

  8. It was neat to see her handwriting. I would think how we write would reflect what we are feeling, that would make sense. And 100 yrs later Saturday March 29, 2014 it is rainy and gloomy as well. But then in PA March and April is usually rainy and gloomy so no change in 100 yrs! ;)

  9. Very nice to see her handwriting! That skill is slowly disappearing now…

  10. That’s a very interesting question! I have a question as well, when the diary ends, do you have ideas to continue this blog? I may not visit every day, but love what you share and would hate to see it end….

  11. This is the first time that I have visited your site, I like the work that you have done here. I enjoy your articles, Everything that I have checked in to has been a good history lesson and an enjoyable read v thank you for posting this material, I appreciate it.

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