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Anonymous Letters And Disguised Hands
Classes Of Handwriting
Forged Literary Autographs
Forged Signatures
Handwriting And Expression
How To Examine A Writing
Measurement And Its Appliances
Paper And Watermarks
Pencils And Stylographs
The Alphabet In Detail
The Capitals
The Expert In The Witness-box
The Principles Of Handwriting Analysis

Classes Of Handwriting

For convenience in differentiation, handwritings are divided into the
following classes. Practically every type of writing can be placed in
one of them.

_Vertical Hand._--A vertical hand is one in which the tops and tails of
letters form as nearly as possible a perpendicular with the horizontal
line. The best example of this class of handwriting is that known as the
Civil Service hand, familiar to the general public through telegrams and
official documents.

_Back Hand_ is a hand in which the general slope of the characters is
from right to left.

_Italian Hand_ is the reverse of a back hand, the slope being at an
acute angle from left to right. It is a style fast going out of fashion,
and is almost invariably the handwriting used by elderly ladies. Its
most pronounced characteristic is its sharp angles and absence of

_Open Hand._--An open hand is one that generally approximates to the
vertical, its distinguishing feature being the wide space between the
letters. The best example of it is that known as the Cusack style of

_Closed Hand._--A closed hand is the opposite of an open hand, the
letters being crowded together and generally long and narrow, with the
slope from left to right.

_Greek Hand._--This is the name given to a type of writing that closely
approximates to the printed character. Many letters, both capital and
small, are formed to imitate print, particularly the capitals _T_, _X_,
_Y_, _R_, _B_, _D_, and the smalls _e_, _f_, _g_, _h_, _j_, _k_, _p_,
_r_, _t_, _v_, _w_, _x_, _y_, _z_. It is a hand frequently found in the
writings of classical scholars, literary men engaged in work entailing
careful research, and often is an evidence of short sight.

The _Wavy Hand_ is generally vertical. Its characteristic is an
undulating serpentine waviness. Little or no distinction is made between
barred or looped letters. There are no rounded shoulders to the _m_ and
_n_ and the word minnie would be written by five small _u_'s. In
round-bodied letters like _a_, _d_, _g_, the circle is rarely completed,
but is left open, so that small _a_ becomes _u_, and small _d_ may be
mistaken for _it_, with the _i_ undotted and _t_ uncrossed. Despite its
geometrical and caligraphic inaccuracy in detail, this hand is generally
written with great regularity, that is, the characters, though
incomplete, are always uniform in their irregularity. The _e_ is never
open, but is an undotted _i_, and _n_ is _u_, but when the peculiarities
of the writer become familiar this hand is often very legible.

_Flat Hand._--A flat hand is a type of handwriting in which the
characters have an oblate or flattened appearance, the _o_, _a_, _g_,
&c., being horizontal ovals, like the minim and breve in music. The
tails and tops are generally short, with wide loops. It is nearly always
a vertical hand.

An _Eccentric Hand_ is one that presents various marked peculiarities
and departures from standard rules in the formation of certain letters,
and cannot be placed in any recognised class, though it may approximate
to one more than to another.

The _Round_ or _Clerical Hand_ is a writing that preserves a close
affinity for the round regular hand of the average school-boy, with the
difference that while the characters are formed on regular copybook
model, the hand is written with considerable fluency and firmness. It is
generally only a little out of the perpendicular, sloping slightly
towards the right.

Next: How To Examine A Writing

Previous: Terminology

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