The American Handwriting Analysis Foundation is a 501-(c)6 non-profit business organization, chartered and incorporated in California. AHAF came into existence in 1967 due to a chance meeting of its founder, "Charlie" Cole, with Hans Swartz, a German refugee he met on a train ride in 1941. Schwarz was a graphologist, and he also ran a small newspaper in Germany until his politics disagreed with those of Hitler and he left the country around 1940.
During their train ride, Schwarz patiently explained the details of handwriting analysis to Charlie, which sparked a lifelong interest in the art and science of graphology. Swartz instilled two rules for successful handwriting analysis in Charlie which he passed along to his own students: look at the whole writing and do lots and lots of analyses.
About 1958 Charlie formed a Registry of Independent Handwriting Analysts and kept the group together with a newsletter, which had several different names before it eventually became Gold Nibs. Over time, the people in this group became too demanding for Charlie’s free spirit and he invited authors of current graphology books to come to the West Coast to present workshops. Dr. Frank Victor, author of Handwriting: A Personality Projection (1952), was the first to accept his invitation.
After each workshop, those who attended were given a membership card printed with the organization's new name and signed by the noted speaker. Dr. Klara Roman, author of Handwriting a Key to Personality (1952), conducted a seminar in 1959. The next year the seminar featured Dan Anthony, who was teaching graphology in New York's New School for Social Research. Anthony later helped develop the psychogram and the course to go with it. Rhoda Kellogg, author of Analyzing Children's Art (1969), was not a graphologist but her discussions on the gestalt of children's art offered a symbolism similar to graphology. Ralph Bradford from the Long Beach Police Department spoke on Questioned Documents. Blanche Baker, a psychiatrist, and her husband, Bill Baker, who was president of the American Graphological Society provided other valuable insights.
Dr. Klara Roman came to California more than once. She considered Charlie a dynamic personality who could be a leader in getting graphology recognized in the United States. During the 1960's she helped Charlie and Dan Anthony develop their psychogram courses using concepts from her book. Charlie called it Handwriting Analysis Workshops Unlimited because he felt that there are no limits to the study of handwriting analysis.
Charlie sponsored many other workshops, including those by Dr. Irene Marcuse, author of Applied Graphology (1969) and Guide to Personality Through Handwriting (1962), Joseph Stanovich, a protege of Dewitt Lucas and his school of Scriptology, and Dr. Ralph Poindexter, author of the Poindexter Organization (1977). Paul de Ste. Colombe, author of Graphotherapeautics (1966), was the keynote speaker at the AHAF conventions in 1963 and 1969.
Besides writing several courses and teaching classes at his home, Charlie built a successful graphology business in San Jose, California. He began as a Document Examiner in 1958 and appeared in local superior courts as well as courts in Oklahoma, Nevada, and Guam. He testified in federal courts in San Francisco, San Diego and San Jose. In 1975 he was featured speaker at a seminar and workshop in Hawaii for the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. His basic courses were translated into Spanish and French.
While dedicating most of his life to graphology, Charlie Cole received many personal honors for his unique contributions. He was selected for mention in the 13th Edition of Who's Who in California. As far as could be determined, he was the first graphologist to be so honored. AHAF members recognized him in 1982 with the Michon/Flandrin Award for distinguished achievement. It was the first time this special award was presented.
Charlie attended every AHAF convention that his health allowed, but it is important to note that by his own choice, he never held office in the organization. His career in graphology spanned more than fifty years, and his influence in America and in other countries is immeasurable. His death on March 14, 1991 left a void in many lives.
Contributed by Milt Moore, CG