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Robert Saudek
Robert Saudek 1928.jpg
Born(1880-04-21)21 April 1880
Kolín, Austria-Hungary
Died15 April 1935(1935-04-15) (aged 54)
London, England
EducationHonorary Doctorate
OccupationPlaywright, Diplomat, Graphologist

Robert Saudek (21 April 1880 – 15 April 1935) was a Czech-born graphologist and writer of novels, stories, poems and plays. He had considerable influence on the content and standing of graphology worldwide. He also published numerous articles in many languages in periodicals as diverse as The Listener, Zeitschrift für Menschenkenntnis and the Journal of Social Psychology. He also founded the professional graphology society in the Netherlands. He also started two academic periodicals: one in Dutch and the other in English. Many graphologists worldwide today use Saudek’s work without knowing the origin.

He published Experimental Graphology in 1929. Saudek examined the speed in handwriting. He quantified handwriting by use of a microscope, caliper, pressure board, ruler, protractor and slow-motion pictures. Saudek also attempted to deal with graphological phenomena in terms acceptable to the experimental psychologists.


Robert Saudek was born in Kolín, Austria-Hungary, now Czech Republic, on 21 April 1880 (some sources say 1881), the son of a manufacturer of feather beds; Robert had a brother and two sisters. He was a polyglot: by the end of his life he had mastered Czech, German, Dutch, French and English.

He studied a correspondence course produced by the well known German graphologist Hans Busse (who incidentally translated Crepieux-Jamin’s work into German) and was very familiar with the work of Ludwig Klages. Around 1900 he studied at the Universities of Prague, Leipzig and the Sorbonne. From 1903 to 1909 he authored plays, essays, epigrams and novels. It is reported that he ran an intelligence bureau in The Hague during World War I, from 1914 to 1918.

In 1918 Saudek entered the diplomatic service for the Czechoslovakian Government, in the Netherlands and in England. The family settled in The Hague that year. They moved away from the Hague in 1922, living in Berlin until 1924. In 1924 Saudek moved to London, where he was correspondent to the Prager Presse newspaper and established a profitable graphological practice.


In 1918 he authored a novel with a graphological plot, Diplomats, which was published in German, Czech, Dutch, French and Italian (1921). In the 1920s he began the Bulletin of the Dutch Association for Scientific Graphology (Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Graphologie. Orgaan Van De Vereeniging Voor Wetenschappelijke Grafologie). In 1963 this became Acta Graphologica.

In 1925 Unwin published Psychology of Handwriting; it also appeared in Dutch, German, Danish, and Swedish. Saudek supplemented his income by drawing rents from two large properties in Berlin. He also gave lectures, notably one to the British Psychological Society, Medical section on 21 October 1926, which became an article (see Saudek 1927). He also made radio broadcasts with the BBC; one such broadcast took place on 7 September 1927.

His next book was Experimental Graphology, which appeared in German, Czech and Dutch in 1926. Saudek lectured on experimental graphology at Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels and Prague from 1926 to 1928.

The book Experiments in Handwriting was published in London in 1928. Possibly related to the book and his lecture tour initiatives, Saudek was awarded a PhD in Brussels, Belgium in the same year. This now meant that he was able to use the title Dr Saudek.

Another book followed in 1932, What Your Handwriting Shows—a shorter, more popular-style book than the others. Then in 1933 Anonymous Letters was published; this concentrated on the criminological aspects of handwriting analysis work.


The Times of 16 April 1935 carried his obituary: "Robert Saudek at the age of 55 years died on 15 April 1935. Born in Bohemia and having lived for some years in London, where he had numerous friends in scientific and journalistic circles." This obituary, though, was slightly inaccurate as Saudek died six days before his 55th birthday.

His death certificate shows that he died at 20 Devonshire Place in London, which was probably a private hospital in 1935. The cause of death was shown as: (a) Septicaemia; (b) Haemorhage (c) Chronic duodenal Ulcer.

His papers are in the Senate House Library, University of London.










Zeitschrift für Menschenkunde, 5(5) 314–20.) Zentralblatt für Graphologie, 1(1) 70-73. Zeitschrift für Menschenkunde, 6.