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“It’s all in the loop: Waltham woman opens handwriting analysis business
Daily News Tribune, January 23, 2003

By Shanley Stern, Tribune Staff Writer

Waltham - Be careful what you sign in front of Waltham’s first handwriting analyst because 27-year-old Sarah Holmes just might be able to get into your head.

It should be called brain writing instead of handwriting, according to Holmes, who recently opened the New England branch of Pentec, Inc. She says the shape and form of a person’s penmanship is a window into the intricacies of their personality.

In Holmes’ line of business, every Jan. 23 is a day worth celebrating. It’s National Handwriting Day, a day dedicated to remembering John Hancock’s birthday, the importance of the written word and for Holmes - what his signature on the Declaration of Independence revealed.

“He was an honest (due to clarity of signature), self-reliant (underlining), man who has great depth of character (thickness of line quality) and was unafraid to show his courage (large signature and bold capital letters) and conviction (narrowness of letter form),” Holmes said.

Used in jury selections, fraud cases and corporate hiring, handwriting analysis is the interpretation of the slants, size, space and speed of written letters.
But opening the Waltham Pentec office at her home on Lexington Street was more than just a business venture for Holmes, it was a family tradition. Holmes is the third generation of handwriting experts and recently earned her master’s degree in psychology from Boston University. Her mother, Ruth Holmes, is a proven success and works out of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

“Handwriting is graphic motor expression,” Holmes said. “It’s frozen behavior. I like to think of handwriting analysis as exploring the landscape of the mind.”

Pentec’s analysis expertise is broken into three areas: human resources, forgeries and trial-related services.

Corporations are now contracting the services of handwriting experts to help determine whether a certain personality fits their environment. Though Holmes said she does not tell employers whether to hire or not, she said the analysis gives the employer insight into aptitudes, talents and personality traits.

“It can work for everyone from the mom and pop store to the Fortune 500,” Holmes said. “It’s just as important for a Waltham store with three employees to get the right person working in there as it is for the bigger companies. In this economy, companies can’t afford to make hiring mistakes. They need to get the right person in there.”

Holmes said Pentec also assists in jury selection in the courtroom by analyzing handwriting styles. According to Holmes, picking a sympathetic jury is easier by looking to see how the letters are linked and slanted as well as the size.

The Holmes family expertise has also been used in murder trials to determine if notes were” written by a suspect, in kidnapping cases to analyze ransom notes and scores of forgery situations.

As each case comes in, mostly through fax and e-mail, Holmes, said she writes a letter of opinion and puts together an exhibit book.

The process usually takes only a few days to complete if all the pertinent information is on hand.

Just by the script Holmes said, she can tell whether a person is analytical or critical, receptive, or naive, creative or guarded and clever or evasive. Holmes, also said the height of the writing can determine whether someone is governed by their, heart, instincts or mind.

“The main reason people write is to communicate,” Holmes said. “If you can’t read it then it usually means it’s someone who plays their cards close to their chest.”