News & Politics

What’s Pelosi Really Like? Look at Her T’s

For insight into how incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might govern, we turned to her handwriting.

There’s a lot to learn from the way Pelosi dots her i’s and crosses her t’s.

Lots of people are looking for insight into the reign of the Democrats and their leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We asked Sheila Kurtz, head of the Graphology Consulting Group and the Washington Handwriting Project, what Pelosi’s handwriting might say about how she’ll govern. Here's her full report and how she arrived at her analysis:

Note to Reader: Washington is awash in forged, mechanically or electronically copies and proxy-inscribed handwriting. To obtain true samples of a public servant’s handwriting can be a daunting task. The handwriting examples examined for this analysis include:

• An undated, 27-word note with a first-name only signature on House of Representative stationary addressed to a person who invited Mrs. Pelosi to a dinner party. This sample was provided to Graphology Consulting Group by Mrs. Pelosi’s office and is represented to be authentically hers. The sample was supplied with the stipulation that the full text would not be shown in an illustration.

• A secondary example found at Google Images dated December 16, 2002 was sent to Ms. Rita DeSales French, an author from Baltimore, on which was written: “Rita – My family is loving your beautiful book! Thank you. Nancy.” Mrs. Pelosi’s office did not verify nor dispute the validity of the handwriting on the “Rita” letter. Although there is little reason to believe that the handwriting on “Rita” is a forgery or a secretarial facsimile, the handwriting on it is different from the authenticated copy in being less hesitant, more rhythmical, and somewhat less stressed.

• Several signatures, including one on a letter sent to Congressman William Jefferson dated May 24, 2006 asking for his immediate resignation for ethical reasons from the Ways and Means Committee. The signature on this letter is highly likely to be authentic.

The analysis: The power to predominate and to prevail is evident in this handwriting.

• Strong and heavy down-slanted bars on the “t’s” in the sample indicate a person who is not afraid to gain and hold the upper hand, and not timid about exercising rule and authority. When this writer enters a room, others probably feel the force and pay close attention. There is a remarkable similarity between the hard bearing t-bar strokes in this writing and t-bar formations in the handwriting of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

• The straight, very strong down strokes of the “y” formations in “very” and “Tuesday” are indications that the writer is an independent thinker who can work well solo, while the sizable loops on the “y” formations in “enjoyable” and “Victory” are signs that the writer also likes to be around people and to share ideas with others. The forceful down strokes also signal determination and follow-through.

• In the word “invitation” the “i” formation breaks away into the next letter, a sign the writer will take the initiative without being urged by others.

• The writer works with information gathered by a quick (needle-pointed tops on the “n” in “and” and in “continue”), analytical (v-shaped formation of the “m” in “most” and others) and investigative (wedge formation of the “m” in “most”) mind.

• The heat of emotions seldom bends the logical straightness of this writer’s psyche, as indicated by the overall vertical slant of the text.  In situations where others may become frantic or comatose, this writer tends to weigh and to evaluate facts and come to considered and cool-headed conclusions.

• Writer exhibits signs of irritability and impatience with details (slashed “i” dot in “conversation” and others), and when too many details present themselves there are signs that writer may, under the provocation of impending failure or frustration, flash a temper.

• The round dots in the text (“i” dots and periods) indicate a writer who is steadfast and loyal to core beliefs and rarely “blows smoke” about faux honor.

• Several instances of overlapped letters (the “Y” in “enjoyable” touches the word “conversation” below it, and others) indicate that the writer is usually doing so many things at once that the writer forgets in which order to take things. This results in confusion that traditionally comes from “too many irons in the fire”. The writer may find it helpful (albeit difficult) to organize matters so that there is minimal uncertainty about priorities.

• Adding to the confusion are sporadic surges of a large creative imagination (big lower loops of the “y” formations) that concocts good ideas that compete for time and attention with the established routines of what is already going on.

• This writer prefers to be doing almost anything except sitting still. The big loop in the letter “p” in “hospitality” signals the need to be physically energetic. This writer enjoys and employs personal energy, strong drive and enthusiasm.

• The writer’s goals, as indicated by where the t-bar crosses the t stem, are moderate to high, yet not pie-in-the-sky. What this writer sets sail for will usually be reached.

• The writer is adept at communicating ideas, and can, when there is sufficient time, be a careful listener to what others are saying.

• In the unauthenticated “Rita” letter there are no “hesitation” strokes that begin before the actual form of the letter starts. This lack of hesitations is a sign of directness in communication. However, in the authenticated sample there are several hesitation strokes, a sign that the writer of that sample at that time is more reluctant to get directly to the point.

• In the “Rita” letter there are also loops on the left-hand side of o’s and a’s, the signs of one who may on occasion rationalize bad news away.

• Signatures are often misleading about the whole personality because the signature is like a corporate logotype, it is designed by the signer to speak to the world about how the writer chooses to be seen, or not seen. Signatures quite frequently are changed as a person’s life changes. President Nixon’s once clear and forceful signature before Watergate was reduced to a few pathetic scrawl lines as the scandal carried on to his resignation.

The signature on the “Jefferson” letter is clearly readable, and methodical (round and connected). The writer does not mind being seen “as is” by others. The lack of clarity in the signature on the authenticated letter may simply be caused by being in a rush, or running out of room at the end of the paper.

• The upward stroke of the bar over the capital “I” in “It” and on the word “the” before “conversation” are signs of a person who believes that most matters will work out okay in the end.

Do you have some handwriting by a public official that you'd like to see analyzed? Contact Sheila Kurtz at the Washington Handwriting Project at

Don’t Miss Another Big Story—Get Our Weekend Newsletter

Our most popular stories of the week, sent every Saturday.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.