Autograph

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An autograph (from the Greek: αὐτός, autós, "self" and γράφω, gráphō, "write") is a document transcribed entirely in the handwriting of its author, as opposed to a typeset document or one written by an amanuensis or a copyist; the meaning overlaps with that of the word holograph.

Autograph also refers to a person's artistic signature. This term is used in particular for the practice of collecting autographs of celebrities. The hobby of collecting autographs is known as philography.

Contents

Styles

An individual's writing styles change throughout the lifespan of a person; a signature of President George Washington (c. 1795) will be different from one when he was an 18-year-old land surveyor. After British Admiral Nelson lost his right arm at the Tenerife sea-battle in 1797, he switched to using his left hand. However, the degree of change may vary greatly. The signatures of Washington and Lincoln changed only slightly during their adult lives, while John F. Kennedy's signature was different virtually every time he signed.

Other factors affect an individual's signature, including their level of education, health, and so on. Blues singer John Lee Hooker had a limited education, and such is reflected in his handwriting. Composer Charles Ives and boxer Muhammad Ali both suffered from Parkinson's disease, and their handwriting show the effects of that condition as well. Native American Chief Geronimo had no concept of an alphabet; he "drew" his signature, much like a pictograph.

Many individuals have much more fanciful signatures than their normal cursive writing, including elaborate ascenders, descenders and exotic flourishes, much as one would find in calligraphic writing

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