Dr. Charlotte Wolff was born in Germany in 1897. She got her M.D. degree from the University of Berlin in 1928. Later on, she shifted to England where she started her practice as a psychiatric in 1951, especially dealing with the homosexuality problem of females.
She studied hand-reading as a reliable method of testing temperament and character. She was first to raise the point that hand can be fully used in the evaluation of depression and mental defectiveness. This belief was the result of her intensive study of the hands of normal and abnormal people, and of the hands & feet of the monkeys.
She focused her research in the areas of mental defectiveness and mental health, and how these can be detected from the hand. As a result of her research, she found a certain relation between hand-characters, physiological conditions and personality tendency, which she also demonstrated by providing many handprints in her written work.
Dr. Charlotte Wolff has contributed significantly towards the development of hand-reading. She viewed the hand as the visible part of the brain and considered that hand reading can have a revolutionary impact on the whole study of psychology. She was so confident on her research and findings that she was of the view that hand is more reliable means of gauging temperament, character, intelligence and mental functioning than any other mean.
She wrote many books in her long career, using a little technical language of and with statistics, charts and illustrations. She attempted to convince the readers about her scientific seriousness and approach towards the subject. Although she claimed to have a total disassociation with palmistry, yet she evidently read D'Arpentigny and Desbarolles for her knowledge of hand-reading, and knew the basic rules and techniques of Palmistry, as it is reflecting from her written work.
Following are her famous books.
Studies in Hand Reading (1936)
This book is a collection of many handprints and interpretations including the hands of some of the famous artists and legendry people of 20th century. This is clearly one of the most comprehensive and fascinating books of her.
The Human Hand (1942)
This book includes a good supply of some psycho-physiological theories and also the description of some practical methods of hand-interpretation, she has worked out in her life. This book describes scientific basis of hand shapes, fingers, nails and lines. There is also a chapter of some interesting handprints in this book. The language of this book is little technical in some parts, but still it is understandable and can be declared as the best of all her books.
A Psychology of Gesture (1945)
The significance of gestures of the hand as indicators of emotional and psychological states. She considers the physiology, the psychology and the pathology of gesture to demonstrate how gesture supports the validity of the study of the hand generally. Mostly based on her researches into the typical gestures used by depressives and those with other disorders.
The Hand in Psychological Diagnosis (1951)
A further volume expanding on the ideas developed in 'The Human Hand'. Here she considers in greater depth the significance of endocrinological dysfunction, its psychological effects and chirological manifestations & outlines how and why the hand reflects temperament and personality. The bulk of the book details the results of her comparative researches into the hands of 'normal' and mentally defective children and the results of her research into the hands of the mentally ill. Very statistical with lots of charts and tables and often quite jargonistic and pedantic. The most 'scientific' of all her works.
On the Way to Myself (1969)
Charlotte Wolff's autobiography, from which much of the above information about her life has been taken. A fascinating read, with a considerable section of the book dedicated to the period of her life when she was most actively involved in hand reading and chirological investigation.
Love Between Women (1977)
Love Between Women was the first fully documented study of lesbianism, claiming bisexuality as the base of all sexuality. She described that people who consider themselves as exclusively heterosexual or homosexual, are habituated to press either the one or the other part of their bisexuality.
In addition to her books, she also wrote
many useful articles in the British Journal of “Medical Psychology” in
1941 & 1944 and in the Journal of “Mental Science” in 1941. She also wrote
some very informative articles on “Zoological Society” in 1937 & 1938, in
which she described the results of her comparative studies of the hands of
man and monkeys.