December 23, 1985 12:00 PM

What’s in a name? It may depend on how you write it. Fascinated by the variety among the signatures of our 25 Most Intriguing People, we turned to expert graphoanalyst Sheila Kurtz, president of A New Slant, Inc., a Manhattan-based, 11-year-old firm that provides personality profiles based on handwriting for more than 300 companies. Kurtz usually works with a page of handwriting. Still, she was able to break down each of our autographs into 300 analytical elements—discovering, for example, that Princess Diana’s final “a” indicates an open mind, that pitcher Dwight Gooden’s large “D” suggests a desire to improve his self-image and that the gaps in publisher Rupert Murdoch’s signature indicate a strong intuitive ability.

Some of Kurtz’s findings were expected. Bruce Springsteen’s signature, for instance, shows a strong sense of individuality. Some were surprising. Madonna‘s writing, Kurtz found, discloses a tendency toward introspection. On the other hand, Bob Geldof’s stylized scrawl, she says, “is one that cannot be read, implying that he doesn’t want to be read.” Don Johnson’s, says Kurtz, “shows energy and generosity as well as heavy stress; problems and pressures will stay with him for some time.”

Perhaps the most interesting evaluation Kurtz made was on Josef Mengele, chief physician at Auschwitz. The signature of the calculating Angel of Death, she says, “reveals a highly emotional nature. His thinking was never entirely detached from his emotional reactions and was constantly affected by them.”

In fact, a new name (below) will appear on these pages in 1986.

I’ve been appointed Group Publisher of TIME, FORTUNE, MONEY and Southern Progress Corp., a subsidiary of Time Inc. PEOPLE’S new publisher will be my old friend Don Elliman.

What kind of person is Don? According to graphoanalyst Kurtz, he is “loyal and incisive—an alert thinker who can pick up new information rapidly. I’d want him to be my publisher.”

I agree. I met Don in 1968 while we were working at the TIME College Bureau, which sold subscriptions to Time Inc. magazines on college campuses, and we’ve been very close since. In fact, we both dated the same woman at one point and were ushers at each other’s weddings. Born in Bronxville, N.Y., Don now lives in Stamford, Conn. His wife, Mary Fowler, is assistant circulation director of TIME. Their son, Donald III, or “Three Sticks,” as I call him, is 10 weeks old.

Don, now 41, joined Time Inc. after earning a B.A. in economics at Middle-bury College. No stranger to PEOPLE, he was the magazine’s circulation director from 1976 to 1978; earlier this year he was named TIME International publishing director. As my mother said at Thanksgiving, “I’m certain Donnie can do your job—he ran your whole wedding.”

To be fair, I should tell what Kurtz said about my signature: “He is determined and expresses himself well. But the hooks in his signature indicate acquisitiveness, a desire to possess.”

In one sense, I’ll admit it’s true. I possess tremendous pride in what PEOPLE has accomplished since I became publisher in October 1983. Revenue has increased 42 percent, up to $250 million this year. Circulation has grown for the 11th time in as many years and now averages 2,850,000 copies a week; and our Aug. 12 issue, covering the illness of Rock Hudson, was the best-selling regular issue in PEOPLE’S history (3,630,000). In short, PEOPLE has become a huge success story.

I’ve enjoyed our Baby Boom promotion (after all, at 39, I’m a Boomer myself). And I give Managing Editor Pat Ryan and her editorial staff full credit for giving this magazine its substance; it’s fresh and quick, yet has bite and depth. It’s become part of the fabric of American life.

In my 17 years with Time Inc., I’ve enjoyed each job, yet I can honestly tell Don Elliman that being publisher of PEOPLE is the best position in magazine publishing. I wish him luck. And to the most intriguing people of all, the PEOPLE readers, hearty Holiday Greetings!

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