The following quotation from
The Living Races of Mankind
, a lavishly produced and illustrated account of ‘the customs, habits, pursuits, feasts and ceremonies of the races of mankind throughout the world’, gives us a sense of the stereotypes about South Slavs that had entered the popular imagination through widely read ethnographic and travel literature by the early twentieth century.
The Servians [
] are a physical stalwart race. They are hospitable, energetic, and brave. Though proud, quick-tempered, and apt to fight on comparatively slight occasion, they are fond of social intercourse, and cling to old customs and old beliefs. … The Servians are thoroughly democratic in their institutions; each family owns the ground it tills, so that in the country day-labourers are scarce. Few will consent to become household servants, and cooks and men-servants come mainly from Croatia or Hungary. … The Servians are an eminently pious race. The fasts of the Church are rigidly observed, and the peasant never fails in the morning to invoke a blessing on the coming day … . The Croats are a branch of the Slav race and are closely akin to the Servians. They differ in being Roman Catholics and in using the Latin alphabet. … [They] hav[e] for their physical characteristics black or very dark brown hair, and greyish or blue eyes, with a countenance suggestive of cruelty and suspicion. They are lazy and intemperate, but good-humoured and hospitable. Their women, who do most of the work, are both ignorant and superstitious, and do not rank high in the scale of civilization.