Diana Reynolds-Cordileone
Point Loma University
San Diego, USA

UDC: 929 Беловић-Бернаџиковска Ј

Original scientific article

Reinventions: Jelica Belović-Bernadzikowska’s Ethnographic Turn[1]

Jelica Belović-Bernadzikowska’s (1870–1946) life and work provide considerable insight into the conditions surrounding the new types of professional women of the early 20th century. Her extensive published work transcended categories of pedagogy, social commentary, feminism and ethnography and appeared in a variety of formats from fiction to academic writing. This essay deals with a brief portion of Belović-Bernadzikowska’s life; the period from 1902 to 1914, in which she successfully transformed herself and her public persona from a schoolteacher in the schools of Bosnia and Herzegovina into a respected ethnographer and expert on women’s textiles. This was not a voluntary transformation; she was forced into a new career in 1902 when she was relieved of her position as a teacher by the Provincial Government. How she accomplished a professional reinvention is the topic of this essay; but she experienced other personal and political changes as well – including a rejection of her native Croat patriotism in favor of greater sympathy with the Serbs. These reinventions took several years, but a significant signpost of her growing success appeared in 1909. At this point she began to write for the scholarly (albeit controversial) German-language journal, Anthropophyteia, published by the renowned Balkan ethnographer and sexologist Friedrich Salomo Krauss. With a growing reputation outside the Slavic lands, Jelica was on her way to achieving the academic, scholarly acclaim she craved. For a time, she hoped to break through the gendered barriers that restricted female writers among the Southern Slavs.


reinvention, Jelica Belović-Bernadzikowska, ethnography, emancipation, sexology

Jelica Belović-Bernadzikowska’s (1870–1946) life and work provide considerable insight into the conditions surrounding the new types of professional women in the early 20th century. Her extensive published work transcended categories of pedagogy, social commentary, feminism and ethnography and appeared in a variety of formats from fiction to academic writing. Even today a complete bibliography of her work, much of which was published under various pseudonyms, eludes scholars. While she spent much of her professional life in Sarajevo, she is both acclaimed (and sometimes claimed) by scholars from two states of the former Yugoslavia – Croatia and Serbia – not only as one of their own but also as a significant participant in early 20th-century women’s movements among the Southern Slavs. Such a prodigious writer and complicated personality merits ongoing consideration, and many of the topics that vexed and enraged her – such as patriarchy, sexual harassment, and unequal opportunity in the workplace – are still in the news today.

This essay deals with a brief portion of Belović-Bernadzikowska’s life; the period from 1902 to 1914, in which she successfully transformed herself and her public persona from a schoolteacher in the schools of Bosnia and Herzegovina into a respected ethnographer and expert on women’s textiles.

This was not a voluntary transformation. As described in her memoir, located in the Historical Archive of Sarajevo, she was forced out of her teaching career in 1902. As a result of difficulties at her school in Banja Luka, she was retired against her will and pensioned off as a “hysteric”. Despite this setback, which took a heavy personal toll and left her deeply embittered, she spent the next decade transforming herself into an internationally known expert in the domestic crafts of the Southern Slavs. She became a recognized, if not always beloved, female ethnographer in a world dominated by men.

How she accomplished this reinvention is the topic of this essay. A significant signpost of her success appeared in 1909 when she began to write for the scholarly (albeit controversial) German-language journal, Anthropophyteia, published by the renowned Balkan ethnographer and sexologist Friedrich Salomo Krauss.

Jelica’s appearance in this scholarly journal was an indication of her growing international renown, particularly in Germanic anthropological discourses of the early 20th century. Her lengthy articles in Antropophyteia (some longer than 100 pages) display her deep knowledge of the topic of Southern Slavic needlework. In addition, they indicate just how she embellished her life to present herself – a middle-class woman with no university education – as a reliable informant and participant in this rarified scholarly world of male experts.

But this was only one of her transformations in the first decade of the 20th century. Her association with Krauss and his journal indicates a more profound personal transformation on matters of sexuality and sexual knowledge. The new discipline of sexology – the term Sexualwissenschaft was coined in 1907 – was oriented to scholarly research and openness in matters of human sexuality; Jelica’s peripheral involvement with this group is indicative of her multiple life changes. Raised in a prudish Catholic-Croatian environment, Jelica suffered from the myriad forms of sexual and gender inequality that was typical of her time and place. But by 1909, she had matured (and suffered) enough to become an advocate of sexual knowledge and education for young women – a topic, along with sexual and moral reform, she pursued for the remainder of her life. And this was not her only reinvention: during these years she also became more critical of Austrian rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the corruption of its administrators – eventually becoming increasingly pro-Serb in her political outlook.

All of these reinventions merit attention, but this essay tells the story behind her professional setback and focuses on her ethnographic turn, which culminated in her acquaintance with Friedrich Salomo Krauss. Then we deal with her rewriting of her past by comparing articles she published in Anthropophyteia with the written memoir she left in Sarajevo. These texts in German present the ways in which she embellished her past to position herself as a reliable and much-needed ethnographic informant in a domain that male scholars could not penetrate – the world of women. At the same time, her memoir tells the story of a woman caught in the social constraints of patriarchy and expectations of female propriety. In all of this we can see the transformation and survival strategies of a professional woman who worked in Sarajevo in the decade of political turmoil leading up to the outbreak of war in 1914.

The Professional Setback

Jelica Belović, unmarried Croatian schoolteacher, arrived in the occupied provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereafter Bosnia) in 1895. She had been trained as a teacher at the Sisters of Mercy Teachers’ School in Zagreb, completing her education in 1888. Thereafter she taught in Ruma, Zagreb, and Osijek before being offered employment in the Austro-Hungarian (hereafter Austrian) occupied territories. Shortly after her arrival in Bosnia, in February 1896, she married a law clerk working for the Austrian Government, a young Polish man named Johann (Janko) Bernadzikowski, thereby taking the cumbersome hyphenated name she used in her professional life. She served at schools in Mostar and Sarajevo (96–98) before being named acting director of the Girls’ School in Banja Luka in 1898.

In addition to her teaching duties, Belović-Bernadzikowska developed a significant reputation as a journalist before 1900. She wrote mostly on pedagogical issues, and was published not only in the government-sponsored Teacher’s News of Bosnia (Školski Vjesnik) but also in several pedagogical and children’s magazines in Croatia. She worked diligently to be accepted into the literary world of Zagreb, while noting both the disadvantages of educational opportunities in her homeland and the lack of intelligent and enlightened women in Zagreb’s literary circles. She was often critical of her female peers (Jambriśak and Zagorka) inside Croatia, and accused them of having gained their reputation through immorality and compromise.

However, Jelica was both intellectually hungry and ambitious, and after her arrival in Bosnia, she became entangled with her supervisor and Mentor, the Minister of Education Ljuboje Dlustuš.[2] His sexual and emotional pursuit of her, which lasted from 1895 to 1899, is clearly documented in her memoir. Today this would be regarded as sexual harassment, but her memoir claims that many of her teaching colleagues used sexual favors as a means of advancement. It was commonplace at the time, but Jelica resisted this behavior, which she regarded as both immoral and beneath her dignity. She was unforgiving of any and all female colleagues who advanced their careers by such means. Nevertheless, she was attracted to her boss/Mentor and she eventually became torn between her marriage to Janko, (who was not her intellectual or spiritual equal) and her attachment to her Mentor. No doubt she saw the older man as a replacement for her father, who had died when she was five.

While she declined to state whether the affair was consummated or not, her ongoing attachment to her superior interfered with her marriage and her mental stability. The love triangle and the added emotional strain, led to her gradual breakdown starting in 1898, when she was suddenly denied a promotion in Sarajevo and mysteriously transferred to Banja Luka. To Jelica this was a betrayal, for her Mentor had promised her the promotion. She interpreted the event as a signal that Dlustuš had tired of her, and thrown her aside in favor of a former lover. It was a devastating betrayal; perhaps her rage and the depths of her despair are indicators of illicit sexual intimacy – but this remains to be matter conjecture.

This complicated emotional and highly charged erotic situation, along with the overt malice of her colleagues and supervisors in Banja Luka, led to a series of complaints, plots and intrigues against her that eventually reached the desktop of Reichsfinanzminister and Head of the Austrian Administration, Benjamin von Kàllay in 1901. Instead of coming to her aid, however, Kàllay placed her on immediate administrative and medical leave; one year later she was reexamined by a Government physician and declared permanently “hysteric” and unfit for teaching.[3] From her point of view, the Government protected its own while she was pensioned off. Some things never change; it was understood that male bosses could prey upon their subordinates for sexual (and other) favors; her refusal to use this weapon to gain promotion was her downfall. What is clear is this: the memoir, written after her forced retirement, is an attempt to come to terms with her vulnerability, her obsession, her rage, and her need for revenge.

Jelica was publicly humiliated by this action, but she was not destitute; her forced retirement came with a pension that gave her some independence and the freedom to travel. Nevertheless, she had lost her standing and was no longer credible as a writer on educational matters. Just as importantly, she had lost her faith in the goodwill of the Austrian government toward the peoples of Bosnia, particularly toward the Muslims and Serbs, who together constituted the majority of the population. From this point forward, she grew increasingly hostile toward Austrian rule in Bosnia.

In the years that followed, she grew increasingly attracted to those movements that advocated an independent direction for the Southern Slavic peoples; and she made new efforts to revive her career. She re-cultivated her love of the Slavic folk epics and became more intent upon expanding her studies of regional needlework. She began to reinvent herself as an expert in domestic crafts. These reinventions are part of the subtext of her articles in Anthropophyteia.

The Reinvention

Jelica’s reinvention was aided by the publication of her monumental lexicon of needlework terminology, written in Croatian (Latin script). This was a project she had begun before 1898 with Dlustuš (who had called it their intellectual child – the sexual imagery is clear), and it continued to appear for several years.[4] Despite her fall from grace, the Austrian Administration nevertheless went ahead with its publication. This action suggests that her belief in the Government’s malice might have been exaggerated; but her memoir is clearly biased in the other direction.

At the time of the lexicon’s “conception” around 1898, Jelica and Dlustuš were inspired by patriotic motives. Both of them were Croats, and for some time already there had been a move afoot to develop a purely Croatian vocabulary for fashion and needlework in Zagreb. This was part of the nationalists’ efforts to counter the hegemony of both the German and Hungarian languages in Croatia. The completed lexicon was no work of genius, but nevertheless a remarkable achievement of diligence, compilation, and sitzfleisch.

Now the published lexicon gave Jelica the basis for a new start. In 1902, she and her husband moved to the remote Bosnian town of Ključ, where Johann (Janko) had been reassigned after the events in Banja Luka. Jelica, now unemployed, began to cultivate her collections of Slavic needlework as a personal reinvention. Starting in that year, she began to reach out to both Serbian and Croatian cultural institutions, presenting herself as an expert in needlework and female domestic arts, offering to organize collections in Novi Sad, Belgrade or Zagreb. In addition, because the Bosnian Government had published only a limited number of lexicons (for local schools), she petitioned the editors (all men) at both Serbian and Croatian institutions of learning (Matica srpska in Novi Sad, and the Croatian Academy of Sciences in Zagreb) to take the manuscript for republication and wider distribution.

[…] I am again travelling throughout Dalmatia, doing research on national embroidery and weaving. From that neutral territory I can write without having any fear and having no spies around me.

In addition, she describes some of her small efforts at a museum in Zagreb and laments the situation of Germanic (meaning Habsburg) hegemony in museums and institutions in the Slavic lands. As a Croat, hence a Southern Slav, she is sensitive to prejudices expressed by a German-speaking bureaucrat at the Zagreb museum – attempting to enlist her reader into a shared sense of being patronized:

I wish I could send it [the publication] to you, but those generous gentlemen don’t give it even to me, the author. Not because they are ill-intended; they are very good over there, but because they are careless. Terrible. Museum Director [in Zagreb] is German, so no wonder. And, in addition to it, he is an artist, has a great spirit; -so for him all of these [Slavic folk designs] are just worthless things - “Slawisch?”, -says he „-Sie könnten genauso gut ägyptisch oder türkisch sein!” (Slavic? They might just as well be Egyptian or Turkish!) This is how he finds our beautiful art of needlework!

Jelica is offended at this bureaucrats’ lack of appreciation for the Southern Slav designs, certain that Đorđević would see it that way too. That a German-speaker from Vienna has this attitude is part of her growing national woundedness. Next, she asks Đorđević to comment on a small article on the Serbian national ornament she wrote and recently published in Novi Sad. Her resentment about Germanic (Habsburg) hegemony surfaces once again.

I kindly ask you, esteemed Sir, to feel free to expose [comment upon] my book, issued by “Matica srpska”: [it is entitled] “Serb embroidery and textile ornaments”. Do not brag about (recommend) me if there are no merits to it, but be a gentle judge. I am so happy that I have lived enough to see that work published! Now Germans won’t be able to say that everything belongs to them, and that we [Slavs] are […] some lowly nobody in everything. Would you please be so kind as to warn me of everything, let me know where I may have been inaccurate or unclear or where logic was missing? I am going to listen to you gratefully and wholeheartedly.

Jelica clearly wants both help and recognition from this man; she courts him as her superior. Finally, Jelica does the necessary female obeisance; she demonstrates her extensive practical experience while lamenting her lack of academic training. She also slips in a negative comment about her husband, possibly to emphasize that she works without the assistance of a man – thus bolstering her accomplishments. A woman like Jelica would have been obliged to show some degree of deference in this situation:

[…] I have also done research related to traditional folk costumes all over the world, in particular Slavic ones. Then I have also studied beliefs related to certain parts of costumes and embroidery, shirts, forehead jewelry, towels, scarves in all Slavs etc. It is good that I speak all Slavic languages, and, as regards foreign ones, I speak French, German (some English), Hungarian and Italian. But, I am so sorry that I don’t speak any Latin, Greek or Turkish, and my husband, jurist, has forgotten everything. So I often need help in finding appropriate terms in my scientific related field. I apologize, esteemed Sir, for such a long letter. I hope you will enjoy reading this.[5]

Her strategy worked. The result of this early letter was a long and friendly collaboration with Đorđević. Indeed it might have been more than that. Over the next decade, he became a true confidant and close friend whom she mentioned several times in her memoir and cited in some of her later published works. They became so close that he helped her frame her pseudonym, most likely taken from the names of his two nieces. In time, they shared intimated details of Janko’s illness and their own sexual needs with one another – (Tihomir was unmarried.) This was another aspect of her transformation from a repressed Catholic girl into a woman advocating openness and education in sexual matters. Their frank discussions, repeated in her Sarajevo memoir, were unusual for the time.

Belović-Bernadzikowska’s efforts to reinvent herself succeeded. In 1905, the Zagreb Chamber of Commerce invited her to organize the ethnographic materials of its new Trade Museum. She accepted the task eagerly; this was a significant step of recognition for her new path, particularly since she no longer resided in Croatia. Not only did she contribute dozens of items from her own collection, but she also successfully organized the new museum display and wrote its catalog.

Not everyone appreciated her efforts, however. She created several new enemies in Zagreb, who resented her intrusion into their territory. One of them was the businessman and folk art enthusiast Salomon Berger, who did not appreciate her intrusion into his own entrepreneurial craft schools. He accused her of meddling and of costing him the sale of an important collection that he was “forced” to donate to the state instead. The intersection of the folk arts, business, and national identity that characterized the world of industrial and trade exhibitions at the time was politically charged.

Nevertheless, the experience in Zagreb confirmed her new direction. Jelica spent the next several years engaging in extensive travels to attend conferences (such as the Lace Exhibition in Vienna: 1905), and to confer with local experts, collectors and teachers on matters pertaining to the Southern Slavic folk arts. With time, however, she found more appreciation in Belgrade and Novi Sad than in Zagreb. This enmity from other Croatians both embittered her and confirmed her bias against Habsburg rule. Only a larger reward, recognition from the international scholarly community outside of Zagreb could improve her standing, she believed. This is what Anthropophyteia meant to her. Thus, when, in 1909, Belović-Bernadzikowska made the acquaintance of Friedrich Salomo Krauss, the prominent, albeit controversial, Balkan ethnographer, she wrote to Đorđević. He replied positively:

[…] So, he [Krauss] has started writing to you. Wait, this is just the beginning. He is going to request more services. I know him quite well. I cannot complain about him. I have always been on good terms with him.

Did Đorđević arrange her introduction to Krauss? We do not know, but it is clear that he approved of their collaboration. It did not take long for Krauss, who appeared to admire her deeply, to invite Belović-Bernadzikowska to contribute to Anthropophyteia. It was Đorđević who proposed a pseudonym, Ljuba T. Daničić, for those articles.

Why was a pseudonym necessary, especially for a woman who craved recognition? It is difficult to answer this question, and I can only surmise that it was the deeply controversial status of Anthropophyteia that prompted this. For Belović-Bernadzikowska, who also wished to present herself as a reliable informant and a proper literary figure, to publish in a journal considered somewhat pornographic was a risk. But by 1909 Jelica was growing bolder; she did not have much to lose from her detractors in Zagreb and Sarajevo.

Friedrich Salomo Krauss and Anthropophyteia

Friedrich Salomo Krauss had been one of the earliest ethnographers in the territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Born in Slovenia and educated in Vienna, in 1885 Krauss was commissioned by the Viennese anthropological society to travel to Bosnia and conduct research on the local populations. To the Viennese, Bosnia presented a rare opportunity to observe primitive cultures very close to home. This was part of the colonizing rhetoric that accompanied most discussions of the Austrian civilizing mission in Bosnia after 1878.

Krauss’s results were sensational. Among other things, he developed a questionnaire for use among the local populations – a strategy that became standard among successive generations of ethnographers. Krauss was also respected for his unconventional methods (he often traveled in disguise to disarm the locals). His work in Bosnia established his reputation in Vienna. Nevertheless, in 1889 his Habilitation at the University of Vienna was rejected, and he did not obtain the academic position he desired. Krauss blamed the anti-Semitic atmosphere in Vienna for his failure to advance.[6] Krauss was highly respected but was never able to permeate the hermetic seal of Vienna’s university world. He continued to collect extant versions of the epic gusle songs and advocated their elevation to textual evidence for insights into the Southern Slavic world. It seems clear that Jelica would have understood his feelings of being persecuted and perceived as an outsider. She was not a Jew, but she was a woman.

Over time, Krauss’s outsider status led him in new directions. An avid follower of Freud’s ideas, Kraus turned to collecting ribald jokes, obscenities, graffiti, and sexual myths to document the sexual habits of the Southern Slavs. But his interests in this topic were global. In the spirit of Freud, Krauss believed that insight into all the primitive sexual practices across the globe would provide information about both the evolution of sexual mores and of humanity itself ultimately providing healing knowledge about sexual behavior.

This was a controversial proposition at the time, but Krauss treated the analysis of sexual practices as a scholarly endeavor, so in 1904 Anthropophyteia was established to that end. Access to the journal was limited, due to its sometimes prurient content (from the viewpoint of some observers). Indeed, Krauss and his contributors held nothing back in terms of both visual material and language, but all was done in a serious and scholarly manner. Anthropophyteia was, for its time, highly unusual but it had a range of scholars, including Freud on its masthead, and its scholarly backing was unimpeachable. But few women contributed to the journal.

Indeed, insofar as most serious and academic publications were edited by men, and given the inequality of education for women at the time (with notable exceptions), most women did not have the intellectual training to write in the academic world. This is certainly the subtext of Jelica’s lament that she could not speak Latin. In addition, the explicitly sexual and often obscene content of Anthropophyteia might have compromised any woman who contributed. But Jelica was clearly pleased by the respect that Krauss accorded to her and ambitious enough to respond.

Starting in 1909, Belović-Bernadzikowska contributed a total of four articles to Anthropophyteia. All of them were written in German – the primary language of her childhood. For her, recognition in such a scholarly venue, whose supporters also included Frank Boas, was a scholarly coup. To be included in a journal published in the German Reich was sure to impress the locals in Zagreb and Belgrade. In addition, the payment for these articles was both generous and timely. The articles she wrote for Krauss do more than demonstrate her local knowledge; they serve to illustrate her personal evolution into a new, more emancipated woman.


But her articles in Anthropophyteia, when compared to her memoir (completed before or in 1909), provide a new picture of herself and her childhood. While Jelica had already spent much of her life involved with handicrafts and textile ornaments, here she reinvents and embellishes her life in ways that that suit her new professional goals. We proceed with a discussion of three articles published from 1909 to 1913.

Article #1: “Erotische Einschläge in den Stickornamenten der Serben, Eine Folkloristische Studie“ Vol. VI, 1909.

Jelica’s title (trans: Erotic Elements in Embroidery among the Serbs: A Folkloric Study) was clearly crafted to appeal to the journal’s interests, but it was misleading. Where the reader might expect some new insights along the lines of a Freudian reading of symbols or explicit descriptions of erotic messages, Belović-Bernadzikowska remains more descriptive and comprehensive.

In Part I of the essay, she covers the happy motifs of love and affection. She assesses myriad forms of decorative needlework on shirts, skirts, belts, kerchiefs, caps, scarves, and bedding, writing, for example: “The pillow decorated with vines evokes erotic dreams, thus fulfilling its purpose.”[7]

She is particularly skillful in providing evidence of the use of ornament by invoking the folk songs of the Southern Slavs. In the round dance, a Slavonian embroideress sings:

Pillow, colorful with vine ornaments
What did you dream, dearest?

Your lover dreamed
That you were for his sake – hey![8]

Using such literary comparisons, mostly derived from publications by either F. S. Krauss or the great early ethnographer Vuk Karadžić (whom she aspired to emulate), Jelica covers diverse ornamental motifs and symbols, emphasizing their heavy stylization and decoding the special indicators of spells, flirts, curses or love potions.

She peppers the narrative with precise descriptions: “this was told to me by an old woman in the village of __”, or “the young women of __ told me the following”, and so on. No doubt she included such declarations to give credibility to her comments and to establish her as a competent informant.

She dutifully records the various references to love in the language of flowers, particularly those stitched on a handkerchief or a small cloth given to a love interest. She describes, for example, the rose, the lily, and the carnation, but she refrains from explicit descriptions. The small embroidered cloth was apparently the most widespread token of affection among the illiterate population, the equivalent of the note, the postcard, or the photograph, among city dwellers. Indeed the cloth was also a metaphor for unfaithfulness in the saying that “he was found holding an unknown cloth”.

In Part II of the essay Jelica describes more gruesome topics such as love potions and curses inflicted upon untrue lovers or unwanted husbands. She provides recipes for love amulets and potions involving excrement and the ashes of kittens and bats. Still, however, she remains ladylike; she does not permit herself to use the exact local language when explaining more unseemly matters. Here Krauss inserts an editorial footnote to excuse her delicacy:

One can generally say that the nomenclature of women’s language is much more chaste than that of men. Women love to express things in a flowery way, while men crudely go ahead.[9]

More revealing, however, are her remarks of self-disclosure regarding her gathering of evidence and her own development. The secret world of peasant women’s love potions and curses was not easy to enter. As an educated, middle class, city woman, Jelica had to work hard to gain the trust of her confidants. Like Krauss, she found an effective disguise: she posed.

I saw hundreds of these designs from all over and seldom did I find a young girl who did not understand their meaning. They do not like to talk about them; often joking and mistrustful, they give out false information when asked and it is not easy to gain insight into these sweet secrets. I found a proven way to soften their hearts however, and learned much: I pretended to be unlucky in love and therefore won their sympathy and hearts – meaning their help, in order to win happiness in love (which is) their highest aspiration. I spent endless hours and many nights with these often hot-blooded creatures, complaining about my imaginary suffering and sharing in theirs. In this way I learned the wonderfully beautiful national embroideries of the Southern Slavs […].[10]

Jelica was proud of her ethnographic method – having taken her cue from the examples of men like Krauss or the British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton, who had faked his way into Mecca.

This was not merely a pose, however. Jelica did not need to pretend about the pain of love, she knew of it first hand, for in Ključ, Janko had become unfaithful to her. Consider an episode from her memoir that describes her life in Ključ after her “retirement”:

I was looking forward to leaving Banja Luka (1902), filled with my enemies and bloodhounds – but Ključ was a genuine Siberia. A well-known “Strafstation” [penal station], and the people there were in accordance with that. The district chief was a drunkard, in a late stage of delirium tremens (one year after we had arrived, he was exiled from Bosnia); the doctor and the judge were insolent Jews, ripping off people and immoral “en gros”; the other bureaucrats were rude drunkards, the people of the lowest sort.

That company had a bad influence on Janko: he started drinking again. Moreover, the immoral women (wives of the judge […], and the official […]) had much influence on him, since they were frequenting small inns with men, satisfying the drunken demands of the gentlemen. They carried out their nasty craft without any decorum, and, on an occasion when I left for Zagreb for 14 days, they came to our house, to Janko, by themselves and uninvited. They were two elderly women without any shame, almost crazy about my Janko. He was the most handsome man in Ključ, and he had been faithful to me until then, but he was too weak to push them away entirely. That caused me so much sorrow. And he put a lot of effort to resist, poor man.[11]

Jelica had first learned of her husband’s illness, tabes dorsalis, in 1898 – during her time of crisis involving Dlustuš. She was unaware of its link to syphilis at the time, however, and the diagnosis helped to explain her infertility in the first years of her marriage. Writing about it in her memoir, in 1898, she said:

One thing was a constant source of my sorrow: I had no hope of becoming a mother. I was physically healthy, although rather weak, and the specialist had said it was not my fault. My Janko was apparently healthy, but the fault was his. He had tabes! If a child had come to my life, I would have been so happy! It would have received all of my overflowing tenderness, and all my hopes would have been channeled into it. The way I was, I was never completely happy or calm, because I had not become a mother.[12]

But later, in 1902, she blames Janko’s unfaithfulness in Ključ for the worsening of his symptoms, although his degenerative condition would have developed either way. What is odd here is her distress at Janko’s behavior, particularly given her long and public entanglement with Dlustuš before. We do not have enough evidence to know the inside of that marriage, however; but whatever she might have felt for Janko before was gone.

Those unsatisfied sexual affects had caused the appearance of one of the most horrible illnesses: he had spinal sclerosis (Tabes), which had been in him for 16 years, according to the court advisor Neusser in Vienna, and which might have been concealed for maybe 5-6 years more. One more trouble, in addition to all others. Oh, God, why did you put so much burden on my shoulders? I did not have anyone to talk to in Ključ […].[13]

In any case, after the events of 1901 and 1902, she did not have to pretend very hard to present herself as a woman unlucky in love.

In another article she describes another set of inconveniences involving her husband. Although she has changed his character into that of a houseguest, rather than her husband, we encounter the charms and talismans of one of these “immoral women” in pursuit of an unrequited love.

There was, at this time, still a great chasm between Jelica’s feelings toward sexual behaviors in her personal life (or Janko’s) and among the women she studied. Her own sexual code is still naïve and deeply strict; but she idealizes the putative “Slavic Woman” and her capacity for sexual joy. Indeed, Jelica was dogged in her ambition to gain access to the secrets that linked embroidered work to the love and erotic charms of the Southern Slav. In her mind, the Southern Slavic woman was especially obsessed with matters of love and eroticism, something she wanted to bring, uncorrupted, back into the lives of modern women. Why?

In idealizing rural, folk life, Jelica had a romantic tendency to gloss over the past, to make it charming and naïve. This was consistent with the gendered nature of women’s songs and poems themselves in the literature of the time. But at another level, Jelica is also troubled with the differential of power in the lives of rural women.

Patriarchy ruled the countryside, where women counted for little. Thus their world of flowered embroideries or magic potions concealed a harsh reality. She knew that the many of the Southern Slavic ornaments transcended the contemporary confessional divisions of women (Bosnian, Serb or Catholic); girls and women from all three confessions used many of the same designs. And in all three confessions the unmarried girls who practiced this embroidery shared one thing: an inability to exercise much control over a future husband and, with that, the entire trajectory of their lives. In the end, all girls lived in fear and hope; hope for the happy outcome of an unchosen fate.

Fear, deep fear, was the source of the love charms and incantations practiced by all women, for their most common shared fate was the potential of suffering at the hands of the men in their lives. What a waste of female intelligence and ability. Jelica recognized that in a world where the fate of young women was controlled by men, their best and highest hope was to be lucky in love and marriage. There were no other options for women in traditional societies. Hence the innumerable spells and charms for luck in love, to attract the eye of the desired mate, to strain against the implacable fate of marriage and motherhood (with all its perils) that awaited them all. What appeared to be a charming art form of decoration was also an earnest plea for luck in a hostile and unpredictable world.

Indeed, one of Jelica’s greatest insights begins as she steps out of her scholarly posture – and begins to express empathy for her subjects. Despite their beauty, despite their scholarly significance – all of these ornamented objects – everything from hankies to shirts or pillows and blankets for the marriage bed, from curses and love potions to revenge potions for a lost love – these were all part of women’s attempts to control an uncontrollable existence, a signpost of shared suffering in a world where women had no real say in their shared fates.

One thing we can see clearly: the hand that pulled the threads trembled with grief and sorrow, so that the soul that inspired the designs shook with horror of curses, frequent convulsive woes, and suppressed love-passion.[14]

This is a feminine move, perhaps, but Jelica’s passion for ethical and social reform is gaining the upper hand. Despite her gender, Jelica’s reinvention in her first article for Krauss established her as a rational and scholarly contributor to the journal. This recognition outside of Croatia and Bosnia was important to her – and the prompt payment from Germany gave her confidence as a recognized journalist in matters of women’s domestic arts. Her subtexts, however, reveal just how well she understood the plight of women in her world. Now she is close to the nub of the problem.

Article # 2: “Das Hemd in Glauben, Sitte und Brauch der Südslaven.” Antrhopophyteia, 7, 1910.

The second article, published in 1910, focuses on the myriad uses of the peasant shirt; that all-purpose, everyday garment, woven of linen and flax, which served as the basic article of clothing for both men and women in the countryside. Here Jelica includes both an extensive discussion of the shirt and this many occasions of use in the life cycle – marriage, birth, death, sleep, and work, and a description of the folktales and folk songs involving shirts and other articles of clothing.

But, more importantly, she begins with a fantasy involving her which reveals her methods of positioning herself as an expert.

The magical beliefs of my homeland encircled my childhood, just like the belief in ghosts, because our normally very reasonable nanny (Teresia Moslavac, the wife of a shoe maker in Osijek), used her hundreds of magical stories to awake and nourish them in me. The grisly spells of love and faithfulness that our “baba” (our name for the nanny) told us in the twilight in the kitchen often made my hair stand on end, but never made me truly fearful, just curious. I wanted to know more and more about the poetic magical place of Southern Slavic dreams of love and faithfulness. Without having any understanding of erotic love at the time, I found a great deal of pleasure in the revelations, and my good nanny never became too tired to tell me new, unheard stories – she also sang the most beautiful love songs that sprang from the Slavic heart.[15]

(55) Although I saw no magical creatures [as a child], I did see something. I gained pleasure in observing the folk ways, to which I remained true in my adult years. One of the richest sources of information about these ways can be gained through the study of the shirt in the beliefs of the Southern Slavs.

The shirt of the child, the bride, the young man and the old woman! […] I learned very early how difficult it is to know the deepest and darkest feelings of a people. But it was my baba who imparted this knowledge to me from the moment of my first swaddling, creating impressions that, by the time I was ten years old, were part of my consciousness.[16]

In these paragraphs, Jelica presents herself as a true insider to the folklore traditions of the Southern Slavs, seemingly swaddled in them from birth. This is a lie. Her memoir depicts a loveless home with an embittered mother. The dark and dank two-room cottage she shared with her mother and two siblings was set at the back of a courtyard behind her Grandfather’s middle class home. They were rarely invited inside, and Jelica’s account is one of endless spite and limited intellectual horizons. She did not discover any fairy stories until she learned to read on her own.

In constructing her idealized childhood, Jelica presents herself as part of the more cultured literary circles among Serbian women – such as the famous Savka Subotić, whom she admired deeply for several years before they met in Sarajevo in 1906. Subotić, an elderly lady of considerable social stature, left a great impression on Jelica, and the younger woman quickly established her as an “ideal” to emulate.

It was Subotić’s characterization of an idealized Southern Slavic womanhood that Jelica took to heart. This was the aura Jelica wished to create for herself while she wrote on ethnographic topics. In admiring Subotić, Jelica placed herself in between the modern, outwardly motivated ideals of western feminism that emphasized equality with men and the more traditional “difference” feminism that emphasized the woman’s unique biological function as a mother and guardian of the domestic flame. In her younger days, Jelica had a great deal of idealism about the woman’s role from her Croat upbringing; and she easily transferred these feelings to a woman like Subotić. And the elder woman’s fondness and acceptance meant the world to Jelica. But Jelica, less polished and far more needy that Subotić, was never able to reconcile her own feminine rage. Jelica faced deep contradictions in her growing feminism. She wanted full professional, legal and financial equality with men – alongside a world of genteel refinement, art, and high ideals.

And she was busily creating that latter feel in her own work. Consider this description of a group of women from the countryside around Ključ: here she showcases her skills as a reliable ethnographer in the household, a domain where men could not gain entry.

One summer day in Ključ, a group of women came to my home. There in the quiet room with the shades drawn, they showed me their shirts and quietly explained their meanings, showing me their female and sexual symbolisms. I, in turn, showed them my collection of shirts and embroideries.[17]

The quiet intimacy of this domestic scene emphasizes one of her methods of gaining the trust of her informants. But the sexual symbolisms of the shirts she describes remain demure, involving themes of fertility, faithfulness, or love. But this story feels inconsistent with her earlier, negative descriptions of Ključ as a “genuine Siberia, a punishment”, filled with people of the lowest possible morals. What a contrast she presents. In her memoir she described Ključ as a barren place – where Janko had succumbed to the immoral behavior of his peers. Now she presents it as a genuine site of ethnographic research. Both accounts could be true; there is nothing to suggest that Jelica’s ethnographic research could not have occurred in the depressing environment she describes. Yet the spirit and tone of the two accounts could not be more different. Jelica presents herself as a noble-hearted ethnographer in the midst of general bureaucratic debauchery and the ruin of her husband. The gaps in the stories make the stakes for Jelica seem more urgent.

By the time she submitted her third article to Krauss in 1913, Jelica’s life had changed in another important way. Longing for a child of her own (as proof of her motherly instincts) and betrayed by Janko’s syphilis, she took matters into her own hands. In May 1910 she was a prominent authority for a Serbian Women’s Art exhibition held in Prague. That summer of 1910 she became pregnant, giving birth to a son in March 1911. The child was baptized as Janko’s and given the Polish name of Ladislaus, but it seems doubtful that Janko was the father – given not only his medical condition but also Jelica’s antipathy toward him. And Jelica, for her part, called the child by the Southern Slavic name of Vladimir (Vlado). Nothing was said. But Vlado’s birth testifies to several more changes in Jelica’s life that moved her toward more sexual emancipation than we might have expected.

It is likely that Jelica’s sexual evolution first began in Ključ, when she found Janko openly unfaithful to her. But, by 1909, as she is finishing her memoir, she is aware of the relationship between tabes dorsalis and syphilis.

I spat in [my husband’s] face yesterday. It is not enough that I suffer because of his illness, but I need to go through this as well. He knows well that he married me as a pure girl. He dragged his strength and health through the worst mud, and he has made both him and me infinitely miserable, without a word of regret […].[18]

Now her anger was clear; she is not only enraged at his dishonesty coming into the marriage, but also about the consequences of a life with a man in a painful degenerative condition. She resents the fact that she did nothing to deserve this.

The social systems of both patriarchy and the middle class ideal of female innocence had dealt her (and many others) a cruel blow. Her personal circumstances were indicators of the growing need for social and sexual reform for both men and women. Thus, during the period when she was writing for Krauss, Jelica was reacting against the sexual double standard of her time. Her hatred of her husband grew and she was also compelled to re-examine the ideas of sexuality, eroticism, and love that had been forced upon her as a girl. This required a reassessment of the prudery of her upbringing and the ideals of sexual innocence she had been taught.

For many years, Jelica had been an advocate of education and greater opportunity for women. Her teaching career was infused with the ideals of creating a generation of educated women and she was confident about the ongoing and upward progress of women in Western Europe. She saw herself as an ambassador of that ideal to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now, however, she begins to consider female emancipation in the sexual realm as well. She took matters into her own hands to gain the child she craved and she cast her net far and wide in pursuit of her reforming ideals.

Always the moralist, Jelica was now becoming a social critic. She was disgusted with the commonplace forms of marital infidelity she had seen among the officials in Sarajevo, which she regarded as another proof of the overall corruption of Bosnia’s rulers. In her memoir, she described the debauchery of Austrian bureaucrats and the “institutional prostitution” of their wives:

Most married women in Sarajevo have “her men”, i.e. someone (whom they change often) who buys her toilettes and gives her money for “groceries” and “tips”. That is why even the highest of our officials are in huge debts. The huge salaries, huge bribes (they take) and large amounts they steal are not sufficient to cover the expenses of such a life. E.g. Hörman, Dlustuš and Trešćec owe a lot of money to the baker, butcher, greengrocer, etc., and people often sue them when they do not pay. They are not ashamed of that. And those people have the yearly income of 20.000 crowns, and above. And if only there were just a bit of love in those relationships! It is all about the base sexual lust toward this woman today, the other one tomorrow. What difference does it make then: night-shift waitresses or bureaucrats’ wives! What is the difference? Bigger change – nothing but that; but that includes larger expenses. It is quite clear that such men cannot be the objective bosses, true patriots, decent citizens and honest bureaucrats: public servants. That is why there is such a huge campaign against Serbs and Srpska riječ, because that magazine unmasked those people openly, stating their names, starting with Hörman and continuing with all others. So many people suffered from the revenge of those “powerful people”, losing their bread, service, money, etc. Allegedly [the rulers call them] “politisch verdächtig” (political suspects) – but in truth, just because of the personal revenge of those they told the truth about. That is what the cultural mission of Austria in Bosnia looks like: its price is immorality and the poisoned youth of my people. Before Austria came, there had been no immoral women and syphilis in Bosnia. Today, they both play the leading role here.[19]

Jelica writes a bitter indictment against not only middle class marriage and life among the higher circles of Sarajevo, but also against the entire tenor of Habsburg rule.

Her personal dilemma cut her to the core. She had been “good”. She had maintained her morality, (or so she believed) but to what end? A husband with syphilis who robbed her of motherhood? That was not a good bargain either. The notion of marriage as trade between the sexes was in need of re-thinking. Almost against her will, she is forced to conclude that the entire system of courtship and marriage is in need of radical change.

I find today’s men ridiculous, when they brag that they can “have nine women on each finger”! What a strange thing to brag about! Just as well, any woman that wants to pay could have ten men on each finger! Isn’t that trade exactly what is pitiful in today’s love life? Let me hear a man showing off with just one single selfless female love, with a love without trade, and yet strong, ecstatic, sweet. And, let me see a woman who has a lover (it does not have to be her husband) who does not give her anything but love, nothing more than what she gives to him; a lover who respects her after “having her”, and who is certain that she is honest without calculation and faithful without control (even though she could be unfaithful if she wanted to, because other men like her too). I will look at that couple with admiration, and I will believe that they love each other. But I do not know of any such couple from the people I know, whether it is a married couple or a couple of intelligent lovers. I do not know of one such couple![20]

Here Jelica states another emancipatory ideal for women (and men): a relationship of love between two equal and independent souls. A woman who, unfettered of pecuniary need or social mores, remains faithful, even when she could do otherwise “because other men like her, too”. A man who loves without expectation or control. Such a relationship, even if it occurred outside of a conventional marriage, was the best, most moral arrangement between a man and a woman.

That caveat, outside of marriage, is the watershed of her beliefs on sexuality. In this she upsets the conventions of her time. She has come a long way from the prudery of her childhood. She recasts sexual behavior in more modern terms and has dispensed with the romantic ideals of her girlhood.

Her emerging convictions on these matters find a quiet expression in another essay from Antropophyteia; this one published in 1913.

Article # 3 “Erotik und Skatologie in der südslavischen Küche” Vol X, 1913.

This article, with a distinctively unappetizing title, “Eroticism and Scatology in the Southern Slav Kitchen” covered the various magical symbols and ingredients by which practitioners (mostly women) in the countryside attempted to influence their fates. Such potions and practices were common in early modern Europe; a distinctive Balkan characteristic was that these traditions and remedies were still practiced in the countryside – despite the modernization processes introduced by the Habsburgs.

Once more, Jelica provides a treasure trove of old sayings, ethnographic techniques, and folk magic in search of the Slavic “soul”. And now she is more open to sexuality; eroticism is, to her, a manifestation of true Southern Slav nature. She does not condemn it, nor does she react prudishly to women’s attempt to secure pleasure in their marriage bed.

This is another confrontation with her own growth and identity; she is now prepared to admit to the power of sexual desire in a woman’s life. She is arguing in favor of acceptance of the erotic as part of the female (particularly the Slavic woman’s) core identity along with the proper education for girls. She has now accepted the latest scientific findings on female sexuality.

Here she repeats some of the familiar love potions and curses she has presented before, reminding her readers of the traditional curative or erotic power of certain herbs and flowers. But her subtext is something altogether different – ‘Why’, she asks, ‘do women resort to magic and spells in matters of love at all?’

Her answer to that question is both empathetic and emancipatory. Women in the countryside are desperate for love because their lives are defined by the men who are their masters in all things. Women have no agency; they cannot choose their fates, and their gender dominates their destiny. The widespread misery of women in the countryside was something she could not ignore. Even as she attempted to praise their handiwork as a treasure trove of Slavic identity, she could also see the idiocy of rural life.

With no education, with no future, girls and women in the countryside were bound by magic in an attempt to influence their own lives. A spell for a good husband, or healthy children – with what else could a woman defend herself from the vagaries of life?

But the larger message of her analysis concerns the fundamental powerlessness of women who needed to resort to such measures. Their fate determined by the patriarchy of their culture and their subjection to the men in their lives, women were pressed to secure their private lives as best they could. Such was the plight of women in her homeland(s). In concluding her essay she describes magic as the expression of existential desperation:

“In all this we see the fundamental scream of a Woman – to be loved.” What other choice did the women of the Southern Slavic world have?


In the course of her life, Jelica was forced to reconcile her childish dreams with the reality of a world of male privilege. This was a costly learning process. In the period between her memoir composed from 1907 to 1909 and her articles in Anthropophyteia, written just a few years later, we see the failures and reinventions of Jelica’s career as a female ethnographer.

This essay has compared stories she told in both sets of writing. On the one hand, she gazed into the abyss of patriarchy, and experienced its horrors – despite her educationboth in her career and marriage. On the other, she aspired to the genteel and refined life of the educated and refined lover of the Southern Slavic myths and fairy tales. Her struggle to gain a reputation as a serious-minded ethnographer forced her to navigate between these extremes. Her fairy tale world of nannies and nursery tales masked her experience in the underbrush of her surroundings. Such are the stories we tell to survive. In the end, she transcended some of the more common sexual mores of her time to seek motherhood, perhaps erotic fulfillment, and perhaps love, from someone other than her husband. This radical step led her into new personal and public roles.

Jelica’s prestige grew in the summer of 1913, with the publication of Srpkinja, the almanac of notable Serbian women which she helped to edit. In Sarajevo, the publication of such a collection, composed in Cyrillic, could only be regarded as highly suspect by the local authorities. At the time, it was further confirmation of her growing distance from the pro-Habsburg administrators of Bosnia, many of whom were her countrymen – Croats. But she was forging a new path.

With the death of her husband Janko in October 1913, Jelica finally gained a new measure of personal and financial freedom. A mother, a financially independent woman, a recognized journalist (at least outside of Bosnia) she was free to create her world as she saw fit; she now had that “room of her own” all female writers need.[21]

And so she charted a new course. Shortly after the death of Janko, she wrote to the Serb educator and women’s rights activist Arkadije Varađanin in Novi Sad. The letter was long, and she informed him of Janko’s death, her subsequent conversion to the Orthodox faith, and her plans to leave Sarajevo in the coming months. After “erecting a monument to her husband”, she wrote, she “had no plans to remain in Bosnia”.[22]

Jelica knows what she is doing: she is ready for another reinvention and a new life. At the time of her letter, Varađanin was both the editor of Ženski Svet (Woman’s World) and the secretary of Matica srpska. Jelica had known him for many years, no doubt, as she published other small articles in Novi Sad. Now she offers to sell her substantial collection of textiles to Matica srpska for a reduced price, and she suggests that the institution set up a small textile museum for her to curate there. She clearly hopes that Varađanin’s influence can help her to leave Sarajevo. This was a sensible choice for a (now widowed) disaffected Croat, and pro-Serb woman. Although still within the Hungarian half of the Habsburg Empire, Novi Sad and Matica srpska had been a literary and cultural center for Serbs for many years; the town was far enough away from Jelica’s enemies, the secret police, and her past in Sarajevo.

Jelica had made her choice: she had chosen a Serb path into the future. This final rejection of her Croat upbringing and religion marks the end of her first life as a patriotic and compliant Croat-Catholic woman. She had suffered numerous betrayals at the hands of the Croat patriots within the Austrian government; she had witnessed their injustice to Serbs and Muslims; and she had lost all of her youthful ideals. Whether her new sympathy with the ideal Slavic womanhood she saw among Serb feminists would last, she could not know. But she was convinced of one thing: Austria should leave Bosnia. Since that was not happening; she chose to leave instead.

And this is the remarkable thing: Jelica, once a schoolteacher, was part of the system that created the youths of Young Bosnia and the resentful assassins of June 1914. She never met these students, but she, as an educated, literate observer in Bosnia, came to empathize with their cause in her own way. Her remarkable transformation away from the pro-Habsburg and Croat nationalism that shaped her young life is part of a larger discussion on the mutability of national identity in the region before 1914.

But Jelica’s dreams were on borrowed time and the few months between Janko’s death and the outbreak of war in August 1914 might have been among her happiest as she stood poised between past and future. In an unpublished article, Jelica described the evenings of gusle music in her Sarajevo garden before the war:

My Guslar, Niko Todorović, often came to my small quiet villa to sit under the apple tree and sing his songs. He often included some lyrical lines in his epic to predict the future fame and honor of my little Vlado or of myself:

A leader of women, learned and known the world over
Within her city there is no one to compare with her
May God forgive all her sins,
And guarantee her a place in His paradise![23]

Jelica’s idyll did not last. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 caused riots in Sarajevo that affected many of her Serb friends; the unrest that ensued made it impossible for her to relocate. One year later, Jelica and her son were evacuated to Osijek; they did not return to Sarajevo until January 1918.

At the end of the war Jelica lost her financial security, her pensions, and Janko’s inheritance in the collapse of the Dual Monarchy. At 49 years old she was forced to begin again – reinstated as a teacher in Sarajevo in service of the new Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. But that is another story.

[1] My thanks to Aleksandar Gašić, Kemal Abdić and Dijana Hadžiahmetović for their help in translation of Jelica Belović-Bernadzikowska (Ljuba T. Daničić), Memoari (Historijski arhiv Sarajevo: Privatna zbirka, O-Bj-86-17) [Hereafter cited as Memoir], and other sources.
The author wishes to thank Point Loma Nazarene University Research and Special Projects (RASP) program for its support for travel and other aspects of research on this topic from 2005 to 2016.
I also wish to thank Prof. Biljana Dojčinović and the scholars at the University of Belgrade for the opportunity to present an earlier version of this project at the University of Belgrade in November 2016.

[2] Ljuboje Dlustuš (1850–1921). Born in Croatia, Dlustuš was a schoolteacher before relocating to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he eventually became Minister of Education for the occupied territories. He retired and returned to Osijek in 1910.
In her memoir, Jelica writes that he first wrote to her in 1894; they exchanged letters for more than one year before she accepted a teaching position in Bosnia. “And those letters were encouraging that belief in a new and enchanting way. They were written by a man who was more highly educated than any of my other male acquaintances. Then: his poetical tone, a tone of a fatherly friend, a tone of idealism – all that had captivated me. He was sending me many books and pedagogical magazines. Every two or three days, I received something from the Government advisor Ljuboje Dlustuš, “to the excellent writer, Jelica Belović”. No wonder I believed that he was my charming “prince”, who was meant to save the princess from her curse and misfortune one mystical night.” [Memoir, sections 264–65]
It seems clear that Dlustuš admired her and probably became deeply infatuated with her; and she with him. But Jelica’s memoir does not reveal the depth of their intimacy.

[3] Letters and complaints about her difficulties in Banja Luka are as follows: ABiHPräs. 1901:32.968, 3011901, 1901: 21.555. For the diagnosis of “hysteria”, see ABiH 1902; 199150

[4] Jelica Belović-Bernadzikowska, Leksikon: Građa za tehnološki rjeċnik ručnog rada (Materialien für ein technologisches Wörterbuch der Handarbeiten, Beilage zum Školski vijesnik). Im Auftrag der bosn. Herzogl.Landesregierung Sarajevo, 1898–1906.

[5] Serbian National Library. Letter from JBB to Tihomir Đorđević; dated 13 August 1902.
My thanks to Maša Miloradović, Head of Special Collections of the Serbian National Library for finding this letter.

[6] For Krauss, see Raymond L. Burt, F.S. Krauss (1859–1938) Selbstzeugnisse und Materialien zur Bibliographie des Volkskundlers, Literaten und Sexualforschers. 1990.
Christoph Daxelműller, „Friedrich Salomo Krauss (Salomon Friedrich Kraus(s) (1859-1938)“. In: Völkische Wissenschaft. Gestalten und Tendenzen der deutschen und österreichischen Volkskunde in der ersten Hälfte des 20 Jahrhunderts, Wolfgang Jackobeit (Wien, Köln, Weimar: Böhlau, 1994) S.461–476.

[7] “Der Polster mit den gestickten Rankenornamenten rief erotische Traüme hervor. So erfüllte er seinen gewollten Zweck”, “Erotische Einschläge”, in Antropophyteia (1909), 65.

[8] Im Regien singt eine Stickerin in Slavien:

Poster bunt mit Rankenzier;
Was hat, Liebster, dir geträumt?
Deinem Liebsten hat geträumt,
daß du ihm zuwillen warst, hei!

In: “Erotische Einschläge”, Antropophyteia (1909), 66.

[9] In an effort to explain Jelica’s choice of words, Krauss writes: “Mann kann auch sagen, daß die Nomenklatur der Frauensprache durchwegs züchtiger ist als die der Männerwelt. Frauen lieben es, sich verblümt auszudrucken, won der Mann großschlachtig darauf los geht.” “Erotische Einschläge”, in Antropophyteia (10) (1909), 80.

[10] Ich sah zu hunderten solcher Muster [...] und fand selten ein Mädchen, das die geheime Liebesprache solcher Botschaften nicht verstünde. Sie sprechen nicht gerne davon, geben euch zum Scherz und aus Mißtrauen oft falsche Auskunft, wenn man sie darüber befragt und es ist nicht leicht, in diese süßen Geheimnisse Einsicht zu bekommen. Ich fand aber ein probates Mittel um ihre Herzen zu erweichen und so erfuhr ich vieles: ich stellte mich selber unglücklich in der Liebe und gewann so ihr Mitleid und ihre Herzen, d.h. ihre Hilfe, um wieder Glück in der Liebe zu erlangen; das Höchste das sie kennen. Endlose Stunden und viele Nächte verbrachte ich mit diesen oft heißblütigen Geschöpfen, ihnen mein imagines Leid klagend und zum Trost das ihrige teilend. So lernte ich die wunderbar schönen Nationalstickerein der Südslaven kennen [...].” “Erotische Einschläge”, in Antropophyteia (1909), pp 86–86.

[11] Memoir, 346. [see above]

[12] Ibid., 304.

[13] Ibid., 348.

[14] Eines ersieht man sicherlich: daß die Hand, die sie ausgezogen, vor Gram und Leid gezittert, daß die Seele, die sie inspirierte, vor Grauen vor Verwünschungen, vor häufigem krampfhaftem Weh und zurückgedrangter Liebeleidenschaft gebebt hat. “Das Hemd in Glauben, Sitte und Brauch der Südslaven”, in Antropophyteia 7 (1910) 54-125, 77.

[15] Ljuba T. Daničić, “Das Hemd in Glauben, Sitte und Brauch der Südslaven” in Antropophyteia 7 (1910) 54–125, p. 54.

[16] Ibid., 55.

[17] Ibid., 99.

[18] Memoir, 389.

[19] Ibid., 405

[20] Ibid., 406

[21] Sonja Dujmovic, „Pogledi Jelice Belović-Bernadžikovske iz njene bosanske Sopstvene sobe“, in Bosna i Hercegovina u okviru Austro-Ugarske 1878–1913, uredio Zijad Šehić (Sarajevo: Filozofski fakultet, 2011), 481–502.

[22] Matica srpska, Letters of Jelica Belović-Bernadzikowska: MS 15.682 (dated October 1913). My special thanks to Ognjen Karinović of Matica srpska for his assistance in the letter archive. My thanks also to Katarina Radisavljević, Museum of Vojvodina, Novi Sad, for her help in access to the legacy of Jelica Belović-Bernadzikowska.

[23] UCLA Special Collections 996, FS Krauss Collection Box 1, SLAVENART, Folder 10. Neunter Beitrag. Der Guslar von Jelica Belović-Bernadizikowska; handwritten manuscript.


Belović-Bernadzikowska, Jelica. “Der Guslar“, UCLA Special Collections 996, FS Krauss Collection Box 1, SLAVENART, Folder 10. Neunter Beitrag [manuscript].

Belović-Bernadzikowska, Jelica (Ljuba T. Daničić). Memoari. Historijski arhiv Sarajevo: Privatna zbirka, O-Bj-86-17.

Belović-Bernadzikowska, Jelica. Leksikon: Građa za tehnološki rjeċnik ručnog rada. (Materialien für ein technologisches Wörterbuch der Handarbeiten, Beilage zum Školski vijesnik.) Sarajevo, 1898–1906.

Belović-Bernadzikowska, Jelica. Letters. ABiHPräs. 1901:32.968, 3011901, 1901: 21.555; ABiH 1902; 199150 [manuscript].

Belović-Bernadzikowska, Jelica. “Erotische Einschläge“, Antropophyteia 10 (1909).

Belović-Bernadzikowska, Jelica. Letters of Jelica Belović-Bernadzikowska. Matica srpska: MS 15.682 [manuscript].

Belović-Bernadžikovska, Jelica. „Pismo Tihomiru Đorđeviću“, Narodna biblioteka Srbije. ТЂР 6264/51/1 [manuscript].

Burt, L. Raymond. F.S. Krauss (1859–1938) Selbstzeugnisse und Materialien zur Bibliographie des Volkskundlers, Literaten und Sexualforschers. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1990.

Daničić, T. Ljuba. “Das Hemd in Glauben, Sitte und Brauch der Südslaven“, Antropophyteia 7 (1910), 54–125.

Daxelműller, Christoph. „Friedrich Salomo Krauss (Salomon Friedrich Kraus(s) (1859–1938)“. In: Völkische Wissenschaft. Gestalten und Tendenzen der deutschen und österreichischen Volkskunde in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts, Wolfgang Jackobeit. Wien, Köln, Weimar: Böhlau, 1994. S.461-476.

Dujmovic, Sonja. „Pogledi Jelice Belović-Bernadžikovske iz njene bosanske Sopstvene sobe“, u Bosna i Hercegovina u okviru Austro-Ugarske 1878–1913, uredio Zijad Šehić, 481–502. Sarajevo: Filozofski fakultet, 2011.

Diana Reynolds-Cordileone
Point Loma University
San Diego, USA

UDC: 929 Беловић-Бернаџиковска Ј.

Original scientific article

Reinventions: Jelica Belović-Bernadzikowska’s Ethnographic Turn[1]

Jelica Belović-Bernadzikowska’s (1870–1946) life and work provide considerable insight into the conditions surrounding the new types of professional women of the early 20th century. Her extensive published work transcended categories of pedagogy, social commentary, feminism and ethnography and appeared in a variety of formats from fiction to academic writing. This essay deals with a brief portion of Belović-Bernadzikowska’s life; the period from 1902 to 1914, in which she successfully transformed herself and her public persona from a schoolteacher in the schools of Bosnia and Herzegovina into a respected ethnographer and expert on women’s textiles. This was not a voluntary transformation; she was forced into a new career in 1902 when she was relieved of her position as a teacher by the Provincial Government. How she accomplished a professional reinvention is the topic of this essay; but she experienced other personal and political changes as well – including a rejection of her native Croat patriotism in favor of greater sympathy with the Serbs. These reinventions took several years, but a significant signpost of her growing success appeared in 1909. At this point she began to write for the scholarly (albeit controversial) German-language journal, Anthropophyteia, published by the renowned Balkan ethnographer and sexologist Friedrich Salomo Krauss. With a growing reputation outside the Slavic lands, Jelica was on her way to achieving the academic, scholarly acclaim she craved. For a time, she hoped to break through the gendered barriers that restricted female writers among the Southern Slavs.

Кључне речи:

reinvention, Jelica Belović-Bernadzikowska, ethnography, emancipation, sexology

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