In an Introduction printed only in the first edition of this popular work, the gifted author took the reader into his confidence, and explained that, as nephew of Dr Bodinus, he passed his early days in the Berlin Zoological Gardens. Here he came into constant contact with Eskimo, Laplanders, Indians, Bedouins, and Blacks, and thus gained the sympathy and even the love of these primitive peoples. The knowledge in this way acquired of their feelings, temperament and views of the world soon satisfied him that the pictures of savage life painted for young and old in such current literature as Cooper's novels and the like are untrue to nature, and, in fact, for the most part "frauds." Convinced by his youthful experience that the "one touch of nature" was the key to the interpretation of all human activities, of all the outward manifestations of the mental qualities of the rudest no less than the most cultured races, he forthwith resolved to approach the study of mankind and his manifold faculties from this new standpoint, and devote all his spare hours to this, for him, all-absorbing subject.
But, after much groping in the dark, and many more or less successful essays, he found that no real progress could be made without first bringing together the necessary documents, that is to say, the "raw materials," the endless products especially of infantile crafts and industries, from the four quarters of the globe.