Before and after the First Opium War, missionary printers such as Samuel Wells Williams collaborated in publishing millions of pages while striving to augment the Mission Press’s technological capacities in South China. The monthly Chinese Repository (1832–51) is one result of his extraterritorial print endeavors and holds great potential for new scholarly directions in American studies. Consider the journal’s 1850 republication of two thirteenth-century letters by ruling khans to the king of France. They are topically fascinating for proposing a Franco-Mongol alliance against Islam in a war for Jerusalem. However, the letters’ typographical appearance is more important: they appear in traditional Mongolian script, rendered from metallic Manchu fonts. The present article explains how these letters’ appearance reflects the international circuitry of American extraterritorial printing, the world historical scope of missionaries’ evangelical print ambition, and their awkward accommodation of free trade imperialism in China. Finally, the letters’ republication registers the term Mongolian as a cultural and racial category with enduring significance for Williams. The term resurfaced in state and federal policies restricting Chinese immigration—policies that Williams protested in writings that register both his racialist sense of culture and his disillusionment with print evangelism in the aftermath of the Taiping Rebellion.


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