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Int. J. Middle East Stud. 41 (2009), 203–224.

Printed in the United States of America


Nile Green

J O U R N E Y M E N , M I D D L E M E N : T R AV E L ,
T R A N S C U LT U R E , A N D T E C H N O L O G Y

Let not the PRINTER now be lost to Fame, or pass unnotic’d and without a Name.
Mathews’s Bristol Guide, 1819

Within a few years of 1820, Muslim-owned printing presses were established under
state sponsorship in Iran, Egypt, and India, marking the true beginning of printing
in the Islamic world. Printing projects had been initiated before this period—most
famously by Ibrahim Müteferrika (1674–1745) in Istanbul—but these were isolated
and unsustained ventures.1 None gathered the joint momentum of state support and
technological transfer to compare with what emerged simultaneously in Tabriz, Cairo,
and Lucknow. In attempting to understand the common processes behind this “triplet”
birth of Muslim printing, this article reconstructs the small circle of individuals whose
at times discordant projects collided in creating a sustainable Muslim print tradition in
several distinct centers around 1820.2
Moving the spotlight from the Mediterranean setting that has long dominated discus-
sion of early Muslim printing, here the focus turns toward Iran. The reasons for this
are partly heuristic: in the travelogue of Mirza Salih Shirazi (d. after 1841) we have an
incomparable firsthand account of the circumstances surrounding the transfer of printing
to Iran that we lack for Egypt or India.3 However, there are also substantive reasons
for this Iranian focus in that the development of Muslim printing in Tabriz preceded by
several years that of Egypt’s better-known pioneers at Bulaq and the less famous state
press of Nasir al-Din Haydar at Lucknow. More importantly, the Iranian case highlights
the emergence of patterns that appeared in the other Muslim printing zones around the
Mediterranean and Indian Ocean.


If we have pointed to a divergence with earlier scholarship on the timing and geography
of Muslim printing, it is also worth clarifying this article’s relationship to the existing
literature on printing and modernity. The most important influence here has been Eliz-
abeth Eisenstein’s work on the printing “revolution” in Europe, which frames a set of

Nile Green is Associate Professor in the History Department at the University of California at Los Angeles,
Los Angeles, Calif.; e-mail:

© 2009 Cambridge University Press 0020-7438/09 $15.00

204 Nile Green

discussions placing the printing press as a technological agent of change in not only the
dissemination but also the nature of ideas.4 Eisenstein has had two principal influences on
the historiography of Muslim printing. The first of these is a search for correspondingly
“modern” or “Protestant” responses to the impact of print on traditional epistemological
or otherwise religious forms by way of the privatization of reading, the rejection of
traditional religious authorities, and the emergence of individualizing religious trends.5
The second has been a penchant for the kinds of longitudinal surveys by which patterns
of change become “visible” over extended periods of time.6
Although certainly addressing the distinct forms of modernity present at the birth of
Muslim printing, this article adopts the somewhat different approach of focusing in detail
on the short period of key convergences and the human agents (and motives) behind
the spread of the technology around 1820. In contrast to the longitudinal approach, this
helps isolate a distinct “modernity” in illo tempore and prevents us from merging it
into longer-term trajectories (or teleologies) of the modern. What emerges from this
sharper focus is a less familiar modernity predicated on the transnational networks of
technologically astute evangelical Christians and “transcultural” Asian middlemen. A
focus on how printing did (rather than did not) spread among Muslims also helps move
discussion from a tired debate emphasizing the “obstacle” to technological change posed
by either Islam in the abstract or the –ulama» in the concrete, allowing us to account for
the mutability of religion and culture as negotiable and transformable forces in the lives
of the actors directly involved in early Muslim printing.7
Although still dealing with the relationship of printing to the familiar abstractions of
“modernity” and “religion,” the method here is to approach the beginnings of Muslim
printing through the more tangible criteria of technology transfer: the movement and
interaction of a definable circle of men and their machines.8
Here the article draws on recent models of the cultural analysis of technology transfer
that emphasize human-scale “microsites,” “enclaves,” and “microcultures.”9 Its pri-
mary focus—and argument—is on the emergence of a distinct class of cultural and
technological middlemen, typically in government employment, who used the new
diplomatic relations that emerged from the Napoleonic “global war” to travel to specific
European cities and acquire there both the printer’s skills and machines. In looking at
several of these journeymen—a word used in its literal sense as apprentice printer and
figural sense as working traveler—the article draws attention to the repeated presence
of transculturalism as the necessary qualification for success.10 These processes were
already taking shape in the “experimental” period of Muslim printing: Müteferrika was,
after all, a Hungarian Christian convert to Islam who migrated to Istanbul, drew on
the ambassadorial secretary Sa–id Shalabi’s 1741 tours of Paris’s printing houses, and
imported his own press from France.11 Müteferrika’s Istanbul press therefore represented
the Mediterranean prologue for the global expansion of Muslim printing around 1820,
in which other journeymen and middlemen played the key roles.
Although focusing primarily on the Iranian evidence for such middlemen, the article
also considers the birth of Egyptian, Lebanese, Indian, and Malay Muslim printing to
demonstrate the larger patterns that the Iranian case foreshadowed. The answer to how
these traveling middlemen succeeded is found in the small scale of the circles in which
they moved in Europe, circles in which their transcultural “qualifications” afforded them
access to printing as well as to other elements of the “new sciences.” Here the article
Journeymen, Middlemen 205

draws out the distinctive and often contradictory agendas of printing’s demand side (of
middlemen and statesmen) and supply side (of entrepreneurs and evangelicals). The
patterns that emerge from the numerically small but global circles that fostered Muslim
printing point toward the ambiguously connected forces that helped nurture a multisited
and contemporaneous modernity.

J O U R N E Y M E N , M ID D L E M E N : T H E C U LT U R E O F T H E

Because early 19th-century European science was embedded in a cultural and indeed
Christian framework, it was necessary for men like Mirza Salih to presage their tech-
nological training with strategies of self-transformation aimed at rendering them mid-
dlemen equipped to move between not only different knowledge systems but also the
distinct social circles in which this knowledge circulated in England and Iran. It is worth
emphasizing here the importance to the foundation of Muslim printing of our emblematic
journeyman, or traveling printer’s apprentice. By sending a person to acquire skills as
well as machines, the state sponsors of men like Salih addressed a perpetual problem
in the transfer of technology: the uselessness of machines without men trained to use
them.12 This human dimension to technology transfer is apparent in the discussion that
follows of Salih’s access to the small social group that controlled Arabic-script printing
in England, pointing again to the microhistorical scale on which the abstractions of
“modernity” and “science” should be understood.
We now turn to the substance of our investigation by reconstructing the profile of one
of the two founding figures of Iranian printing, Mirza Salih Shirazi. Although Salih has
long been known as cofounder of the Iranian printing industry and founder of Iran’s
first newspaper, the circumstances in which he learned about printing have remained
sufficiently obscure for him to garner little more than a mention before details of the
later and better-documented period of Iranian publishing.13 The son of a local notable
from Shiraz, Salih was probably born around 1790 and in his youth became attached
to the court of the modernizing Qajar prince, –Abbas Mirza (1789–1833), governor
of Iran’s threatened northwestern provinces along the Russian border.14 Although it
was in London that Salih eventually learned the skills of the printer, his first exposure
to Europeans and their “new knowledge” (–ilm-e jad ı̄d) came in Iran when, in 1810,
he acted as secretary to Henry Lindsay-Bethune (1787–1851), infantry commander of
–Abbas Mirza’s new model army.15 In 1812 he was attached to the embassy of Sir Gore
Ouseley (1770–1844), traveling with the British party for part of its journey through
Iran and recording its stages in an informational travelogue that he presented to Sir
Gore’s brother and secretary, the pioneer orientalist Sir William Ouseley (1767–1842).16
During his time with the embassy, Salih compiled an example of what, along with the
travelogue, became the key literary genre to emerge from the international collaborations
that disseminated print, namely, the language guide.
In Salih’s case, this meant the composition of a set of Persian sentences—questions
one might address to a servant (nawkar), clerk (munshı̄), or gardener (bāghbān) and
the corresponding answers one might (hope to) receive; they were given English equiv-
alents by William Ouseley’s assistant, the East India Company scholar William Price
(1780–1830).17 On his return to England, Price published two editions of these Persian
206 Nile Green

Dialogues in joint Roman and Arabic type, featuring the Iranian’s name (“Mirza Sauli”)
as coauthor.18 Through his work on a hybrid English and Persian “middle text,” which
belonged to a new genre forming the literary expression of the middlemen’s transcultur-
alism, the collaboration that underwrote the emergence of Iranian printing thus saw Salih
involved in printing projects that spanned an axis linking Iran with India and England.
Collaborating in Iran with Britons trained in India, he wrote a Persian manuscript that
was carried to England and printed there in Persian type developed a generation earlier
in Calcutta.19
Already exposed to the ways of the English, Salih made an excellent candidate when
Prince –Abbas Mirza decided to send students to England to pursue the new sciences
he saw as essential to the defense of the realm. In 1815, Salih set off with three fellow
students under the protection (mihmāndārı̄) of Joseph D’Arcy (1780–1848), who as part
of the new military order (niz.ām-e jadı̄d) had been training –Abbas Mirza’s army.20 By
building on clues in Salih’s journal of his residence in London, the following sections
reconstruct the circumstances surrounding his acquisition of print technology and his
transfer of it to Iran.21 In a travelogue intended to be instructive, Salih makes clear the
cultural transformations and compromises his mission required. Given the framework
of modernity in which discussions of printing are typically placed, the religious nature
of Salih’s apprenticeship is, however, surprising.
It seems that Salih originally intended to study at Oxford, probably not realizing prior
to his actual visits to Oxford and Cambridge in 1818 and 1819 that, as the training
grounds of clergy and squires, the universities held in patrician disdain the mechanical
arts in which Salih’s sponsors were interested.22 Before realizing this, Salih embarked
on learning Latin, partly because it was a requirement for university entrance and
partly because it still held such sway over European learning and the classes among
which it circulated. More surprising is Salih’s study of Anglican theology, in particular
the fashionable writings of William Paley (1743–1805), which were also becoming a
central part of the university syllabus. According to a report in The Times from 1818,
“Saleh . . . has read Paley’s Natural Theology; and both [Salih and his fellow student
Mirza Ja–far] are curious in their inquiries as to this department of our literature, as well
as that of ethics.”23 As rationalizing theologians like “watchmaker” Paley attempted to
square the new episteme of observation and reason with the doctrines of the church,
England’s scientific modernity was still intimately entwined with theology.
Salih’s fellow traveler, Mirza Ja–far, sent to study engineering in England, was exposed
to a no less religiously embedded science. His mentor and mathematics teacher at
the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich was Dr. Olinthus Gregory (1774–1841). In
addition to his mathematical and astronomical writings, in the year of the students’
arrival he published Letters to a Friend, on the Evidences, Doctrines, and Duties of
the Christian Religion, in which he attempts to refute the rationalizing turn of Paley’s
Natural Religion.24 Salih’s journal records both students being regularly chaperoned by
Gregory, blending their exposure to scientific principles with a peculiarly evangelical
The circles in which Salih acquired his Latin, English, and theology are still more
revealing of the cultural preamble to his access to print. His journal records how between
1816 and 1817 he studied under a “Mistar Bissit” in Croydon.26 The teacher in question
was the Reverend John Bisset (d. 1852), a provincial clergyman who ran a private
Journeymen, Middlemen 207

“gentlemen’s academy” in the small town of Croydon, to the south of London, where
he was also master of the Whitgift School.27 From descriptions of Bisset’s Academy,
as well as Salih’s own description of adopting English dress and his knowledgeable
“how-to” account of English manners, it becomes clear that the qualifications for his
entry to the social circles of scientific learning involved mastering the accomplishments
and protocols of the English gentleman.28 This was, after all, the whole point of Bissett’s
Academy, an institution that afforded provincial middle-class English youths access to
the universities and professions through a program of acculturation to dominant social
norms that was fundamentally similar (if less radical) to that it gave Salih. The program
was a success: English-newspaper reports praised the polish of Salih’s manners, and the
letters he wrote his British friends show a fine command of English prose even by the
eloquent standards of the age of Hazlitt.29


With the Ouseley embassy in 1812, Salih and his sponsors had made contact with
some of the leading patrons of Arabic-script printing as it was developing in London
in the early 1800s.30 Through his monographs and journal, The Oriental Collections,
Sir William Ouseley was an important promoter of Persian typography; in 1815 Sir
Gore Ouseley was instrumental in printing the revised Persian New Testament and
distributing it in Iran, where it was shown to Fath –Ali Shah, who offered “a decided
testimony” in its favor.31 When Gore Ouseley became the vice president of the British
and Foreign Bible Society (henceforth the Bible Society) in 1816 after his return from
Iran, Salih found himself acquainted with the most important institutional sponsor of
Arabic-script printing of the age.32 Indeed, Gore had rescued from Iran Henry Martyn’s
Persian translation of the New Testament and carried it to Saint Petersburg for printing.
In England, Salih also established contact with Cambridge professor Samuel Lee (1783–
1852), who was designing Arabic and Persian type for his evangelical translations of
tracts and scripture.33
Through their connections to the Bible Society, Lee and Ouseley played a central role
in Salih’s access to print. In addition, during his time in Croydon in 1816, Salih also met
scholars from the East India Company’s military seminary in neighboring Addiscombe
and briefly studied with John Shakespear (1774–1858), whose Dictionary, Hindustani
and English appeared in 1817 using the new Persian type.34 These connections link
Iranian modernity to an axis of personnel and technology that through the evangelical and
administrative enterprises of an emerging imperial order materialized between London
and Calcutta in the early 1800s.
In 1817 and 1818, Salih visited several of the industrializing mills and factories that
were appearing in towns like Bristol (where printing was also “very extensively done”35 ).
At one point, he inspected a paper mill outside Oxford that contained one of the earliest
examples of the Fourdrinier machine, which by industrializing paper production enabled
the vast global expansion of newspapers from the 1820s.36 Then, in what must have
struck his aristocratic English friends as the eccentric step of abandoning his aspirations
of study at Oxford, in early 1819 Salih became the understudy of a London printer,
to whose premises he described himself traveling daily.37 Having reached London a
208 Nile Green

Persian mı̄rzā and left Croydon an English gentleman, Salih now transformed himself
into one of the revolutionary tradesmen of the industrial age.
One of the key problems with Salih’s journal is the varied transliteration of English
names in its different editions, variations that result from the unclear orthography of the
original manuscript. These issues surround the identification of the printer to whom Salih
apprenticed himself in 1819: Ghulam Husayn’s edition has “Mistar Dans,” but other
editions give the name as Vans/Wans or Vals/Wals.38 From the hundreds of printers
known to have been active in London in 1819 whose names and trading details are
recorded, only one name fits both the orthography and Salih’s statement that his printing
master had printed translations of the New Testament in Persian, Arabic, Hindustani (i.e.,
Urdu), and Syriac.39 This was the oriental language printer, typesetter, and type-caster
Richard Watts (d. 1844).
Although not suggested by the modern editors of Salih’s journal, the name Watts is
no less consistent with the original manuscript than the other suggested readings.40 The
other main printers in London at this time who worked with Persian type were William
Bulmer (d. 1830) and Vincent Figgins (d. 1861), and we can discount any connection
with either because they printed secular works rather than Bibles. Watts is thus the only
identification that fits with the extensive evidence on the London print trade. By 1819 he
had already made his name as a printer of the Bible in the languages Salih listed. Indeed,
Watts was the oriental printer for the Church Missionary Society (CMS, founded 1799),
the Bible Society (founded 1804), and the Prayer Book and Homily Society (founded
1812); he was closely associated with Salih’s friend Gore Ouseley, who, as vice president
of the Bible Society and a scholar of the languages in which Watts printed, was in regular
contact with the printer.41 He also worked closely with Salih’s two university associates,
John David Macbride (1778–1868) of Oxford and Samuel Lee of Cambridge. With its
location at the junction of the Strand and Fleet Street, Watts’s Oriental Type-Foundry
on Temple Bar was on the same street as Northumberland House, the home of Salih’s
other friend, Hugh Percy (third duke of Northumberland, 1785–1847), with whom he
recorded spending a good deal of time in the months of his apprenticeship.
If Salih’s cultural skills had allowed him to develop the necessary social connections
to fulfill his goals, it is worth pausing to consider the motives of Watts. Here we need to
look at his background and the nature of his trade. Watts began his career at Cambridge,
where between 1802 and 1809 he held the office of university printer.42 Cambridge was
already a center of the emerging evangelical movement: the Persian translator of the
gospels, Henry Martyn (1781–1812), had turned missionary in its evangelical circles, in
which Salih also moved during his own Cambridge visit of 1819. It was amid this pious
atmosphere that Watts made his name when, in 1806, he and his successor as university
printer, John Smith, issued the Bible Society’s launch book, a cheap New Testament
in Welsh.43 Through Cambridge’s small evangelical circle, Watts came into contact
with professor Samuel Lee, who had a tradesman’s background before his extraordinary
language skills brought him to Cambridge under CMS sponsorship.44 After his tutelage
with Welsh, Watts established his reputation not only as a meticulous scripture printer
but also as a caster of non-Roman type, beginning with Greek and progressing through
Syriac and Arabic to “Ethiopic” and an eventual total of sixty-seven type sets.45 In 1809
he left Cambridge to set up his own workshop in Broxbourne and in 1816 established
himself in the premises where Salih knew him on London’s Temple Bar, a short walk
Journeymen, Middlemen 209

from the Bible Society’s headquarters at Bible House. From here in 1818 he used his
Persian type to print Henry Martyn’s Hindustani/Urdu prayer book for the Homily
Society, a project that may have attracted Salih to him.46
In 1819, the very year in which Salih was apprenticed on Watts’s premises, the latter
published an Urdu New Testament using an expanded version of his Persian type.47 The
work was done under the supervision of Watts’s and Salih’s mutual associate, Professor
Lee.48 Another mutual associate, Professor Macbride, oversaw an Arabic Psalter through
publication by the Bible Society with Watts as the printer.49 Then in 1821 Watts printed an
Arabic translation of the New Testament with the title Kitab al-–Ahd al-Jadid, which was
also corrected by Lee.50 Because there is evidence that Salih may have been involved
in Lee’s biblical translations, it is possible that Salih may have played some role in
Watts’s editions of Lee’s Persian Psalter and New Testament, which finally cleared the
press in the early 1820s.51 He would not have been the only one of –Abbas Mirza’s new
men brought into such projects: on his way back from Iran in 1815, Gore Ouseley had
persuaded someone by the name of Mirza Ja–far to correct the Persian New Testament,
which he then helped the Russian Bible Society print in 1815. (This was possibly the
Azeri scholar Mirza Ja–far Topchibashev [1790–1868], although it is worth noting that
in 1824 Salih is also reported to have sent a Mirza Ja–far to bring a lithographic press
from Saint Petersburg.)52
It is unfortunate that Salih recorded few details of his dealings with Watts other than
that he went to his premises every day for the last six months of his stay in London.
Although we can reconstruct in detail the mechanical aspects of Salih’s apprenticeship,
from oiling and repairing the press to preparing the paper and setting the matrices, this is
less relevant than the other work in which Salih may have engaged with Watts.53 Given
that in taking on an apprentice a master printer expected help in return for training, we can
assume there was something in the arrangement for Watts as well as Salih. Here his skills
as one of the ahl-e qalam, men of the pen, would have proved useful. As Leslie Howsam
noted, the Bible Society drew London’s transient foreign population into its projects:
“The community of foreigners in London extended to reliable translators, editors, and
printers who could be entrusted with work that the English-speaking members of the
Committee were not qualified to oversee.”54 We know that other “transcultured” Muslims
were occasionally employed in Watts’s workshop, as in the case of Sullivan Law Hyder,
the son of a writing master at the East India College, Ghulam Haydar (d. 1823), and an
Englishwoman.55 On his father’s death, Sullivan (also known as Sulman, i.e., Sulayman)
was apprenticed to Watts for five years before being sent to work as a printer in Calcutta
in 1831. With the skills in Persian orthography Sulivan had learned from his father,
he must have been a useful understudy for Watts, who was always in need of skilled
calligraphers to prepare the originals for his type.
Such collaboration is scarcely surprising, because for all his technical skills as an
oriental printer, Watts could not actually read any of these languages and often relied on
scholars like Lee and Macbride to check the accuracy of his copy.56 However, on a day-
to-day level, the professors were not at hand in Watts’s workshop when such familiarity
with the language being printed was no less crucial. Here it is helpful to differentiate
between two distinct elements of printing, namely, presswork (which requires technical
skill but no familiarity with the language being printed) and typesetting (which requires
the compositor to have at least basic familiarity with the language, especially with
210 Nile Green

cursive scripts like Arabic).57 In other words, in an echo of the language books like Salih
and Price’s Persian Dialogues, such printing ventures typically demanded collaborative
One solution to the problem of finding such collaboration was to outsource oriental
printing to locations with easier access to native scholars, a decision that in turn helped
further disseminate printing into Muslim regions. With the establishment of the CMS’s
Arabic press in Malta and the Bible Society’s collaboration with the Serampore Baptist
Press near Calcutta, this was exactly what happened.58 However, during Salih’s years
in London, such opportunities were still limited through the concentration of Arabic-
script printing technology in London. We cannot be sure whether Salih helped Watts as
Sullivan Hyder did, but with Watts working on several Arabic-script publications during
Salih’s apprenticeship, it is hard to imagine him not making use of the skills of the mı̄rzā
(secretary, notable) by way of recompense for his training.
Although Salih did describe Watts as a Bible printer, he did not mention that he worked
on behalf of the new missionary organizations.59 In terms of scale, the Bible Society
was the most important promoter of Arabic-script printing anywhere in the world at this
time.60 Before a single book had been printed in Iran, 5,000 Persian New Testaments
were printed by the Bible Society in Saint Petersburg in 1815; by 1825, more than
20,000 Persian, Arabic, and Urdu scripture books had been issued from London.61 The
Bible Society was at this point pushing Arabic-script printing to levels of precision and
production that far outstripped even the East India Company’s printers. The Bible was
not only a huge book but also one to be typeset and printed with the most scrupulous
We should bear in mind the economic impact of the Bible trade on London’s publishing
industry: in the year of Salih’s apprenticeship, Leigh’s New Picture of London (printed
at number 18 the Strand, a few doors away from Watts’s office) celebrated the fact that in
the previous year the Bible Society had published no fewer than 123,247 Bibles!62 The
foreign Bible industry into which Salih was inadvertently drawn was very big business
indeed.63 In terms of print runs and numbers of pages Salih thus found himself in what
was in 1819 the biggest center of Arabic-script printing in the world. Far from the old
story of religion disabling technological progress from the Muslim side, this presents a
more complex picture of Christian religious zeal enabling Islamic print modernity in a
period more usually associated with the “secular” imperialism of Napoleon. Although the
later role of Protestant missionary societies in the history of printing in the Arab Middle
East is well known, Salih’s time in London predates even the earliest such ventures with
the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.64 The connection between
an Iranian middleman and two professors, a diplomat, and a printer all associated with
the Bible Society is clear evidence of the evangelical circumstances in which print
technology was transmitted to Iran.
Let us now widen our focus to see Iranian printing in the context of the rapid global
spread of printing in the early 19th century, when a whole series of Asian, American,
and Australasian regions acquired printing presses for the first time. The early 19th
century was a period of intense industrial competition between England and its rivals,
in which the export of both machines and trained apprentices was subject to state
control. This regulation of technology—and its subversion through smuggling and illegal
emigration—was an important factor in the dissemination of industrial technologies in
Journeymen, Middlemen 211

the early 1800s, not least in the spread of new technologies to North America, a factor
placing Iran’s modernizing ventures in a global context.65 Although Salih makes no
explicit confession of smuggling in his journal (we can hardly expect that he would), the
circumstances he describes exporting his printing press suggest he might be considered
alongside other traveling industrial “smugglers” of the period, such as the pioneer
American mill owner Francis Cabot Lowell (1775–1817).
This is how Salih’s journal records events. A cheap printing press and Arabic type
were purchased on his behalf by Watts and Gore Ouseley. Then, although the press was
acquired in London and Salih shortly embarked from London’s docks, he did not collect
his press and other scientific equipment (including a telescope, the result of meeting the
astronomer and lens grinder William Herschel) until several days later at Gravesend on
the coast, at which point he immediately set sail for the continent and his voyage home.66
The seaside transaction crops up in the journal because Salih complains that the man
who delivered the equipment charged far more money than arranged, leading to a costly
argument. The episode thus begs the question of why Salih did not save himself the
trouble and expense by loading his machines in London in the first place. In view of the
legal context, one answer is that he deliberately bypassed the customs house at the port
of London by employing a smuggler to bring his machines to the coast, an arrangement
with shady characters that had the predictable consequence of costing more money than
If state regulation formed a potential check on technology transfer, developments in
technology enabled printing presses to circulate more efficiently. Having looked at the
social and political dimensions of the birth of Islamic printing, we must now turn to
the technological dimensions of Salih’s and his contemporary journeymen’s success.
This technological factor also helps explain the importance of the years around 1820 to
Islamic printing. The key development here was Lord Stanhope’s invention in 1800 of the
freestanding and portable iron handpress and the rapid and repeated improvement of his
prototype by imitators over the next two decades. (Stanhope deliberately left his invention
without patent.) The new handpresses revolutionized printing by simplifying the range of
required skills and speeding up the printing process. Mass production reduced their cost,
and these durable all-in-one machines could be purchased and transported whole rather
than constructed on location. With an industrial infrastructure capable of producing such
cast-iron presses on a profitable scale, early 19th-century England became printing’s
world center of industrialization, tying London to a new global network of not only
printers but also designers of printing equipment.
Again, the American dimensions to this process place Iranian printing in its proper
global context. In the same year that Salih was apprenticed to Watts in London, the
Scottish traveler John Duncan was exploring the industrializing towns of the United
States and employing a style of technological diary keeping that reflects Salih’s accounts
of England’s mills and factories.67 Just as Salih recorded in detail the print runs of London
newspapers, in Philadelphia Duncan took notes on the city’s newspapers, book trade,
and “the finest and most accurate specimens of typography that have yet appeared in
America.”68 In addition to Duncan connecting Philadelphia printers with London, in
1817 the city’s most important print mechanic, George Clymer (1754–1834), moved to
London to register the patent of his Columbian handpress and use England’s greater
commercial and industrial base to expand his business.69
212 Nile Green

Salih did not detail which brand of press he exported, but based on the types of portable
iron handpress available in London at the time, it is likely to have been one of the various
versions of the Stanhope or else a Columbian.70 Such new iron handpresses formed the
technological dimension of the rapid global expansion of printing in the early 1800s as
versions of them were carried to Malta, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, the Crimea, India, and
the Malay peninsula as well as (and in some cases before) Australia, New Zealand,
South Africa, and Canada. It is no coincidence that fifteen years after Salih left Watts’s
workshop for Iran, Watts’s later apprentice William Colenso (1811–99) sailed to New
Zealand under the auspices of the CMS. Like Salih, Colenso also carried a portable
Stanhope press and within a few months of his arrival in 1835 printed in Maori the first
ever book in New Zealand, the Epistles to the Ephesians and Phillipians.71 To complete
the small global circle of these printing pioneers, the basis for the Maori translation and
type had been laid by Salih’s collaborator Samuel Lee in a Maori grammar printed in
1820 by Richard Watts.72
The case of another transcultural Middle Easterner who entered the same circle in
which Salih was moving illustrates the global collusion of evangelicalism, travel, and
the new technology. In spring 1819, as Salih worked daily in Watts’s workshop, an
Arab traveler claiming to be the Syrian Arab archbishop of Jerusalem appeared in
London to ask for help in printing Christian texts. An assembly gathered in response
at the Freemason’s Arms tavern off Covent Garden (a ten-minute walk from Watts’s
workshop): there were Samuel Lee; the president of the Bible Society (and former
governor general of India), Lord Teignmouth; and the Philadelphian inventor of the
Columbian press, George Clymer. Together they pledged support that included one of
Clymer’s new handpresses, which the “archbishop” was able to transport to the Levant.73
In technological terms, the timing of the rapid diffusion of printing in the Islamic world
around 1820 had much to do with the invention of such robust, portable, and relatively
inexpensive presses and their production on an industrial scale. However, mechan-
ical ingenuity needed evangelical enthusiasm to spread the new portable presses to
A converse side of the rapid technological change of the early 1800s also contributed
to the diffusion of the handpress—the device’s swift obsolescence in industrial centers
like London with the rise of steam-powered machine printing in the 1810s and 1820s. In
the first two decades of the 19th century, Stanhope and his imitators had manufactured
thousands of handpresses for book and newspaper publishers in London and exported
many others under license to Europe. However, London’s major publishers began to
switch over to steam-powered machine presses, with The Times newspaper leading the
way in 1814.74 As other publishers made the same switch in the 1820s and later, hundreds
of redundant handpresses flooded the London market and were shipped to the continent
and beyond. In the autumn of 1819 Salih stood at the cusp of this wave and so recorded
his purchase through Watts and Ouseley of a used handpress for what struck him as a
surprisingly good price.


Having followed how print technology was transferred to Iran, we now address what
this transfer of technology was intended for by considering the overlapping and at
times conflicting projects of the small circle from which modern Arabic-script printing
Journeymen, Middlemen 213

emerged. Immediately striking about this collision—and perhaps collusion—of agendas

is how a state-sponsored Iranian mission to acquire new knowledge was enveloped
in a British project to turn technology toward the conversion of the Islamic world
through Bible printing on a massive scale. We have already seen the likelihood that,
like other native-language assistants, Salih offered service to the printer Richard Watts
as a reciprocal part of his training. The details in Salih’s journal of meetings with Lee
and Macbride, the leading translators of the Bible into Arabic and Persian, suggest that
like other Muslim scholars in Britain at the time (such as Mirza Khalil of the East
India College), Salih was also drawn into translation work.75 The men Salih described
as helping him acquire his skills and printing press—the Bible Society’s vice president
Gore Ouseley and its printer Watts—may have harbored hopes that Salih would continue
their efforts in Iran. As we have seen, Gore Ouseley had already persuaded Mirza Ja–far
in Saint Petersburg to correct Henry Martin’s Persian gospel, and the Bible Society
later sponsored him to translate the Old Testament.76 We hear hints of such collusion
in Salih’s case in the memoirs of the evangelical “bluestocking” Hannah More (1745–
1833), whom he visited in the hamlet of Barley Wood near Bristol. An English memoir
of the meeting records how
Mrs. More presented her new Persian friends with her work on Practical Piety, which they declared
they would translate into their language immediately on their return home, and that it should be
the first work which should bring into exercise the knowledge they had acquired of the art of
printing, and employ the printing press which they were carrying back into their own country.77

This recorded conversation suggests Salih was not above making the evangelicals
promises he did not keep. As to whether such promises also underwrote his entry
to Watts’s workshop, we can only speculate. However, the overall picture of Salih being
drawn into an evangelical printing agenda is clear.
What can we say in return about the aims of Salih and his state sponsors in acquiring
print technology? Here, too, the picture is more complex than may first appear given
a long-standing historiographical trend identifying Iranian printing with an agenda of
secularizing modernism.78
There is evidence to support the idea of newspaper printing (i.e., a government gazette)
as a major Iranian aim in acquiring printing; after all, Salih earned his fame by founding
the first Iranian newspaper in 1837 called simply Kaghaz-e Akhbar (newspaper).79
Salih’s travelogue shows a keen awareness of the newspaper’s power. After shocking
a crowd in Cambridge as he apparently rose from the dead after a carriage crash, for
instance, Salih wrote to the local newspaper asking its editor to refrain from printing
any account of the embarrassing episode.80 Such was the rarity of an Iranian visitor
to England that Salih and his three fellow students had already been featured in the
English press, which a few years earlier had garnished every hint of society gossip about
the Iranian ambassador, Mirza Abu al-Hasan.81 Salih also spent his apprenticeship with
Watts on the edge of Fleet Street as it entered its golden age as the home of England’s
newspaper trade.82
For his part, Salih’s state sponsor, –Abbas Mirza, regularly received positive coverage
in The Times, and evidence suggests that Salih played some part in this. On 12 April
1819, for example, an article in The Times praised –Abbas Mirza’s “intercourse with
learned Europeans; his speaking the English and French languages very fluently.” All of
this suggests –Abbas Mirza’s awareness of the newspaper as a useful political tool and
214 Nile Green

Salih’s familiarity with the international public sphere that the newspaper formed seem
to have helped him become –Abbas Mirza’s private secretary after his return home.83
Salih’s travelogue shows his (and presumably his sponsor’s) desire to gather facts about
newspapers: he wildly estimates the number printed every year in Britain at 25 million
and describes how up to sixty “advertisements” (an innovation for which he borrowed
the English word) could be placed alongside journalistic content to provide revenue to
proprietors and the government through taxation.84
Yet it was not until January 1837, eighteen years after he apprenticed himself to
Richard Watts, that Salih issued Iran’s first newspaper. Published from Tehran, Kaghaz-e
Akhbar lasted for only one issue, although five months later he launched Akhbar-e
Vaqa»i– (Current News), which became Iran’s first regular newspaper. When it too
ceased publication after three years, no newspaper took its place for another eleven
years.85 The earliest surviving record of either newspaper is a sample issue of Akhbar-e
Vaqa»i– from Muharram 1253 (April/May 1837) that Salih sent to the Royal Asiatic
Society in London, reflecting his friendship with several of its founders (including Gore
Ouseley) as well as a desire to advertise Iranian “progress.”86 Its contents demonstrate
the ends to which Salih—by this time still in government service—put the skills he
learned among England’s evangelicals. Because of state usage of the press, most of the
content concerned foreign and domestic politics, with an emphasis on Iran’s international
relations: the return of an ambassador from Istanbul, the arrival in Bombay of a steam-
powered British warship (kishtı̄-ye jangı̄), and a party at the British embassy in Tehran
for the birthday of William IV.87 However, the evangelical origins of Iranian printing
remained present in a report that Mirza Sayyid –Ali of Shiraz, the unpaid munshı̄ who
helped Henry Martyn translate the gospel, was to receive a belated gift of a hundred
pounds sterling from the Bible Society.88 If the evangelical connections of Iranian
modernity have since been forgotten, they were present—indeed newsworthy—for its
actual participants.
If newspaper and scripture suggest a neat dichotomy at the birth of Iranian printing
between a religious British agenda and a secular Iranian agenda, the true picture was
more complex. By turning back to the very first items printed in Iran at the time of
Salih’s apprenticeship, we see how Iranian printing also belonged to the distinctly
religious modernity of the early 19th century. It is unfortunate that, for all Salih’s efforts,
bibliographers have been unable to recover any book issued from his printing press
except a possible Gulistan of Sa–di reported by one scholar to have been printed in
Tabriz in 1828.89
To examine the purposes to which the first Iranian printing presses were put, we must
turn instead to his contemporary, another government servant called Zayn al-–Abidin,
who in 1816 brought a press from Saint Petersburg, where he had likewise been sent
by –Abbas Mirza to study printing. Although al-–Abidin left no travelogue of his own,
evidence suggests he too was exposed to the same economy of Bible printing that
characterized Salih’s apprenticeship. In the years directly before al-–Abidin’s journey,
British evangelicals founded the Russian Bible Society in Saint Petersburg, where we
have seen Henry Martyn’s Persian New Testament being published with a print run
of 5,000 copies in 1815.90 Bible Society records show how it was eagerly distributed
to the eastern fringes of the Russian Empire, including the Iranian cities of Rasht and
Tabriz, where Iranian merchants bought it in large numbers.91 Bearing in mind the utter
Journeymen, Middlemen 215

novelty of a Persian printed book before any such thing was printed in Iran—and the
Bible Society’s trademark less-than-cost price—we can easily appreciate the merchants’
alacrity. Because al-–Abidin was sent from Tabriz to Saint Petersburg just after the New
Testament appeared in Tabriz’s markets, it may have been a decisive factor in –Abbas
Mirza’s dispatching him to the city where it was printed (as stated on the frontispiece), a
possibility of travel enabled by improved diplomatic relations after the Gulistan Treaty
of 1813. Without the Persian New Testament, it is difficult to make sense of the logic of
–Abbas Mirza sending al-–Abidin to Saint Petersburg, where Arabic-script printing had
an extremely limited history that could not compare with the more accessible Bombay,
Calcutta, or even Müteferrika’s Istanbul, and where even non-Arabic printing continued
to rely on immigrant German printers and book importers.92
Whatever the evangelical role in Zayn al-–Abidin’s apprenticeship, in 1817 the first
book was issued from the press brought from Russia.93 This, the first Persian book
printed in Iran, was the Risala-ye Jihadiyya (Treatise on Holy War), a collection of Shi–i
fatāwā on the legitimacy of war against Russia.94 Similar religious concerns underwrote
two of the earliest works to bear al-–Abidin’s own imprint, issued in 1823 and 1824,
respectively: the Muharriq al-Qulub (Purifier of Hearts) by Mahdi ibn Abi Dharr al-
Naraqi (d. 1795), on the martyrdom and miracles of the Shi–i imams, and the Hasaniyya
(On Hasan) of Mulla Ibrahim (fl. 850), on Shi–i martyrology, both printed on Italian
paper.95 In a similar vein, the first Iranian lithographed book was a Qur»an printed in
Tabriz around 1832–33.96 When al-–Abidin printed the Risala-ye Abila-Kubi (Treatise
on Smallpox Vaccination) by –Abbas Mirza’s personal physician (h.akı̄m bāshı̄), Irish
doctor and East India Company servant John Cormick (d. 1833), the nascent Iranian
publishing industry did turn toward the scientific books with which it has long been
However, the birth of printing in Iran was no leap of the full-grown secular from
Zeus’s side, still less an affront to the –ulama». Indeed, the latter were consulted en
masse in cities like Tabriz and Shiraz to gather the opinions that made up the Risala-ye
Jihadiyya.98 In a period in which, as in England, scientific modernity had not yet been
conceived as the antithesis of faith, we see instead an adaptation of the new technology
to Iran’s own cultural setting, albeit one in which the state was emerging as a dominant


Having examined the roles of travel and transculturalism and industrialized evangeli-
calism and state publishing in the birth of Iranian printing, we now look briefly at the
repeated play of these forces in the spread of printing to other Muslim regions around
1820. Let us consider the first sustained Muslim-controlled Arabic printing press: the
Bulaq Press founded in Cairo in 1820.100 Here, as in Iran, a modernizing government re-
covering from European invasion sponsored a journeyman’s apprenticeship in Europe. In
1815—the same year Salih arrived in London—Muhammad –Ali (r. 1805–48) dispatched
Niqula al-Masabiki (d. 1830) to Milan, where he spent four years studying printing.101
The choice of al-Masabiki was no coincidence, for as a Christian Arab from Lebanon,
he was already a cultural middleman. Italians there knew him by a suitably Italianate
216 Nile Green

name, Nicolà Mesabichi.102 Like Salih in London, in Milan and Rome al-Masabiki
was able to tap into a timely confluence of missionary Christianity and industrialized
printing. As a Maronite, he entered the expatriate Maronite community of Rome that
had been using Arabic printing for several centuries; in Milan the Collegio Ambrosiano
had been issuing Arabic works since the 17th century.103 In Milan, al-Masabiki attached
himself to the mechanical entrepreneur Giuseppe Morosi (1772–1840), who, as one
of the fathers of Milanese industrialization, served as a counterpoint to the technicians
Salih interviewed in England.104 Prior to meeting al-Masabiki, Morosi himself had made
a long government-sponsored viaggio tecnologico, written a travelogue, and inspected,
copied, and imported British-made machines.105
As in the Iranian case, European religion was a key factor in technology transfer, but
as a Christian al-Masabiki had no need to accommodate himself. Unlike Salih, he could
draw on an older Catholic program of sponsoring printing among Arab Christians, and
through his cultural mediation, he passed technology to Muhammad –Ali’s government.
Al-Masabiki returned to Egypt in 1819, the same year that Salih left London, likewise
bringing with him a transportable printing press and the skills to use it. Italian eyewit-
nesses (including Milanese Giuseppe Forni) reported that the press al-Masabiki brought
with him was the same modern kind used at the Stamperia Reale (Royal Press) in Milan,
a new institution dating from Milan’s years of Napoleonic rule.106 When we combine
this fact with al-Masabiki’s training under Morosi, who traveled widely in search of the
newest equipment and techniques, it seems highly likely that this was one of the new
iron handpresses.
In 1822, the year that al-Masabiki issued Bulaq’s first book, the Italian traveler
Giovanni Battista Brocchi (1772–1826) described a meeting with “Mesabichi” in his
journal. Brocchi noted how on his return al-Masabiki had managed to cast both Arabic
and Turkish type before teaching others in Cairo to do the same.107 Among the first
books to be issued from the press was a Turkish manual on military reform, reflecting
the concerns with niz.ām-e jadı̄d that motivated –Abbas Mirza in Iran. However, in a
reflection of the language-learning “middletexts” that we have seen issuing from the
other transnational social exchanges that enabled technological transfer, the first Bulaq
book was an Arabic–Italian dictionary, through which Muhammad –Ali hoped his new
Egyptians could access European knowledge without going to the expense of studying
abroad.108 In an echo of Salih’s language book with William Price, the Arabic–Italian
dictionary was prepared by Don Raffaele de Monachis at Bulaq. Don Raffaele was an
Egyptian Melkite Christian whom Napoleon had earlier brought to Paris to teach Arabic
at the École des Langues Orientales and who now taught Italian at Muhammad –Ali’s
college at Bulaq.109
The spread of printing beyond Bulaq was enabled by other such cultural middlemen,
like Mose Castelli (Musa Kastilli, 1816–84), who in 1832 moved from Florence to Egypt
to set up his publishing house, the Matba–a Kastilli, in Cairo. Although not a Christian
Arab like al-Masabiki, Castelli was in a similar interstitial position as an Italian Jew.110
In Egypt as in Iran, we see again the collusion of travel, transculturalism, and state
This same blend is seen in the career of arguably the most important “Muslim” print
entrepreneur of the 19th century, Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq (1804–87), whose itinerant
career linked Lebanon, Malta, and Egypt with Cambridge, Paris, Tunis, and finally
Journeymen, Middlemen 217

Istanbul.111 A Maronite Christian by birth like al-Masabiki, Shidyaq was introduced to

Arabic printing through the British evangelical expansion into the Mediterranean in the
wake of the earlier Indian and Iranian missions. From around 1822 he was employed at
the Arabic press established that year on Malta by the CMS. Because the early Arabic
type used at the Malta press was cast by Richard Watts in London, the tools with which
Shidyaq learned his trade were identical to those used by Salih three years earlier.112 The
CMS press in Malta was the precursor and transmission point for the various American
mission presses that spread to Lebanon after 1834. Its foundation in the early 1820s
points again to this date and its evangelical context in the diffusion of Arabic printing to
the eastern Mediterranean.
Shidyaq’s apprenticeship at the CMS press, and subsequently with the American
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (founded 1812), likewise brought its
cultural requirements: he converted to Protestantism and adopted the dress and manners
of his British and American collaborators. As in the Iranian and Egyptian cases, this trans-
culturalism found parallel literary expression in an Arabic travelogue ( and a set
of language-learning French/Arabic “dialogues” written with the missionary and Arabic
printer George Badger (1815–1888), with whom Shidyaq also compiled a voluminous
English/Arabic lexicon.113 Just as Salih was drawn into the evangelical Cambridge circle
of Samuel Lee, Shidyaq worked with Lee and his Cambridge successors, Reverend Henry
Griffin Williams and Thomas Jarrett, on a new Arabic translation of the Psalms. It was
published in London by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 1850.114 Like
Salih in Iran, Shidyaq subsequently helped found Arabic journalism. From about 1830,
he spent several years as editor of the first Arabic newspaper, Al-Waqa»i– al-Misriyya
(Egyptian Affairs, founded 1828), published from al-Masabiki’s press at Bulaq. When
he later moved to found other newspapers in Tunis and then Istanbul, Faris al-Shidyaq
underwent a final self-transformation by converting to Islam and taking the name Ahmad.
There is no space here to trace in detail these processes in India and Malaysia, where
they also appeared. Suffice it to note that in 1820 the nawab of Awadh established the
first Muslim printing press in Lucknow, whence in 1801 Mirza Abu Talib had traveled
to London and described its printers and newspapers in his Persian travelogue.115 In
1822 the East India Company servant Ram Mohan Roy (1774–1833), who like Salih
also wrote a native grammar and later met several of Salih’s collaborators in England,
founded the earliest Persian newspaper, Mir»at al-Akhbar (News Mirror), in Calcutta.116
In the Anglicized munshı̄s and English technicians at work in Lucknow in the 1820s
and 1830s, as in Roy’s connections to the Baptist missionary printers of Serampore and
his travels in the service of the nawab of Awadh to England (where he met several of
Salih’s associates), we see the same pattern of travel, transculturalism, and government
The emergence of Malay printing in Arabic script ( jāwı̄) followed a similar course,
with the first Malay text printed in Malacca in 1817 by the London Missionary Society
before the technology eventually passed into Muslim hands through the collaboration of
the Bible Society printer Reverend Benjamin Keasberry (1811–75) and his munshı̄ and
translator, –Abdullah bin –Abdullah –Abd al-Qadir (Munshi Abdullah, 1796–1854).118
From this collaboration, too, there emerged another printed linguistic “middletext”
reflecting those of Don Raffaele and Mirza Salih.119 With his English clothes, modern
ideas, and employment in the bureaucracy of the colonial state, the middleman –Abdullah
218 Nile Green

became the founder of indigenous Malay printing. His own written output comprised a
travelogue and an autobiography, the first Malay book printed through the new technique
of lithography. Further afield, similar processes were at work in the emergence of printing
in Afghanistan, when at the turn of the 20th century the Turkish zincographer Mehmed
Fazlı was brought to Kabul to teach printing before being dispatched to acquire new
color-printing techniques in Paris.120 Perhaps the most extraordinary of these middlemen
had appeared in Istanbul as early as 1779. When an attempt was made to reinvigorate
printing after the collapse of Müteferrika’s press, the key figure was the Scotts “rene-
gado” formerly known as Campbell but now living in Istanbul under the name Ingiliz


By examining the profiles of the founding figures of Muslim printing, certain repeated
characteristics have defined these journeymen as cultural middlemen and helped explain
how print technology was transferred from Europe. The first characteristic is travel:
almost without exception the print pioneers made journeys to Europe in search of skills
and machinery. The second is bureaucracy: at crucial points in their careers, these
figures were all employed as servants of the state, be it their own state government, a
European government, or a combination of both. The third characteristic is accommo-
dation: in differing degrees all these men demonstrated the ability to cross and combine
the forms and norms of the cultural spheres that they drew together in their projects.
This crucial element of the journeymen’s profile had several layers in turn, comprising
multilingualism and multiliteracy (i.e., the ability to read different scripts), the adoption
of European dress and manners, and an assimilation to Christianity through sympathy,
crypto-conversion, or birthright as a Middle Eastern Christian. During a period in which
evangelical Protestant organizations became the global leaders in Arabic-script printing
and “modernity” had not yet been transformed into a secular ideology, the Christian
element to the profile proved particularly important.
Technological transfer took place on a human scale, reflecting the movement of
individual people, albeit often in government service. For them travel was a means of not
only acquiring skills but also of exporting them; mechanical knowledge was embodied
in these new men attuned to their machines. In a period before “multiculturalism,” it
was necessary to acculturate to European (often explicitly Christian) norms to gain
access to the social circles in which this knowledge was mediated. The synchronicity
of the emergence around 1820 of sustained Muslim printing in Iran, the Mediterranean,
India, and the Malay Peninsula connects Muslim printing to a global expansion of
industrialized printing in Europe, America, and Australasia.
If the decision of governments in Iran and Egypt to send educational missions to
Europe emerged from the globalizing politics of the age of Napoleon, their success with
printing, like that of evangelical global printing ventures, was due strictly to technical
developments of portable, all-in-one handpresses in the years after 1800. The printing
press did not need to be part of a larger industrial infrastructure to function efficiently:
it was an item of portable technology analogous to the introduction of photography
to the Islamic world as a similar form of transportable modernity.122 If the birth of a
sustained Muslim print tradition cannot be separated from the emergence of modernity,
Journeymen, Middlemen 219

by narrowing our focus to 1820 we have seen that in neither Europe nor Asia had
mechanical modernity been separated from religion. Even Jean-Joseph Marcel (1776–
1854), the printer for Napoleon’s “modernizing” interruption in Egyptian history, was
better known in Paris for his version of the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic123 —as well as, that
is, his own example of a linguistic “middletext.”124


Author’s note: I am grateful to Willem Floor, Nikki Keddie, Ahmed Mansour, Ulrich Marzolph, and my
anonymous readers for comments on earlier versions of this article.
1 On the earlier printers, see Hartmut Bobzin, “Imitation und Imagination: Bemerkungen zu einigen

frühen europäischen Drücken mit Arabischen Lettern,” in Das gedruckte Buch im Vorderen Orient, ed. Ulrich
Marzolph (Dortmund, Germany: Verlag für Orientkunde, 2002), and Wahid Gdoura, Le début de l’imprimerie
arabe à Istanbul et en Syrie: Evolution de l’évironnement culturel (1706–1787) (Tunis, Tunisia: Institut
Supérieur de Documentation, 1985). Note that the present article deals with Muslim printing and not the
separate issues concerning earlier Christian printing in the Middle East.
2 For the most current survey, see Eva Hanebutt-Benz, Dagmar Glass, and Geoffrey Roper, eds., Middle

Eastern Languages and the Print Revolution (Westhofen, Germany: WVA-Verlag Skulima, 2002).
3 Mirza Salih Shirazi, Majmu–a-ye Safarnamaha-ye Mirza Salih Shirazi, ed. Ghulam Husayn Mirza Salih

(Tehran: Nashr-e Tarikh-e Iran, 1985). I have also consulted other editions (see the following) and the original
manuscript (British Library, Oriental and India Office Collections, Add. 24,034), particularly to clarify the
orthography of personal names underlying the following historical reconstructions.
4 Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural

Transformations in Early Modern Europe, 2 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979).
5 Juan R. I. Cole, “Printing and Urban Islam in the Mediterranean World, 1890–1920,” in Modernity &

Culture: From the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, ed. Leila Tarazi Fawaz and Christopher A. Bayly (New
York: Columbia University Press, 2002).
6 Francis Robinson, “Technology and Religious Change: Islam and the Impact of Print,” Modern Asian

Studies 27 (1993): 229–51.

7 For a critique of this approach, see Ian Proudfoot, “Mass Producing Houri’s Moles, or Aesthetics and

Choice of Technology in Early Muslim Book Printing,” in Islam: Essays on Scripture, Thought and Society,
ed. Peter G. Riddell and Tony Street (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1997).
8 On the importance of a social historical reading of print transfer, see Lutz Berger, “Zur Problematik der

späten Einführung des Buchdrucks in der islamischen Welt,” in Marzolph, Das gedruckte Buch im Vorderen
9 Ian Inkster, “Technology in World History: Cultures of Constraint and Innovation, Emulation, and

Technology Transfer,” Comparative Technology Transfer and Society 5 (2007): 108–27.

10 On “the cultural work that has to be performed in the conception, development, and implementation

of new technologies,” see Knut H. Sørensen, “Cultural Politics of Technology: Combining Critical and
Constructive Interventions?” Science, Technology & Human Values 29 (2004): 184–90. I have adapted the
notion of transculture from Nasrin Rahimieh, Missing Persians: Discovering Voices in Iranian Cultural History
(Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2001).
11 Gdoura, Le début de l’imprimerie arabe à Istanbul et en Syrie, 193–96, and Johann Strauss, “Kütüp ve

Resail-i Mevkute: Printing and Publishing in a Multi-Ethnic Society,” in Late Ottoman Society: The Intellectual
Legacy, ed. Elizabeth Özdalga (London: Routledge, 2005). When printing recommenced in Istanbul around
1830, after Müteferrika’s experiment, it was through the migration and transnational collaboration of the
Marseilles cousins Henri Cayol (1805–65) and Jacques Cayol. See Grégoire Zellich, Notice historique sur la
lithographie et sur les origines de son introduction en Turquie (Constantinople: A. Zellich Fils, 1895).
12 The problem was perennial: an Armenian merchant in 1843 imported a modern press from Java to New

Julfa in Iran, where it then lay redundant in the Vanak church because no one knew how to use it. Husayn
Mirza»i Golpayigani, Tarikh-e Chap va Chapkhana dar Iran (Tehran: Intisharat Gulshan-e Raz, 1999), 9.
13 Willem M. Floor, “Čāp,” Encyclopaedia Iranica; Golpayigani, Tarikh-e Chap va Chapkhana dar Iran;

Ulrich Marzolph, “Persian Incunabula: A Definition and Assessment,” Gutenberg Jahrbuch (2007): 205–20;
and Farid Qasimi, Avvalinha-ye Matbu–at-e Iran (Tehran: Nashr-e Abi, 2004).
220 Nile Green
14 For summaries of Salih’s career, see Husayn Mahbubi Ardakani, “Duvvumin Karvan-e Marifat,”
Yaghma 18 (1965); idem, Tarikh-e Mu»assasat-e Tamaddoni-ye Jadid dar Iran, 3 vols. (Tehran: Anjuman-e
Danishjuyan-e Danishgah-e Tihran, 1975), 1:176–79, 222–24; and Qasimi, Avvalinha-ye Matbu–at-e Iran,
15 Qasimi, ibid., 15.
16 Bodleian Library, Ouseley ms 159, colophon dated 1812. The travelogue is also printed in Shirazi,

Majmu–a-ye Safarnamaha-ye Mirza Salih Shirazi.

17 The original manuscript bears two titles—Su»al u Jawab (Questions and Answers) and Guftagu-ye Farsi

(Persian Conversation)—and is held at the Bodleian Library (Ouseley ms 390).

18 William Price, Persian Dialogues, Composed for the Author by Mirza Sauli, of Shiraz (Worcester, U.K.:

s.n., 1822).
19 C. A. Storey, “The Beginnings of Persian Printing in India,” in Oriental Studies in Honour of Cursetji

Erachji Pavry, ed. J. D. Cursetji Pavry (London: Oxford University Press, 1933).
20 Alan H. Barrett, “A Memoir of Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph D’Arcy, R. A. 1780–1848,” Iran 43 (2005):

21 Shirazi, Majmu–a-ye Safarnamaha-ye Mirza Salih Shirazi, 349–50.
22 On these ambitions, see ibid., 318–20. On the poor state of science, see G. L. E. Turner, “Experimental

Science in Early Nineteenth-Century Oxford,” History of Universities 8 (1989): 117–35.

23 “The Persian Princes,” The Times, 7 December 1818, 3.
24 Olinthus Gregory, Letters to a Friend, on the Evidences, Doctrines, and Duties of the Christian Religion

(London: H. G. Bohn, 1851).

25 Shirazi, Majmu–a-ye Safarnamaha-ye Mirza Salih Shirazi, 319–20, 331–32, 340.
26 Ibid., 169–70.
27 “John Bisset,” Papers of Freddie Percy (SM/17/1), Whitgift School Archives, Croydon. Thanks to the

Whitgift Archivist, William G. Wood, for providing access.

28 Shirazi, Majmu–a-ye Safarnamaha-ye Mirza Salih Shirazi, 169–70, 311–13.
29 F.O. 60/23 (Public Record Office, London).
30 Nile Green, “The Development of Arabic-Script Typography in Georgian Britain,” Printing History n.s.

5 (2009), and Storey, “The Beginnings of Persian Printing in India.”

31 Twelfth Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society for the Year 1816 (London: Tilling & Hughes,

1816), 10, 39, 79.

32 William Canton, A History of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 5 vols. (London: J. Murray, 1904–10),

1:64, and Green, “The Development of Arabic-Script Typography in Georgian Britain.”

33 “Account of the Rev. Mr. Lee,” Oxford University and City Herald, 26 September 1818, back page:

“Mr. Lee has moreover made a new fount of letter for Hindostanee [i.e., Urdu] and Persian printing.” On the
meetings, Shirazi, Majmu–a-ye Safarnamaha-ye Mirza Salih Shirazi, 350–52.
34 Shirazi, ibid., 167–68. On a similar collaboration, see Michael H. Fisher, “Persian Professor in Britain:

Mirza Muhammad Ibrahim at the East India Company’s College, 1826–44,” Comparative Studies of South
Asia, Africa and the Middle East 21 (2001): 24–32, and Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, Refashioning Iran:
Orientalism, Occidentalism, and Historiography (New York: Palgrave, 2001), chap. 2.
35 Mathews’s Bristol Guide; Being a Complete Ancient and Modern History of the City of Bristol, the

Hotwells and Clifton (Bristol, U.K.: printed and sold by Joseph Mathews and sold by the booksellers, 1819),
94. For Salih’s tour of Bristol’s glass, soap, and brass factories, see Shirazi, Majmu–a-ye Safarnamaha-ye
Mirza Salih Shirazi, 334–35; elsewhere, 207–209.
36 Nile Green, “Paper Modernity? Notes on an Iranian Industrial Tour, 1818,” Iran: Journal of Persian

Studies 46 (2008).
37 Shirazi, Majmu–a-ye Safarnamaha-ye Mirza Salih Shirazi, 345, 353.
38 Ibid., 353, 355 (dāns); Humayun Shahidi, ed., Guzarish-e Safar-e Mirza Salih Shirazi (Kazaruni)

(Tehran: Rah-e Naw, 1983), 369 (vāns); Safarnama-ye Mirza Salih Shirazi, ed. Isma–il-e Ra»in (Tehran:
Ruzan, 1968), 375 (dāns). Golpayigani, Tarikh-e Chap va Chapkhana dar Iran, 10–11, quotes two versions
of the name (vāls and vāns).
39 Philip A. H. Brown, London Publishers and Printers: A Tentative List, c. 1800–1870 (London: British

Museum, 1961), and William B. Todd, A Directory of Printers and Others in Allied Trades, London and
Vicinity 1800–1840 (London: Printing Historical Society, 1972).
40 The ta was variously read as a lam or nūn.
Journeymen, Middlemen 221
41 Canton, A History of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 1:64.
42 On Watts, see Talbot Baines Reed, A History of the Old English Letter Foundries (London: Eliot Stock,
1887), 362–63.
43 David E. Jenkins, The Life of the Rev. Thomas Charles, B.A., of Bala, 3 vols. (Denbigh, U.K.: Llewelyn

Jenkins, 1908), 3:68.

44 Alice M. Lee, A Scholar of a Past Generation: A Brief Memoir of Samuel Lee, by his Daughter (London:

Seely and Co. Limited, 1896).

45 Oriental and Other Types in 67 Languages or Dialects, Principally Prepared by R. Watts and Now in

Use in W. M. Watts’s Office (London: W. M. Watts, 1851).

46 D. N. Griffiths, “Prayer-Book Translations in the Nineteenth Century,” The Library, sixth series, 6, 1

(1984): 3, 15.
47 The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; Translated into the Hindoostanee Language

from the Original Greek by H. Martyn; and Afterwards Carefully Revised with the Assistance of Mirza Fitrit
and Other Learned Natives (London: printed by Richard Watts for the British and Foreign Bible Society,
48 On Lee’s involvement, see T. H. Darlow and H. F. Moule, Historical Catalogue of the Printed Editions

of Holy Scripture in the Library of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 2 vols. (London: The Bible House,
1903–1911), 2:744.
49 Ibid., 2:69–70.
50 Ibid., 2:69. Kitab al-Ahd al-Jadid, ya–ni, Injil al-Muqaddas, li-Rabbina Yasu– al-Masih (London: Richard

Watts, 1821).
51 Darlow and Moule, Historical Catalogue, 2:1204.
52 Twelfth Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 10; Thirteenth Report of the British and Foreign

Bible Society for the Year 1817 (London: Tilling & Hughes, 1817), 338.
53 For superlative detail, see Richard-Gabriel Rummonds, Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices and the

Iron Handpress, 2 vols. (London: British Library, 2004). On operating imported handpresses in Iran, see
Golpayigani, Tarikh-e Chap va Chapkhana dar Iran, 12–13.
54 Leslie Howsam, Cheap Bibles: Nineteenth-Century Publishing and the British and Foreign Bible Society

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 22.

55 Michael H. Fisher, Counterflows to Colonialism: Indian Travellers and Settlers in Britain, 1600–1857

(Delhi, India: Permanent Black, 2004), 121–23.

56 On Watts’s similar reliance on professor Richard Porson (1759–1808) of Cambridge for the original

calligraphy of his Greek type, see J. H. Bowman, Greek Printing Types in Britain in the Nineteenth Century:
A Catalogue (Oxford: Oxford Bibliographical Society, 1992), 47.
57 Walter Tracey, “Advances in Arabic Printing,” Bulletin of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies

2 (1975): 87–93.
58 Dagmar Glass, “Die nahda und ihre Technik im 19. Jahrhundert: Arabische Druckereien in Ägypten

und Syrien” in Marzolph, Das gedruckte Buch im Vorderen Orient, 59–64, and G. J. Roper, “The Begin-
nings of Arabic Printing by the ABCFM, 1822–1841,” Harvard Library Bulletin, new series, 9 (1998): 50–
59 Shirazi, Majmu–a-ye Safarnamaha-ye Mirza Salih Shirazi, 345.
60 For statistical data, see Green, “Development of Arabic-Script Typography.”
61 Thirteenth Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 338.
62 Leigh’s New Picture of London (London: Samuel Leigh, 1819).
63 Howsam, Cheap Bibles.
64 Roper, “Beginnings of Arabic Printing by the ABCFM.”
65 David J. Jeremy, Transatlantic Industrial Revolution: The Diffusion of Textile Technologies between

Britain and America, 1790–1830s (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1981).

66 Shirazi, Majmu–a-ye Safarnamaha-ye Mirza Salih Shirazi, 353, 355–58.
67 John M. Duncan, Travels through Part of the United States and Canada in 1818 and 1819, 2 vols.

(Glasgow, Scotland: University Press, 1823), 1:201.

68 Duncan, Travels through Part of the United States and Canada, 1:201.
69 Ethan B. Lipton and Michael A. Sprenger, eds., The Eagle Soars: The Story of the Columbian Press

(Los Angeles: California State University, 1976).

70 Based on portable presses available in London in 1819: Rummonds, Nineteenth-Century Printing

Practices, 2:859.
222 Nile Green
71 Don F. McKenzie, “The Sociology of a Text: Oral Culture, Literacy and Print in Early New Zealand,”
in The Social History of Language, ed. Peter Burke and Roy Porter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
72 Samuel Lee and Thomas Kendall, Grammar and Vocabulary of the Language of New Zealand (London:

printed by Richard Watts for the Church Missionary Society, 1820).

73 Reported in Caledonian Mercury (19 April 1819), Christian Observer and Advocate, 1819, 262–64, and

Missionary Register for 1819, 180–82. Clymer’s press was valued at £100.
74 Colin Clair, A History of Printing in Britain (London: Cassell, 1965), 210–18, and Tom Mole, “Stanhope

Press,” The Literary Encyclopedia, Literary Dictionary Company, 2002, (accessed 1
January 2008).
75 “Account of the Rev. Mr. Lee,” Oxford University and City Herald (26 September 1818), back page:

“Mr. Lee has in hand a new translation of the Old Testament into Persian, in conjunction with Mirza Khaleel.”
76 Twelfth Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 10. On Ja–far’s translations in Saint Petersburg

in the mid-1820s, also with Ouseley and Lee’s collaboration, see George Bullen, Catalogue of the Library of
the British and Foreign Bible Society (London: Reed and Pardon, 1857), 5, 80.
77 William Roberts, Memoirs of the Life of Hannah More, 2 vols. (London: R. B. Seeley & W. Burnside,

1836), 246, based on More’s own diary. For Salih’s version and confirmation of receiving Practical Piety (the
title transcribed from the English), see Shirazi, Majmu–a-ye Safarnamaha-ye Mirza Salih Shirazi, 331–32.
78 Muhammad Sadr-e Hashimi, Tarikh-e Jara»id va Majallat-e Iran, 4 vols. (Isfahan, Iran: Intisharat-e

Kamal, 1984–85), and Qasimi, Avvalinha-ye Matbu–at-e Iran, especially Chapter 1.

79 An early copy of Salih’s subsequent newspaper, Akhbar-e Vaqa»i– (Current News), was published in

“Persian Newspaper and Translation,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 5 (1839): 355–71. Also Hashimi
Tarikh-e Jara»id, 1:2.
80 Shirazi, Majmu–a-ye Safarnamaha-ye Mirza Salih Shirazi, 352. On London’s newspaper presses as seen

in 1887 by the Iranian Hajji Pirzada (d. 1903), see Safarnama-ye Hajji Muhammad –Ali Pirzada, 1303–1306,
ed. Haiz Farmanfarma»iyan (Tehran: Danishgah-e Tihran, 1963–65), 301–302.
81 Salih and/or his companions featured in The Times on 29 September 1818, 7 December 1818, and

18 January 1823. In The Times alone, articles—often frivolous—on Abu al-Hasan appeared on 21 and 30
December 1809, 12 and 18 January 1810, 23 February 1810, 24 and 29 March 1810, 27 April 1819, 1 and
24 May 1819, and 1 and 10 June 1819. For Abu al-Hasan’s own exasperated observations on England’s
newspapers, see M. M. Cloake, ed. and trans., A Persian at the Court of King George 1809–10: The Journal
of Mirza Abu’l Hassan Khan (London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1988), 83, 248, 253.
82 On English newspapers and the evolution of a “public opinion,” see Hannah Barker, Newspapers, Politics

and English Society, 1695–1855 (Harlow, U.K.: Longman, 2000), especially 196–205 on Salih’s period.
83 On Salih’s role as “press-secretary” and munshı̄, respectively, see Farid Qasimi, Sarguzasht-e Matbu»at-e

Iran: Ruzgar-e Muhammad Shah va Nasir al-Din Shah, 2 vols. (Tehran: Vizarat-e Farhang va Irshad-e Islami,
2001), and Document 4 in Fatima Qaziha, ed., Asnad-e Ravabit-e Iran va Rusiya dar dawran-e Fath –Ali Shah
va Muhammad Shah Qajar, 1240–1263 (1824–1848) (Tehran: Markaz-e Asnad-e Tarikh-e Diplumasi, 2001),
17–18. I am grateful to an anonymous reader for the latter reference.
84 Shirazi, Majmu–a-ye Safarnamaha-ye Mirza Salih Shirazi, 278.
85 Edward G. Browne, The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,

1914), 11; Hashimi, Tarikh-e Jara»id 1:3–5.

86 “Newspaper” (1839): 355–71. This is not, as stated by previous scholars, the sole remaining copy: two

further issues from Rabi– II 1253 (July 1837) exist as British Library, Or. Mic. 4776.
87 “Newspaper” (1839): 359–60 (in Persian), 367–68 (in English).
88 “Newspaper” (1839): 362 (in Persian), 369 (in English).
89 Golpayigani, Tarikh-e Chap va Chapkhana dar Iran, 13. On the unconfirmed 1828 Gulistan, see Qasimi,

Sarguzasht-e Matbu–at-e Iran, 1:191.

90 Canton, A History of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 1:219–22. On the early years of the Saint

Petersburg agency, see Stephen Batalden, “The BFBS Petersburg Agency and Russian Biblical Translation,
1856–1875,” in Sowing the Word: The Cultural Impact of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 1804–2004,
ed. Stephen K. Batalden, Kathleen Cann, and John Dean (Sheffield, U.K.: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2004),
91 Canton, A History of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 1:180, and Sixteenth Report of the British

and Foreign Bible Society, 149–50.

Journeymen, Middlemen 223
92 On Russia’s very few early Arabic imprints, see Victor Charles Chauvin, Bibliographie des ouvrages
arabes ou relatifs aux Arabes, publiés dans l’Europe chrétienne de 1810 à 1885 (Liège, Belgium: H. Vaillant-
Carmanne, 1892–1919), 412, and Miroslav Krek, A Gazetteer of Arabic Printing (Weston, Mass.: privately
printed, 1977), 74.
93 Qasimi, Sarguzasht-e Matbu–at-e Iran, 1:185.
94 The book is probably identical to a work often described as the second book printed in Iran, the Fath-

nama (Book of Conquest): see Marzolph, “Persian Incunabula.” For an original sale document dated Shavval
1232/August 1817 detailing the sale for 200 tūmān from an Aqa Nawruz to –Abbas Mirza of a “printing house”
(mangana-khāna) with an iron wheel (charkh-e āhan), so identifying it as one of the new iron handpresses,
see Christoph Werner, An Iranian Town in Transition: A Social and Economic History of the Elites of Tabriz
1747–1848 (Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz, 2000), appendix, document 4.
95 I have consulted these books in the Royal Asiatic Society. Details of their bequest appear in Anon.,

“Biographical Sketch of his Late Royal Highness Abbas Mirza, Prince Royal of Persia, Hon. MRAS,” Journal
of the Royal Asiatic Society 1 (1834): 323.
96 Ulrich Marzolph, “Der lithographische Druck einer illustrierten persischen Prophetengeschichte

(1267/1850)” in Marzolph, Das gedruckte Buch im Vorderen Orient, 86.

97 Floor, “Čāp” and Kamran Ekbal and Lutz Richter-Bernburg, “John Cormick,” Encyclopaedia Iranica.

However, Golpayigani, Tarikh-e Chap va Chapkhana dar Iran, 13, attributes the book to Muhammad ibn
al-Sabur al-Khu»i.
98 On the –ulama» consultation, see Shahla Babazada, Tarikh-e Chap dar Iran (Tehran: Tahuri, 1999),

99 On Nasir al-din Shah’s subsequent adoption of a censor system, see Gu»il Kuhan, Tarikh-e Sansur dar

Matbu–at-e Iran (Tehran: Agah, 1981–83).

100 T. X. Bianchi, “Catalogue général des livres arabes, persans et turcs imprimé à Boulac en Egypte dépuis

l’introduction de l’imprimerie dans ce pays,” Journal Asiatique 4 (1843).

101 Khalil Sabat, Tarikh al-Taba–a fi al-Sharq al-–Arabi (Cairo: Dar al-Ma–arif, 1966), 150–52. On Muham-

mad –Ali’s earlier engagements with Italy, see Alain Silvera, “The First Egyptian Student Mission to France
under Muhammad Ali,” Middle Eastern Studies 16 (1980): 1–22.
102 Giovanni Battista Brocchi, Giornale delle osservazioni fatte ne’ viaggi in Egitto, nella Siria e nella

Nubia, 5 vols. (Bassano, Italy: A. Roberti, 1841), 1:172–74, and Giuseppe Forni, Viaggio nell’Egitto e
nell’alta Nubia, 2 vols. (Milan, Italy: D. Salvi, 1859), 1:140–41.
103 Robert Jones, “The Medici Oriental Press (Rome 1584–1614) and the Impact of its Arabic Publications

on Northern Europe” in The “Arabick” Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England,
ed. G. A. Russell (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1994), and Olga Pinto, “La typografia araba in Italia dal XVI al-XIX
secolo,” Levante 1–2 (1964): 8–16, especially 10–11 on previous collaborations of Maronite and Italian
printers. Note that Napoleon acquired equipment for his short-lived Egyptian printing program from the
104 Sabat, Tarikh al-Taba–a, 151. On Morosi, see Memorie della Reale Accademia delle Scienze di Torino

(Torino, Italy: Stamperia Reale, 1820), xlii, and L. E. Funaro, “Mezzi, metodie macchine: Notizie su Giuseppe
Morosi,” Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza, fasc. 1 (1998).
105 Funaro, ibid., especially 99, 101, 110.
106 Forni, Viaggio nell’Egitto, 1:141. On a more general level, L. A. Balboni, Gl’Italiani nella civiltà

egiziana del secolo XIX: Storia-biografie-monografie (Alessandria, Italy: V. Pennason, 1906), 3:377, and
Sabat, Tarikh al-Taba–a, 150–52.
107 Brocchi, Giornale delle osservazioni fatte ne’ viaggi in Egitto, 1:172–74.
108 Dizionario Italiano e Arabo (Bolacco [Bulaq], Egypt: Stampa Reale, 1822), with contents in Ara-

bic/Roman type.
109 Forni, Viaggio nell’Egitto, 1:140, and Silvera, “First Egyptian Student Mission,” 7.
110 Olga Pinto, “Mose Castelli, Tipografo Italiano al Cairo,” in A Francesco Gabrieli: Studi Orientalistici

Offerti nel Sessantesimo Compleanno dai suoi Colleghi e Discepoli (Rome: Università di Roma, 1964). Glass,
“Die nahda und ihre Technik,” 66, records somewhat later dates for Castelli.
111 Geoffrey Roper, “Faris al-Shidyaq and the Transition from Scribal to Print Culture in the Middle East,”

in The Book in the Islamic World: The Written Word and Communication in the Middle East, ed. G. N. Atiyeh
(Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1995), and Yusuf al-Shawiri, Al-Rihla al-–Arabiyya
al-Haditha (Beirut: al-Taba–a al-–Arabiyya al-Awwali, 1998), 29–38.
224 Nile Green
112 Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFares, Arabic Typography: A Comprehensive Sourcebook (London: Saqi,
2001), 68.
113 Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, Kitab al-Rihla al-Mawsuma bi-l-Wasita ila Ma–rifat Malita wa-Kashf al-

Mukhabba– –an Funun Awrubba (Tunis, Tunisia: n.p., 1867); George Badger, An English Arabic Lexicon, in
Which the Equivalents for English Words and Idiomatic Sentences Are Rendered into Literary and Colloquial
Arabic (London: C. Kegan Paul, 1881); and Faris el-Shidiac, A Practical Grammar of the Arabic Language:
With Interlineal Reading Lessons, Dialogues and Vocabulary (London: Bernard Quaritch, 1866). See also
Geoffrey Roper, “George Percy Badger (1815–1888),” British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Bulletin 11
(1984): 140–45.
114 Darlow and Moule, Historical Catalogue, 2, part 1:71.
115 Mirza Abu Taleb Khan, The Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb Khan in Asia, Africa, and Europe, 2 vols.

(London: R. Watts, Broxbourne, Herts and sold by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1814), 293–95.
This translation of Abu Talib’s Ma–athir-e Talibi fi Bilad-e Afrang was published by Richard Watts. Also
Katharine Smith Diehl, “Lucknow Printers, 1820–1850,” in Comparative Librarianship: Essays in Honour of
Professor D. N. Marshall, ed. N. N. Gidwani (Delhi, India: Vikas, 1973).
116 Rammohun Roy, Bengalee Grammar in the English Language (Calcutta, India: Unitarian Press, 1826).
117 On the English lithographer Mr. Archer in 1830s Lucknow, see Aloys Sprenger, A Catalogue of the

Arabic, Persian and Hindustany Manuscripts of the Libraries of the King of Oudh (Calcutta, India: J. Thomas,
1854), vi. Note that in Iran in 1830, an unnamed Russian entrepreneur established a press in Tabriz. See
Golpayigani, Tarikh-e Chap va Chapkhana dar Iran, 15.
118 Ian Proudfoot, Early Malay Printed Books: A Provisional Catalogue of Materials (Kuala Lumpur,

Malaysia: Academy of Malay Studies, 1993), 2, 13–17, and J. van der Putten, “Printing in Riau: Two Steps
toward Modernity,” Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-en Volkenkunde 153 (1997), 717–36.
119 Benjamin Peach Keasberry, A Vocabulary of the English and Malay Languages, with the Proper Or-

thography for Englishmen (Batavia [Jakarta], Indonesia: H. M. van Dorp, 1859).

120 Fazlı wrote an account of his Afghan travels: Mehmed Fazlı, Resimli Efgan Seyahatı (Istanbul: Matbaa-i

Ahmed Ihsan, 1909). On printing and Moroccan travelers, see Muhammed Al-Saffar, Disorienting Encounters:
Travels of a Moroccan Scholar in France in 1845–1846, trans. Susan Gilson Miller (Berkeley, Calif.: University
of California Press, 1992), 201–206.
121 Richard Clogg, “An Attempt to Revive Turkish Printing in Istanbul in 1779,” International Journal of

Middle East Studies 10 (1979): 67–70.

122 Ali Behdad, “The Powerful Art of Qajar Photography: Orientalism and (Self)-Orientalizing in

Nineteenth-Century Iran,” Iranian Studies 34 (2001): 141–52.

123 Jean-Joseph Marcel, Oratio Dominica CL Linguis Versa, et Propriis Cujusque Linguæ Characteribus

Plerumque Expressa (Paris: Typis Imperialibus, 1805).

124 Jean-Joseph Marcel, Leçons de langue arabe (Paris: Éberhart, imprimeur du Collège Royal de France,