Chinese were targets of negative stereotyping in many images created during the late 19th century to promote anti-Chinese feelings that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 that was renewed and continued until 1943.
Popular forms of fiction such as dime novels in the early 1900s also generated negative images of Chinese, focusing on the seedy aspects of opium dens, tongs, and slave girls which in some form or another filled dozens of issues of Old and Young Brady, Secret Service Detectives.
Fast forward to the year 1941, and a new Chinese stereotype of being "smart" was suggested by this advertisement by a paper product company, the Container Corporation of America, which exclaimed, "Darned clever... those Chinese!"
The reference was not to Chinese Americans, however, but to Ts'ai Lun who invented paper back in the Han Dynasty. The corporate ad copy adhered to the stereotype of the mystical East, asserting that Ts'ai Lun's technique for paper invoked "mystic powers to raise the dead," whereas America's (corporate) magic lay in "low-cost, light-weight packages of paperboard."