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Bubonic Plague, Cholera and Influenza in the History of Communicable Diseases in Taiwan(1895-1920)

In view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the Institute of Taiwan History has chosen ‘Outbreaks of Bubonic Plague, Cholera and Influenza in Taiwan under Japanese Rule’ as the theme of the exhibition for the 2020 Academia Sinica Open House. A selection of photographs, illustrations of publications, postcards, official documents, diaries and other collections bears witness to the history of how the inhabitants of this island fought against communicable diseases a century ago.

In order to further develop Taiwan historical research and continue the mission of collecting folk papers, the Historical Records Office was founded while the Preparatory Office of the Institute of Taiwan History was established in 1993. In the same year, Michael H. Finegan Collection was purchased from a private collector. Although purchasing has become a new approach to acquire rare historical materials, papers donated by individuals or families are the main source of archives acquisition. For instance, Sun Jiang-huai Papers was provided by Mr. Sun in 2007 and Kao Ci-mei Papers was donated by Mrs. Kao’s family from 2007 to 2009, beginning the trends of donating private collections and opening the archives to the public. Through field collecting, purchasing and archives donating, the Institute of Taiwan History has known for accumulating abundant folk papers, personal papers and Family papers in Taiwan.

From the 2000s, digital archives have become the main approach to store large amount of records. For instance, Forestry Records created in the Japanese colonial period and after WWII stored by the Forestry Bureau, Records of Japan Kangyo Bank stored by National Taiwan Museum, and rare books published before the 1950s stored by National Taiwan Library are cooperatively digitized. Since 2004, the Institute of Taiwan History has participated in the National Digital Archives Program hosted by the National Science Council and cooperated with Taiwan Provincial Consultative Council to digitize the archives of assembly affairs. Such collaboration projects expanded our collection by adding institutional archives to the original folk documents. Furthermore, by running International Collaboration of Taiwan Cultural and Historical Sources Acquisition Project, the collection of archives has been growing to cover overseas materials related to Taiwan history from China, Japan to Russia.

In 2009, the Archives of the Institute of Taiwan History was formally established so as to systematically collect, compile and digitize Taiwan-related records, and make them open for application. The Archives is responsible for collecting and preserving historical materials, supporting and deepening studies related to Taiwan. Following the tradition of collecting Taiwan folk historical materials since the Field Research Project was established, the Archives aims at supporting researches and promoting academic services. Our responsibilities and goals are:
I. Collect records related to Taiwan and preserve precious first hand historical materials.
II. Catalog and describe archives in order to deepen research work on Taiwan.
III. Establish archival information systems so as to promote academic services for archives research.

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