07/04 (Mon)


Where did I Leave My Footprints? Lin Xian-tang’s Journey to Europe
Lin Xian-tang (1881-1956), one of the figures in Traveling in Time Exhibition, was the leader of the Lin Family from Wufeng, Taichung. On May 15, 1927, he took the Fengshan Ferry from the Keelung Port with his two sons Pan-long and You-long starting to travel around in Europe and America. They spent 378 days visiting ten countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland. In his diary, Lin Xian-tang wrote of what he had seen in his journey and hoped to broaden Taiwanese’s knowledge of Western culture. Now, let’s follow Lin’s steps by reading The Diary of Mr. Guan-yuan in 1927 to visit Europe!
The series of Taiwan Commercial Letters of Tai-yi-hou Papers has released

Tai-yi-hou Papers of Nagasaki were the documents created and preserved by the Chen family from Kinmen. Chen family had a long history in running business in Nagasaki and these documents recorded their trading business and social activities that they participated from the 1880s to the 1940s when Chen Rui-chun (1840-1908), Chen Shi-wang (1869-1940) and Chen Jin-zhong (1890-1974) were in charge. The Papers contain a huge amount of business letters and historical materials related to Chen’s enterprise operation, family activities, and overseas Chinese affairs. It is definitely the first-hand historical source to research the trade development in modern East Asia and overseas Chinese affairs.

The Institute of Taiwan History and Mr. Chen Dong-hua, the offspring of the Chen family, had signed the agreement to digitalize the Tai-yi-hou Papers in 2012. We acquired the archives five times from April, 2014 to June, 2017 and transported more than 50,000 original items from Japan to Taiwan, including correspondences, account books, code books, receipts, contracts, publications, seals, relics, etc. Based on types and purposes, the Tai-yi-hou Papers are categorized into commercial letters, operational documents, family collections, and the documents of Fujian Guildhall and overseas Chinese affairs. Since the quantity of Tai-yi-hou Papers is enormous and therefore the compiling procedure is time consuming, the archives will open in stages.

Now, the series of Taiwan Commercial Letters is open online. There are approximately 17,000 commercial letters and over 50,000 digital images. All letters are first organized based on which business stores they were from and then classified on the basis of where the business stores located.

The commercial letters are categorized on the basis of different business stores so that readers can easily access letters from each business store. In addition, envelopes, paper, and stamp marks that different business stores used are helpful for readers to understand the history and the operating situation of these different stores as well as their business interactions with Tai-yi-hou. Moreover, “Biography and History” and “Related Material” contain the information about the historical development and the connections between different stores. These letters show the development of different regions and record important historical events so as to present the various features of commercial activities in Taiwan in the 20th century.

Taiwan Commercial Letters, the second series of Tai-yi-hou Papers of Nagasaki, has released now. We welcome the public to access Taiwan Archival Information System and retrieve the materials.

FigureThe letter sent from Taipei Qian-yuan Pharmacy on October 8, 1931.

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