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Taiwan in the Eyes of a Western Traveler--John Thomson’s Footprints in Formosa
John Thomson(1837-1921)is regarded as a pioneering photographer in the 19th century. He traveled to Far East, documenting the portraits, landscapes and eastern cultures profoundly through his lens and these photographs have become precious historical records. Although John Thomson only stayed in Taiwan for a few days, the images and notes he left are valuable historical materials for the research into Taiwan in the 1870s.His story could be comparable to Shen Bao-zhen, one of the figures in 「Traveling in Time」Exhibition. They were the travelers who came to Taiwan in the same time period. Through their stories, we can learn how they interpret Formosa in the 19th century.
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George Leslie Mackay’s Diary is now on the Taiwan Diary Knowledge Bank
2019-04-30

George Leslie Mackay (1844-1901), born in Ontario, Canada, studied at Knox College (Toronto), Princeton Seminary and was the first person to be sent on a mission by the Presbyterian Church in Canada. He came to Taiwan in 1871 and lived in Tamsui, starting 29 years of missionary work. Mackay engaged with local communities in northern Taiwan through traveling, serving as an educator and medical practitioner, and developing excellent language skills. In 1901, he was diagnosed Laryngeal cancer and died at the age of 58. His diaries have 12 volumes, starting on November 1, 1871 and ending on February 12, 1901. The diary written in 1883 was lost. Most of the diaries were written in English and accompanied by non-English words such as local places and names in Roman scripts of Southern Hokkien. Mackay’s diaries recorded his experiences, observations, mission works, education and medical services in Taiwan. Please refer to Table 1 for the years in which the diaries were published.

The full-text of Mackay’s diary is now available online. It includes 10,284 days, 1,356 digital images, 11 annotations and about 290,000 of words. There are 16 diaries and the whole content is composed of over 16 millions words. Reader can access the diaries of George Leslie Mackay and others in theTaiwan Diary Knowledge Bank.

Table 1: Publications of Mackay's Diaries.

Year Publication History
2007 Mackay's Diaries: Original English Version The Northern Synod of the Taiwan Presbyterian Church entrusted Aletheia University to publish this original English version of Mackay’s diaries.
2012 Mackay's Diaries: Chinese Version The Northern Synod of the Taiwan Presbyterian Church and the Relic Committee of the Northern Synod of the Taiwan Presbyterian Church managed a translation program and entrusted Taipei Yu Shan She Press to publish this Chinese version of Mackay’ diaries.
2015 The Diary of George Leslie Mackay, 1871-1901 In order to authentically present the original contents and undergo amendments to Mackay’s diaries, the editing team collated the original manuscripts and entrusted the Institute of Taiwan History to publish Mackay’s diaries.


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