The year 1928 saw the establishment of the Institute of History and Philology (IHP). Early that year, Fu Ssu-nien, then Academia Sinica preparatory committee member of the Daxue Yuan (i.e., Ministry of Education), had recommended the IHP’s establishment to Tsai Yuan-pei, then director of the Daxue Yuan. In March, Academia Sinica undertook more concerted preparations for the IHP at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, with Fu Ssu-nien, Ku Chieh-kang, and Yang Chen-sheng in charge. In July, the IHP was officially established, and Fu was appointed as the director. On October 22, the IHP was relocated to Boyuan, Guangzhou, and for the first time had its own independent premises. It was later agreed that this date would serve as the institute’s anniversary.
The IHP in Guangzhou was initially divided into eight divisions: historical documents, Mandarin Chinese, textual studies, folk arts, Chinese characters, archaeology, anthropology and ethnographic materials, and Dunhuang materials. In 1929, the institute was relocated to Beijing, and the eight divisions were reorganized into three. The History Division focused on historical research and collation of historical texts; the Linguistics Division was dedicated to linguistic research and folk arts; and the Archaeology Division carried out archaeological, anthropological, and ethnographic research. Chen Yin-k’o, Chao Yuen-ren, and Li Chi were respectively appointed to head these divisions. The IHP was relocated to Shanghai after the Mukden Incident (1931), and then again in 1934 to Nanjing after the completion of its new premises in that city. Anthropology was added as the fourth division in May of that year.
During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the IHP was relocated first to Changsha, Hunan, then to Kunming, Yunnan, and finally to Li Zhuang Banli’ao in Nanxi County, Sichuan. In 1946, the IHP returned to Nanjing to carry on research work. The institute established the Beiping Books and Historical Materials Processing Office after it had acquired the holdings of the Beiping Oriental Research Institute and Modern Science Library. Amidst societal and political turmoil in the winter of 1948, the IHP urgently evacuated its scholars and staff, along with books and artifacts, to Taiwan under the leadership of Fu Ssu-nien. The IHP temporarily settled in Yangmei, Taoyuan County, before being relocated to Academia Sinica’s permanent premises in Nangang in the spring of 1954. As sociopolitical situations had become stabilized and Taiwan’s economy boomed, the IHP was able to grow and expand continuously.
In 1955, the IHP’s physical premises consisted of a research building and storage building. In 1958, the archaeology building was constructed and another building was added behind it in 1968. The Fu Ssu-nien Library was built in 1961. Two extensions of the library were built in 1978 and 1989, respectively. In 1986, the Museum of the Institute of History and Philology was completed. In 1994, completion of the new Research Building brought the IHP’s facilities to their current scale. The rear section of the Taiwan Archaeological Studies Building was torn down and rebuilt, a process which was completed in July 2012.
Structurally, the IHP has undergone numerous changes since its permanent settlement in Nangang. In 1958, the Oracle Bones Research Center was established. It was renamed the Philology Section in 1990. There are three separate buildings which house the IHP’s important books and artifacts: the Fu Ssu-nien Library, the Museum of the Institute of History and Philology, and the Taiwan Archaeological Studies Building. Starting in 1995, research centers were established to bring together resources and facilitate collaboration between the IHP and outside researchers. Over time, the number of operating research centers has been adjusted and the centers themselves have undergone restructuring to better reflect their practices and academic activities. Currently, there are eight research centers: Cultural and Intellectual History; Institutions and Society; Archaeology of Taiwan and Southeast Asia; Images and Artifacts; Custom, Religion, and Daily Life; History of Health and Healing; World History; and Digital Humanities. In addition, there are four other groups, namely Grand Secretariat, Scripta Sinica, Bronze Inscriptions, and Anyang. Moreover, there are three laboratories: Bones and Physical Anthropology, Cultural Relic Preservation, and Archaeometry. In 1997, the Linguistics Section established the planning office for the Institute of Linguistics. The IHP’s name remained unchanged, and structurally, it was divided into four divisions, History, Archaeology, Anthropology, and Philology. In 2003, as required by Academia Sinica’s policies, unit titles such as “division” were abolished and “department” was adopted. Each department now has a chairperson responsible for overseeing personnel, administrative and scholarly matters. To systematically manage the documents collected over the years, the IHP began using digital resources and enhancing inter-library cooperation. To this end, the IHP Archives was established in 2014. (See IHP Organization Chart)