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Research Groups

Grand Secretariat Archives Project

Chief Coordinator: Hsi-yuan Chen

The Institute of History and Philology possesses over 310,000 documents from the archives of the Grand Secretariat of the Qing government. These documents, which include edicts, memorials, inter-ministry memorandums, legal case files, household registers, and many other varieties of document from both the Ming and the Qing administrations, are invaluable to the study of the political, social, economic, military, and legal aspects of late imperial China. After the original archives were damaged during the late-Qing Dynasty, these files were removed from the repository. After passing through many hands, they were eventually purchased for a hefty sum by the founder of the IHP Fu Ssu-nien and Dr. Chin Yinke.

The cataloging and editing of these documents began in 1930. By 1975, the IHP had published ten volumes of Ming-Qing Shiliao and three volumes of Ming-Qing Dang’an Cunzhen Xuanji, which together contained over 8,000 documents. The Grand Secretariat Archives Project currently underway was begun in 1981. Its work entails keeping the documents clean and protecting them from insect damage, repairing damage, cataloguing and indexing, creating and publishing facsimiles, and sealing original documents. In 1995, some changes were made to the project. In addition to labeling the documents with catalogue numbers, they were inputted into a computerized catalogue as well. After 1996, the documents were scanned and stored on CD-ROM rather than photocopied. Starting in 2001, the creation of authority files for geographical locations and personal names in accordance with the National Digital Archives Program greatly increased the accuracy of the database search function.

To present, the group has catalogued some 270,000 documents, written more than 174,000 summaries, produced facsimiles of over 290,000 documents, and published 370 volumes of Ming-Qing Dang’an containing approximately 5,000 documents. In 1997, summaries of documents relating to Taiwan were compiled and included in thirteenth volume of the National Taiwan University Department of History’s Taiwanshi Dang’an Mulu. Currently, all summaries and scans of documents can be searched and viewed online as well as printed.