East Asia Library Special Collections: Tao Pai-chuan Papers

August 15, 2017
Joshua Capitanio
Tao Pai-chuan

Among the rare materials held in the East Asia Library's special collections, the Tao Pai-chuan papers are a unique resource for studying Taiwanese history and politics.  Tao Pai-chuan 陶百川 (1901 - 2002) was a scholar and politician who served as an advisor to several prominent figures in the Republic of China government, including the presidents Chiang Ching-kuo and Lee Teng-hui.  In 2010, his family donated a number of his personal documents and a set of his collected writings to the Stanford East Asia Library.

Educated first at the Shanghai University of Law and then at Harvard University, Tao was a prolific scholar of law and international politics.  He occupied a number of different positions within the Nationalist (Kuomintang 國民黨) government before being appointed as a member of the Control Yuan (監察院) in 1947, where he served until 1977.  Because the role of the Control Yuan was to monitor and audit the other branches of the Republican government, Tao interacted with many of the most prominent political figures of mid-20th century China and Taiwan, such as Chiang Ching-kuo 蔣經國, Chen Lifu 陳立夫, Sun Li-jen 孫立人, Yen Chia-kan 嚴家淦, and Lei Chen 雷震.  Glimpses of these interactions are revealed in his personal papers.  The East Asia Library collection includes several boxes of Tao's personal correspondence, including many of his letters to and from Chiang Ching-kuo and Chen Lifu.  Tao's letters are valuable resources for the study of the legal and political history of Taiwan, and provide much information on the internal workings of the Nationalist party.  The collection also includes many of Tao's diaries, spanning several decades from the mid-1950s to the late 1990s.  These materials are a valuable supplement to the documents and essays included within Tao's collected writings.

Tao Pai-chuan diary

Pages from Tao Pai-Chuan's diary

These papers were donated to Stanford's East Asia Library in 2010 by Tao's family, represented by Tao's daughter Tien-wen Wiedmann, an Emeritus Professor at the Stanford School of Medicine.  The family also provides funds to assist with the processing of the collection.  The Tao Pai-chuan papers have already attracted the interest of scholars from China and Taiwan, several of whom have visited Stanford to conduct research on these materials.  They are currently held in the East Asia Library's special collections, and may be viewed by appointment with the Chinese Studies Librarian, Zhaohui Xue.

Learn more about Tao Pai-chuan and this collection.