The 1909 April 14 Taiwan earthquake caused significant damage in Taipei. Most of the information on this earthquake available until now is from the written reports on its macro-seismic effects and from seismic station bulletins. In view of the importance of this event for assessing the shaking hazard in the present-day Taipei, we collected historical seismograms and station bulletins of this event and investigated them in conjunction with other seismological data. We compared the observed seismograms with those from recent earthquakes in similar tectonic environments to characterize the 1909 earthquake. Despite the inevitably large uncertainties associated with old data, we conclude that the 1909 Taipei earthquake is a relatively deep (50–100 km) intraplate earthquake that occurred within the subducting Philippine Sea Plate beneath Taipei with an estimated M_W of 7 ± 0.3. Some intraplate events elsewhere in the world are enriched in high-frequency energy and the resulting ground motions can be very strong. Thus, despite its relatively large depth and a moderately large magnitude, it would be prudent to review the safety of the existing structures in Taipei against large intraplate earthquakes like the 1909 Taipei earthquake.