Li Dazhao

Li Dazhao (1889-1927), also known by his pseudonym (hao) Shouchang, was born in Laoting (a county of Tangshan), Hebei province. In the summer of 1913, Li Dazhao graduated from Tianjin Beiyang Institute of Law and Politics; in the winter of the same year, he moved to Japan and studied in Tokyo Waseda University, pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in political economics. In May of 1916, he dropped out of school and returned home to protest against Yuan Shikai’s restoration of the monarchy. At the end of 1917, Li Dazhao started to work in Peking University. He replaced Zhang Shizhao and became the director of Peking University Library in January, 1918. From July 1920, he had served as the director as well as a professor, teaching in departments of politics, history, and so on.


During his tenure as the director of Peking University Library, Li Dazhao purchased books extensively and comprehensively, reformed service and management work, and soon changed Peking University Library from a closed book collecting building into China’s first new modern library. Therefore, he was regarded as the “Father of Chinese Modern Library”.

Since Li Dazhao attained the age of schooling, he had committed himself to the cause of national liberation. In Peking University, he participated in the editorial work of the New Youth, founded the Weekly Review, and actively devoted to the May Fourth New Culture Movement. After the victory of the October Revolution of Russia, he began to accept and disseminate Marxism-Leninism. The inaugural meeting of the Beijing communist group was held in Peking University Library in October, 1920. After the founding of the Communist Party of China, Li Dazhao helped Sun Yat-sen to reorganize the Kuomintang, and established the Three Big Principles – uniting Russia, allying the Communist Party of China, and supporting peasants and workers. Li Dazhao played an important role in promoting the First Round of KMT-CPC Cooperation. He had served successively as a member of the second, third and fourth sessions of the CPC Central Committee, and the officer in charge of the cooperation between the KMT and the CPC in northern regions. In April 1927, he was arrested and then killed by the warlord Zhang Zuolin. The works he left were anthologized into the Collected Works of Li Dazhao.


There is research literature on Li Dazhao in “Peking University Library Digital Collections”, and graphic and textual materials about him in "Renowned Professors of Peking University".