Hu Shi's diary on show at Shanghai Library

Wang Jie
The most complete set of manuscripts about the overseas studies of Shanghai-born Hu Shi (1891-1962), one of the country's leading intellectuals, goes on display.
Wang Jie

The most complete set of the manuscripts of “Diary during My Overseas Study” written by Hu Shi (1891-1962) is on show at Shanghai Library through Sunday.

Born in Shanghai, Hu, also known as Hu Shih, was a Chinese philosopher and essayist.

This diary is widely recognized for its precious historical value of the New Culture Movement in China at the beginning of the 20th century.

The diary on display consists of 18 columns in 500,000 words. They recorded Hu’s personal experience during his overseas study in the United States, his puzzles and ponderings about society.

The diary was first published in 1939 by Shanghai Yadong Library, but missing some of the diaries from 1917 to 1919.

But the exhibition adds two diaries from that period, which gives a complete timeline for Hu’s life and career.

Apart from Hu’s manuscripts, the diary also includes nearly 450 personal photos and newspaper clippings in English and Chinese that he stamped in them.

As one of the national scholars, he was sent to study at Cornell University in the US on August 16, 1910. He was greatly influenced by his professor, John Dewey, and became a lifelong advocate of pragmatic evolutionary change. He received his PhD in philosophy in 1917 and returned to lecture at Peking University.

During his tenure there, he began to write for the “New Youth” journal, quickly gaining much attention and influence. He soon became one of the leading and influential intellectuals during the May 4 Movement and later the New Culture Movement.

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