Chu Hsi-tsu (1879-5 July 1944), historian, taught at such universities as Peking (1913-26; 1928-30), Chung-shan (1931-33), and National Central (1934-44). After 1939 he served as executive secretary of the' Kuo-shih kuan [bureau of national history].
Little is known about Chu Hsi-tsu's childhood. His native place was Haiyen, Chekiang. After receiving his early education in the Chinese classics, in 1905 Chu won a Chekiang provincial scholarship for study in Japan. In Tokyo, he enrolled at Waseda University and took courses in history and geography. He also studied phonetics with his fellow-provincial Chang Ping-lin (q.v.), who then was editing the Min-pao [people's journal] and lecturing on Chinese studies. The two men formed a lasting friendship.
After the revolution of 1911, Chu Hsi-tsu was appointed magistrate of his native district of Haiyen in Chekiang province, but he soon left that office to serve in the provincial department of education. In 1913 he went to Peking to attend a conference on the standardization of spoken Chinese. There he proposed the use of a phonetic alphabet as a preliminary step toward linguistic unification, an idea which earlier had been proposed by Chang Ping-lin. After that conference, Chu Hsi-tsu was invited to teach at National Peking University, where he soon became chairman of the department of Chinese. After Chang Ping-lin was placed under house arrest by Yuan Shih-k'ai, Chu Hsi-tsu was one of the few former students to continue to pay regular visits to Chang. Chu Hsi-tsu joined the Ch'ing-shih kuan [bureau of Ch'ing history], headed by Chao Erh-sun (q.v.), but soon resigned from that post to protest Chao's affiliation with Yuan Shih-k'ai. In 1926 Chu left his teaching position at Peking University when Chang Tso-lin (q.v.) proclaimed himself commander in chief at Peking and began to interfere with academic freedom. Since Tsinghua and Fu-jen universities were less involved with politics, he taught at those two institutions instead. He did, however, handle the purchase for Peking University of the archives in the Ch'ing palace. Chu was known for his advocacy of the theory that Chinese students of history should be equipped with a richer knowledge of modern social science theories. He also collaborated with Hu Shih (q.v.) in popularizing the pai-hua [vernacular] movement. Chu Hsi-tsu rejoined the faculty of Peking University in 1928, after the demise of Chang Tso-lin, and became a research fellow of the Academia Sinica in 1930.
In 1931 he left north China and moved to Canton to teach at Chung-shan University, where he gathered materials for a study of Ming history after 1644. In 1934 he went to Nanking to join the faculty of National Central University. At the same time he served as a member of the council for the preservation of China's ancient cultural objects and visited ancient sites in Nanking, Anyang, and Tangt'u to supervise archaeological excavations. That work led to the publication of Liu-ctiao ling-mu tiao-ch'a pao-kao [a report on the investigations of tombs of the six dynasties]. In the 1930's, while teaching at Nanking, he made monthly journeys to Soochow to attend lectures given by Chang Ping-lin.
After the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war in 1937 Chu Hsi-tsu moved with National Central University to Chungking. His activities, however, were not limited to classroom lectures. In 1938 he submitted a long memorandum to the ministry of education of the National Government advocating curriculum standardization in institutions of higher education. The following year he assisted Chang Chi (q.v.) in drafting plans for the establishment of a tsung tang-an k'u [bureau of general archives] and a kuo-shih kuan [bureau of national history]. After the government authorities accepted this proposal, Chang Chi was named chairman of the Kuo-shih kuan, and Chu Hsi-tsu became its executive secretary. Chu died in the summer of 1944 at Chungking.
Chu Hsi-tsu's writings on Chinese history frequently are marked by a strong nationalistic feeling. In this category are his wartime works intended to expose the evils of puppet regimes: Wei-Ch'u-lu chi-pu [a study of the records of the puppet regime Ch'u], Wei-Ch'i-lu chiao-pu [a study of the records of the puppet regime Ch'i], and Wei-Ch'i kuo-chih cKang pien. Before the war he wrote the Chan-kuo shih nien-piao [a chronology of the period of the warring states], the Chi-chung-shu k'ao [an investigation of the Chichung-shu], and the Yang Yao shih-chi k'ao-cheng [an investigation of Yang Yao's life]. In the field of bibliography he produced the Wan-Ming shih-chi k'ao [an investigation of the history of the late Ming dynasty], the Li-Ving ts'ang-shu Ci-chi [on the Li-t'ing collection of books], and the Hsin Liang-shu i-wen-chih [on the section on arts and literature in the Hsin Liang-shu]. In 1944 he published the Chung-kuo shihhsueh t'ung-lun [a general discussion of Chinese historiography], a revised edition of lecture notes he had used at Peking University in 1919.
Chu Hsi-tsu had four sons. The eldest, Chu Hsieh ( 1907—; T. Po-shang), received his doctorate in economics from the University of Berlin in 1932. On his return to China he served in a number of government posts, but later became chairman of the department of economics at National Central University. Chu Hsi-tsu's daughter, Chu T'an (1910-; T. Chung-hsien), a historian specializing in the late Ming period, married Lo Hsiang-lin (1905-; T. Yuan-i), another professor of history.