News & Announcements

4/F Main Library

Jan 09 2020

Forever Missing Former Fung Ping Shan Librarian and HKU Deputy Librarian Dr Ma Tai Loi

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Dr Ma Tai Loi at his home in Chicago on the night of January 3rd-4th, 2020. Dr Ma was Fung Ping Shan Librarian and Deputy Librarian of The University of Hong Kong from 1997 to 2001. He graduated with a B.A. in Chinese history and literature from HKU under such luminaries as Professor Jao Tsung I (饒宗頤) and Professor P. K. Yu. (余秉權). He was a Hornell Hall member during undergraduate years and a life member since 2014.

The library career of Dr Ma took shape when he enrolled into the legendary Far Eastern Librarianship program from the University of Chicago headed by famous sinologist and librarian Professor Tsien Tsuen Hsuin (錢存訓). He graduated from this program with an M.A. in 1972 and worked in his alma mater for 25 years (first as a cataloguer, later as its curator). He also received a PhD in Chinese history from the University of Chicago in 1987.

We are indebted to Dr Ma for his many contributions when Fung Ping Shan Library was under his headship, in particular, the project for compiling the “Annotated bibliography of rare books in the Fung Ping Shan Library, The University of Hong Kong” (published in 2003). He promoted scholarly communication and exchanges with many renowned academic institutions, scholars and librarians local and overseas. As a well-known scholar, Chinese rare book expert and librarian, Dr Ma served on the editorial board of “Xu xiu Si ku quan shu” (續修四庫全書) and many other scholarly periodicals, such as Gest Library Journal, “Ban ben mu lu xue yan jiu” (版本目錄學研究), etc. He was actively involved in preparing the proposal for the Library of Congress’s Chinese place name project. His other notable achievements include the establishment of the Contemporary China Collection and Taiwan Research Collection, the Hong Kong Chinese Authority (Name) project (HKCAN), and CNKI’s mirror site in HKU Libraries when we became the first subscriber of China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) outside Mainland China. The mirror site served Hong Kong and several overseas institutions when internet bandwidth was still narrow in those days.

Dr Ma was appointed as the Director of the East Asian Library at Princeton University from 2001 to 2014. During the same period, he filled many positions in CEAL, the organization of North American East Asian Libraries. After his retirement, Dr Ma published several works, including Cai tong yu shan: Ma Tailai wen shi lun ji (2017) (采銅於山 : 馬泰來文史論集), and a newly edited Xin ji Hong yu lou ti ji: Xu shi jia cang shu mu (2014) (新輯紅雨樓題記 : 徐氏家藏書目), on Xu Bo ([火勃]), a Ming book collector. An overview of Dr Ma’s career was compiled on the time of his retirement and was later revised and published as “Remembrance on the Eve of My Retirement,” Journal of East Asian Libraries: Vol. 2014: No. 159, Article 10 (

Dr Ma will be dearly missed for his scholarship in Chinese rare books and promotion of exchange between libraries in China and the United States.

Funeral Arrangements have been finalized for our dear friend. It will be held on 16 January 2020, Thursday, at the Dalcamo Funeral Home on 470 West 26th Street, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 60616. Visitation will be from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM and a short service and cremation will be at around noon at the Hillside Crematory. His ashes will be buried in the cemetery in Princeton, New Jersey, USA, alongside his mother’s ashes.

Condolences can be sent to Mr Chan Wai Ming ( and will be forwarded to Dr Ma’s surviving brother Dr Ma Yau Woon.​


Esther Woo

Deputy University Librarian / Fung Ping Shan Librarian

The University of Hong Kong Libraries

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