This paper explores how individual personal memories associated with canonized historical accounts in middle-period China, with a particular focus on two twelfth-century literati elites, namely Li Gang 李綱 (1083–1140) and Wang Boyan 汪伯彥 (1069–1141), who served as chief councilors in the late 1120s. Why and how did the two men record in writing their memories regarding their services in the court of Emperor Gaozong? How were their written records circulated in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries? Answers to the above questions shed light on the changing perceptions of Southern Song literati on the two men and the evolution of their images. Why Li and Wang lived on as an icon of loyalty and treachery respectively in the cultural memory of the Chinese from the fourteenth century onward, I would argue, owes much to the archival of Wang’s memory and the canonization of Li’s memory that portrayed himself as a victim of Wang’s evil plots.