The founder of Taoism is Laozi (also spelled Lao-Tzu), whose literal translation means "ancient child." Very little is known about Laozi's life. What we do know is that his birth name was Li Erh, and that he was a native of the southern feudal state of Chu. As an adult, he held a minor government post as a librarian in the imperial archives. At some point he relinquished this post - presumably to engage more deeply with his spiritual path.
As legend has it, Laozi underwent a profound spiritual awakening, and then traveled to the western frontier, where he disappeared forever, into the land of the Immortals. The last person that he encountered was a gatekeeper, named Wen-Tzu, who requested that Laozi offer to him (and all of humanity) the essence of the wisdom that had been revealed to him.
In response to this request, Laozi dictated what was to become known as the Daode Jing (also spelled Tao-Te-Ching). Along with the Zhuangzi (Chuang-Tzu) and the Liehzi (Lieh-Tzu), the 5,000 word Daode Jing forms the textual core of Daojia, or philosophical Taoism.