This paper investigates the mechanical performance of longitudinally cracked glulam columns under eccentric compression loads. Experimental investigation was conducted to explore the influence of initial cracks on the failure modes and load bearing capacity of glulam columns. Two different crack patterns named DC and IC, and two column lengths (i.e. 600 and 1100 mm) were considered in the experiments. It was indicated that these two crack patterns reduced the capacity of slender glulam columns and the difference of failure modes was observed between glulam columns with and without initial cracks. Further, a numerical model was developed and validated by the test results. With the application of cohesive zone material model, the propagation of initial cracks could be considered in the numerical modeling. A parametric study was carried out by the verified model and the influence of crack lengths and crack locations was further investigated. From the numerical analysis, it was found that through cracks reduced the capacity of glulam columns significantly. Also, crack location impacts the capacity of glulam columns and the extent of impact relates to the slenderness ratio of the columns, while cracks with different lengths have similar influence on the capacity of columns.