Student Profiles/学生档案/學生檔案

Frank Ching Fan Lin

From:Akiyama Road,Tianjin

Previous School: Tientsin Anglo-Chinese College

Attended: September 27, 1920-June 16, 1922

Dorm:Taylor 4 Lower Middler Year, Dr Stearns Upper Year

Class Year:1923

Phillips Academy Department:scientific

Classes: Lower Year: Algebra 2 + 3, English 3, French 1, Plane Geometry, Physics

              Upper Year: Chemistry, English, French 2, Solid Geometry German 1, Trig   Non-returning middler

Graduated: Non-returning middler

Class of: 1923 (1922 according to 1958 Alumni Directory)

College: MIT

Sex: Male

DOB: February 10, 1904

Guardian: Dr. Stearns

Father: Shian Hsu Lin (or Hsu-Shian Lin)

Major: engineering administration

Frank Ching Fan Lin was born in Ningbo, China on Febraury 10, 1904. He came to the United States when he was 16 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 111 1/2 pounds. In a letter of August 7, 1920, Chang Pah Lung of the Russo-Asiatic Bank in Tientsin writes on behalf of Mr. Lin, asking Headmaster Alfred Stearns to act as the "guardian for Frank, to decide what school he should enter, and to place him in a Christian home with one or more of the boys with whom he is travelling." 1 Mr. Chang makes all of Frank's monetary exchanges, since Frank's father is often away on business for extended periods of time. It is his own son, Harvey Chang, who is traveling with Frank and whom he hopes will be allowed to attend Phillips Academy.

Not much is known about Frank's lower year at Phillips Academy which began on September 27, 1920. He was enrolled in the Scientific Department and lived in Taylor 4, Mr. Manning's dorm. Dr. Stearns writes to Mr. Lin in the spring of the school year that, "I have seen nothing in his attitude or actions to indicate that he isn't seriously determined to get the most he can out of his American life and education and to fully justify thereby the sacrifices which you are making in his behalf." 2

School-year and summer vacations are a perpetual problem for Dr. Stearns since his Chinese wards cannot return home to their families. At the end of the school year, Dr. Stearns arranges for Frank to spend the summer of 1921 at Cockermouth Camp in Groton, New Hampshire. While he is at camp, he receives his report card for his first year at Andover and is disappointed by his low marks.

For his upper year, Frank is scheduled to live in Tucker House with Dr. Fuess, but is unhappy with this arrangement. He doesn't know how to diplomatically handle this situation, when Dr. Stearns offers to let him move into his own house. Due to the tragic death of An John Kung during the summer, Dr. Stearns has a room available. Also living with Dr. Stearns that year is Quincey Sheh. Of the two boys, Dr. Stearns says, "Frank and Quincey Sheh make a great pair, and it has been a real privilege to have them under my roof." 3

Frank leaves Andover on June 16 to spend the summer of 1922 with Dr. Stearns and all of the boys at his camp in New Hampshire. "Frank and Quincey Sheh are the two best all-round campers of the group," according to Dr. Stearns, "winning the cups offered for the best records in general camp activities, athletics, conduct, etc." 4

Frank is admitted to MIT in October of 1922, and from there Frank writes that he is on the freshman soccer team and also plays on a soccer team made up of Boston Chinese. In November, he is pleased to hear from Dr. Stearns that his good Friend MT Liang is transferring from Exeter to Andover.

In the spring of 1923, Frank, Arthur Sun and some friends visit Lowell to play a friendly basketball game with the Chinese students there. His brother-in-law graduates from Tufts in June of 1923, and his sister returns to China in September.

Frank attends the Chinese Students Alliance annual conference in S e p tember.

During the 1923-24 school year at MIT, Frank spends Thanksgiving vacation with Arthur Sun, who is also attending MIT, and some friends in Boston. On Christmas vacation, he misses seeing Dr. Stearns during a visit to Andover, but he and Quincey Sheh see "the Hamlet played by John Barrymore." 5 It is during the winter of 1924 that Frank writes, "So far scientists have not discovered anything that is faster than light. In other words, time still holds the record of being the fastest thing. But now I have discovered a thing which is faster than time, that is the rate of spending money." 6 He constantly worries about his finances and the fact that his account with Dr. Stearns often gets overdrawn despite his frugality.

Over the summer of 1924, Frank is required to attend MIT summer school. He studies surveying and mechanical lab. His mind is elsewhere though — in a letter to Dr. Stearns, he asks, "did anyone catch any big salmons or break the record that was made by Quincey and I?" 7 After completing the term in mid-August, he attends the CSA conference in Haverford, Pennsylvania.

The 1924-25 school year proves difficult for Frank at MIT, and he is again required to attend their summer school. The 1925-26 school year puts Frank into even more serious difficulty at MIT. Due to the trouble he is having, the school recommends that he transfer to Tufts which is not as demanding, and the smaller classes would give him more individual attention. Frank speaks to his professors, and Dr. Stearns writes a letter to MIT stating that Frank has difficulty learning, but works very hard to overcome his difficulty, so he is allowed to stay. Again, he is required to attend summer school.

Frank begins his last year at MIT in the fall of 1926. He makes his first visit to New York City over the Christmas vacation. He stays in a Columbia dorm room, and is appalled at the $9.00 a week charge. In a letter to Dr. Stearns on January 1, 1927, he confesses, "Perhaps I should not tell you that I went to a dance party Christmas Eve in New York among a group of Chinese girls and boys. I had three dances, my first three dances in my life. But I was not good enough a dancer to enjoy it, and I wonder if I will ever enjoy such a strenuous recreation."

By the end of the 1927 school year, Frank has not quite met the requirements for his degree, so attends summer school to work on his thesis. By early August Frank at last secures his degree from MIT and makes plans for any early start home, but by October he is having second thoughts. His friends Arthur Sun and Quincey Sheh returned after graduation, and their letters to Frank must have influenced on decision not to return to China.

In September, Dr. Stearns receives a letter from Frank's father. "We have had something like peace in North China for the last thirteen or fourteen months. If the Nationalists cannot quickly settle their issues with the Communists in their ranks, peace may yet continue for some time to come. When will the North and South be united and a central government established, whose voice will be listened to throughout the length and breadth of the Republic? This is a question even more baffling than the proverbial Chinese puzzle?" 8 In his response, Dr. Stearns tells Mr. Lin that Frank, "seems to have changed his mind a bit recently in regard to the wisdom of an early return to China. I think he feels that Quincey Sheh and Arthur Sun are finding the sledding a bit hard on their return." 9

Frank, upon the insistence of his father, does return to China in the late fall of 1927. According to a letter to Mr. Lin from Dr. Stearns on December 21, 1927, in which he acknowledges the receipt of $400 for Frank's return trip and stating that "Frank should be there by now", Dr. Stearns sums up Frank's stay in the United States as follows, "Frank has never been a brilliant student. His work came hard to him at best, but he has been a most attractive boy to deal with from my point of view, careful in his expenditures, courteous and responsive, and a boy who has won my real affection" 10

  1. Letter to Dr. Stearns from Mr. Chang dated August 7, 1920.
  2. Letter to Mr. Lin from A. Stearns dated May 9, 1921.
  3. Letter to Mr. Chang from Dr. Stearns dated June 26, 1922.
  4. Letter to Mr. Lin from A. Stearns dated summer 1922.
  5. Letter to Stearns from Frank Lin dated December 28, 1923.
  6. Letter to Stearns from Frank Lin dated February 3, 1924.
  7. Letter to Stearns from Frank Lin dated August 24, 1924
  8. Letter to Stearns from Mr. Lin dated September 21, 1927.
  9. Letter to Lin from Dr. Stearns dated October 17, 1927.
  10. Letter to Lin from Dr. Stearns dated December 21, 1927.