Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Mr. T.Y.C. Lee, October 8, 1923


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Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Mr. T.Y.C. Lee, October 8, 1923


Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Mr. T.Y.C. Lee, October 8, 1923


Typed letter sent from Alfred E. Stearns to Tommy Y.C. Lee. Is glad to receive letter from Tommy. Discusses current events in China. Believes the Chinese Andover students could do great things for China and the world.


Dear Tommy:

I nearly fainted when I found your letter on my desk a day or two ago. Do you blame me? Curiously, I had just returned from a hurried trip up to Connecticut Lake where there are so many associations that bring you and your antics vividly to mind; indeed the natives up there have not forgotten you yet, and a frequent inquiry, which they have addressed to me from time to time during recent years, runs like this: "Whatever has become of Tommy Lee who used to come up here for his summers?" Of course I couldn’t tell them, at least until my good friend Tsai advised me recently that he had taken you under his roof - to keep you out of jail, I suppose.

Well it was mighty good to get even that little slant on your whereabouts and doings. Now that you have gathered courage to write, and especially as you are not asking for money, do for goodness’ sake let the habit become fixed and keep me posted. I am immensely interested in all you old Andover boys have there and am counting on you to do big things for your country. In its present state of chaos it needs some vision and unselfish common sense to get the machinery of the government running smoothly. Unless the various elements that have been trying to cut each other’s throats stop their nonsense and throw out some real and unselfish patriotism, China will fall a prey to her stronger neighbors for years to come. As it is, under proper leadership she ought to be one of the greatest and most influential leaders of the world. Why don’t some of you Andover fellows jump into the fray and become the Roosevelts of China. It is a wonderful opportunity. Roosevelt, himself, never had its equal, and I am not sure even that Lincoln did; for a strong and united China, in which the splendid qualities of your people were in the ascendency [sic] and the weaker ones eliminated or at least held in check, would easily be one of the most influential factors in the world for peace and the prosperity of all.

Here I am preaching. I suppose I dare do this because you are so far away and I cannot see the expression of amused disgust that my little sermons sometimes call out on the faces of those who have to listen; but I am in deadly earnest this time, for, frankly, one of the inspiring features of the happy and intimate contacts I have had with some of you Chinese boys has been the belief that, when you returned to China, you would do great things for your country and the world. On the whole, I have been a bit disappointed to date, though I am not going to lose all my optimism yet.

Remember me warmly, please, to all the old friends. How I would love to see you all again and in your native land. Perhaps I shall some day. Who knows?

Anyway, the latch string at my home is always out for you and all the rest if any of you over return to the scenes of your old school days. Good luck and success to you!

Ever sincerely yours,


Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


October 8, 1923


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