Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to S.Y. Hu, October 1, 1920


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Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to S.Y. Hu, October 1, 1920


Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to S.Y. Hu, October 1, 1920


Typed letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to S.Y. Hu informing him of the sudden and unannounced departure of Chu and Fang from Phillips Academy. Expresses lament over the boys' departure and requests that Hu, who has an interest in the boys' well-being, try and steer the boys onto a better path.


18 October, 1920
Mr. S.Y.Hu
Northwestern University
Evanston, Ill.

My dear Mr. Hu:

I am sorry indeed to have to report that your plans for your fellow students from Nan Kai College have gone badly astray and that your generous efforts in behalf of these boys hare seemingly been misplaced. As I wrote you some time ago, our friend, Pih, gained admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where I hope he will be able to maintain a proper pace. His companions, Chu and Fang, s eased very much unsettled here for the first few days of their stay. Chu was extremely homesick and was in the infirmary for several days, finally he was persuaded by other Chinese boys to get out of bed and go about the usual school activities, with the result that the homesickness promptly disappeared. I saw both of the boys frequently after that time and found them in the best of spirits and apparently happy and contented.

During the latter part of the past week I was compelled to be out of town and on my return, learned, to my surprise, that Messrs. Chu and Fang had suddenly left school without notifying any of us of their intentions or securing the necessary official permission to withdraw. The other Chinese boys were so disturbed by what had occurred that they sent two of their representatives to Boston to hunt up the boys and bring then back. This they did. We were not able to change the minds of there wanderers, however, and though I talked with them at length I could only secure from them the statements that they found the work too hard and proposed to leave.

This last attitude is a bit interesting, in view of the fact that their first dissatisfaction was attributed by them to their belief that the work here would be altogether too easy and that they ought to be in a higher institution.

Under the circumstance I could do nothing but allow the boys to withdraw; though I assured them that in all my dealing with Chinese boys for the past twenty years, this was the first instance that had come to my attention where there seemed to be an utter lack of appreciation of what their friends here had attempted to do for them and a willingness to adopt high-handed methods of procedure which in themselves showed complete lack of proper and gentlemanly conduct. The other Chinese boys in the school felt so strongly on this score that they held an indignation meeting and drew up a statement expressing their keen regret and offering their apologies for this unseenly and unjustified conduct on the part of their countrymen.

I am writing to you frankly, for I know of your keen interest in these boys and your desire to haws them at Andover. From all I can gather, some outside influence has been at work to make the boys discontinued. I understand that they are planning to stay in Boston for a time, that they have already engaged rooms there, and that they are talking of entering Boston University or some other institution, the standards of admission to which are not of the highest, later in the year. I cannot help feeling that such a course would be about the worst thing that the boys could possibly do, for they need the discipline and routine of regular school life and are not likely to gain anything of value by hanging around a large city at this stage of their American careers.

Of course I have not the slightest desire that the boys should return to Andover so long as they are satisfied that they cannot be happy here. I hope, however, that they can be persuaded to take a little different view of their obligation opportunities in this country and will not spoil their chances of successful careers, as some other Chinese boys have done in the past, by refusing to meet those standards and requirements which we expect of our own American students and which the large majority of Chinese students have most willingly accepted as necessary and wise.

Very sincerely yours,


Dr. Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


October 1, 1920


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