Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Tsai Shou Kie, Tientsin, March 27, 1923

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Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Tsai Shou Kie, Tientsin, March 27, 1923


Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Tsai Shou Kie, Tientsin, March 27, 1923


March 27, 1923
Mr. S. K. Tsai
5 Race Course Road
Tientsin, China

My dear Mr.Tsai:

Some time has passed since I last wrote you, and I am writing now to bring the report up to date. Kuo Fong, himself, has doubtless told you the readjustments which have recently been made in his life and work here. As I told you in the last letter, it seemed clear to all of us that the boy was not making sufficient progress in his work at Phillips Academy to justify a continuance of the school connection. Under the circumstances, therefore, the faculty decided that he could give up the Andover connection and advised a smaller school up to such a time as you should either approve of the arrangement or decide on something entirely different. On this basis I arranged for the boy to go to Mont Vernon which was his own choice and where he felt that ho would be able to accomplish most because of familiarity with the conditions there and the friendships already formed. He is at work there at present and writes me so that he has some hope of being able to enter Amherst or one of the smaller colleges this fall. This ambition ought to prove a stimulus to him, and I have, therefore, encouraged him to make his goal.

I have never been able to determine satisfactorily whether the boy’s inability to get better results was due to poor health, lack of interest, or limited mental capacity. Outside of his books he has never shown any lack of mental ability; so that I have always felt that the real difficulty lay somewhere else. In order to be perfectly fair to the boy I finally decided that it was wise to have him very carefully examined competent medical experts, and this was done. Dr.Pratt, the diagnostician to whom I sent him, is a personal friend of nine and probably the leading man in his line certainly in Boston, if not in the country. The exhaustive report which he made to me, including his own letter. I an enclosing herewith. While not versed in medical language itself, it seems to me clear that the trouble is largely nervous and, to a considerable extent at least, capable of control by the boy himself. This I have endeavored to the best of my ability to impress on Kuo Fong, and he has promised me to work hard to force himself to believe that he is physically stronger than he has been inclined to think in the pact. I think that he is a good bit relieved himself to find that the examination had disclosed no physical conditions to justify anxiety. If this is so, he will have made a long step towards control and an attitude of mind which should help distinctly in general physical improvement. On this basis his scholarship, too. should gain.

You have asked me not to bother to send you detailed statements of the boy’s accounts, but as I have them all in the cash book I have used for the various boys in my charge, I shall be glad to submit them at any time you desire; indeed I should feel a bit more comfortable myself to do so. Just at present the account has been overdrawn by $393.30. I believe that the boy himself has informed you of the situation; so that I am not worrying at all about it. His tuition has been paid at the new school until the close of the year, and of course he has not been charged for the final payment here. I have also allowed him $50 for spring vacation expenses.

Please remember me most warmly to the boys and any other of my old friends who may still happen to be with you or in your general vicinity. I have been following as best I could through the incomplete reports that come to us in our American papers developments in China in recent months. What a wonderful thing it will be for China and the world when a stable and absolutely honest and responsible government is once established.

Believe me with kindest personal regards

Very sincerely yours.


Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


March 27, 1923


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