Letter from Florence Bigelow, Walnut Hill school, Natick, Mass., to Alfred E. Stearns, September 8, 1927


Dublin Core


Letter from Florence Bigelow, Walnut Hill school, Natick, Mass., to Alfred E. Stearns, September 8, 1927


Letter from Florence Bigelow, Walnut Hill school, Natick, Mass., to Alfred E. Stearns, September 8, 1927


My dear Dr. Stearns:

Your acknowledgment of my letter in reply to your questions about Miss Tsai reached me this morning, sent on to me from Rockport. I really wish that I could have Miss Tsai at Walnut Hill for we have always found the Chinese girls here were interesting and they set such an example of scholarship that they have proved an inspiration to the rest. As I wrote you our course is limited to college preparation and Miss Tsai should have a more general course.

It is a very difficult thing just now to find a school where the old-fashioned American influences prevail. Whatever the standards and attitudes of the teachers the girls who come almost always bring in some of the modern ideas which I at least should be glad to keep out. I do not know that I can give you any very valuable suggestions but I can at least tell you what my impressions of certain schools are. I think very highly of Abbot Academy which you of course know well and I more often recommend people whom we want to help but cannot take here to Abbot Academy than to any other school. Another school which Miss Conant and I have visited and like very much is the Shipley School at Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Miss Howland and Miss Brownell, the principals, are very charming ladies with what I fancy are the old Philadelphia ideals and standards. They have a graciousness and a motherly attitude toward the girls it seems to me and it seems quite characteristic that they have each adopted a little child and maintain a home for these children near the school or possibly in connection with it. Another school that I believe is thoroughly sincere and maintains a high standard of character and work is the National Cathedral School in Washington, of which Miss McDonald is principal. Miss McDonald is a Wellesley woman whom I knew a little while she was still in college and I have always had a high respect for her ideas and her ability. She was brought up in Washington and knows the city thoroughly and has a very large circle of interesting and notable friends. The school as you know is under the management of the Episcopal church and the school buildings are in the same enclosure with the new cathedral which is going up. The grounds are large however and I understand that the girls have a great deal of out door life with many opportunities for all sorts of interesting experiences in Washington.

At this moment I cannot mention any other schools which I myself know well where I think the old American ideals are as well maintained as in these three but of course there are very many excellent schools and they lay the emphasis in different ways. Since Miss Tsai is eighteen years old and I imagine a girl of some considerable independence of character as most of the Chinese girls I know have been she very likely would be interested in the city of Washington. If you think the Washington life would be undesirable for her (of course the girls in the Cathedral School are much secluded and do not go to the city except for sight seeing and visits to educational institutions) there is a small school in Concord, New Hampshire St. Mary’s School which I think is simple and sincere and not sophisticated. We have had a number of girls come to us from that school who have all been well trained in manners and morals and have good ideals of work and conduct. I have never visited the school but Miss Ladd has visited Walnut Hill. She is a woman of conservative ideas and I think that the school is less gay and probably less dressy then some others. In the four schools I have mentioned and I have visited the other three, I have always noticed a very delightful spirit of friendliness and comradeship between the girls and teachers and they have not seemed to me ultra fashionable nor given up to the modern social ways.

I am afraid this is not very clear nor very definite but I believe that Miss Tsai would find broad-minded people whom she would like and respect and who would present the best standards of American life to her in all these schools.

Sincerely yours,


Florence Bigelow


Phillips Academy


September 8, 1927


All Rights Reserved By Phillips Academy