Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Emma Hillard (Mrs. Daniel B.) Nye, South Weymouth, Mass., December 19, 1929


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Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Emma Hillard (Mrs. Daniel B.) Nye, South Weymouth, Mass., December 19, 1929


Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Emma Hillard (Mrs. Daniel B.) Nye, South Weymouth, Mass., December 19, 1929


My dear Mrs. Nye:

Thank you for your letter with the accompanying statement of disbursements. I will send the statement as requested to Mr. Tsai. Sr., though I am sure that he will not feel that it is necessary for you to go to so much trouble and detail.

I am sending you an additional check to replenish your depleted reserve account.

You are unquestionably right in increasing Helen’s allowance. I have never attempted to limit my Chinese wards to the exact amount of their monthly allowances, and have frequently added five and ten dollars here and there for extras and indeed have increased the amount of the formal allowance as they have gone on in their school and college work and have attained more maturity. I am perfectly sure that Helen will never be over-extravagant, though I would hardly feel justified in saying as much for Alfred. Even Alfred, though, seems to be exercising a little more control in this respect than formerly.

The charge of $2.00 a day for room and board when the children are with you is if anything altogether too small. Several years ago when I had four or five of the Chinese in my own family, I tried to figure out exactly what it cost me a week and to charge them accordingly. Of course, in a big house the charges and wear and tear necessarily mounted accordingly. My first thought was that it could be done for about $15.00 a week. Later I became convinced that this was altogether too little, and the charge was raised to $20.00. Still later, after figuring not only board and room but proportionate light and heat, wear, and tear, etc., it was clear that even this amount did not cover the actual outlay. I had to have an extra servant in the house and hire a man to come in for extra cleaning, all of which made the outlay mount rapidly. Like you, I would have been delighted to do the thing for nothing, but simply could not afford to do so. I am perfectly clear, therefore, that if anything you are charging too little at a $2.00 a day rate.

Alfred’s marks are not yet in for the current term, but I do hope that they will be as he writes you, “very good” ones. Alfred is a glorious optimist, however, all the time, and I shall feel more comfortable when I see the marks actually on paper. He has been doing, however, much better this year than formerly, so that I am increasingly encouraged.

It is with the keenest regret that I hear of the strain and sorrow to which you have been subjected during these recent months, and I can only offer my sincerest sympathy and the earnest hope that Dr. Nye will completely and speedily regain his full health and vigor. May I wish you none the less the blessings of the Christmas season and a happy New Year.

Very sincerely yours,


Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


December 19, 1929


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