Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Mr. Arthur Sun, February 16, 1926


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Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Mr. Arthur Sun, February 16, 1926


Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Mr. Arthur Sun, February 16, 1926


Typed letter sent from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Arthur Sun. Discusses Mary's school transfer. Explains the choices were based on telegrams from their father, C.Y. Sun. States he wrote to C.Y. Sun at Christmas, explaining what it would mean to have Mary attend college. Explains the instructions received were 'Prepare Mary for College' leaving Stearns to decide the details. States he is unsure of what to do for Tom future education. Wishes to discuss these issues with Arthur. Received check and credited to account.


February 16, 1926.
Mr. Arthur Sun,
New Tech Dormitory,
Cambridge, Mass.

Dear Arthur:

On my return to Andover this morning I find your letter of February 10th. I am afraid that I have missed your visit if you made one, for I have been away since Thursday of last week.

Doubtless you have heard of the recent decision to change Mary's school, a matter that I hope to be able to discuss with you in the early future. Mary, of course, is terribly upset, and naturally so, and I can’t blame her a bit, for I can’t feel altogether that we have done the very best things; at least, I am rather inclined to believe that if your father had been actually on the ground here, and known all of the conditions, he would have been disposed to favor rounding out the course at Abbot for the school degree, and then adding the college preparation later, even though it might mean an extra year. In view of his cablegram, however, there seemed to be nothing for me to do but act promptly and make the change, which I did. After investigating carefully a number of schools, and making all of the inquiries I could of responsible and informed persons, the Wittier School at Merrimac, which has been chosen, combines a home atmosphere and the possibilities of intensive individual work such as Mary must have if she is to enter the college gates. I don’t think a better school could have been found under the circumstances, and I imagine that Mary will be happy there after she once gets over the natural jar which the sudden upset occasioned.

I wrote your father very fully just before Christens telling him of the rumors that had come to me through you and Charlie, and Mary herself, that he had recently expressed a wish for Mary to go to college. I explained to him very carefully what this meant, the necessity for a complete change of course, probably an extra year of preparation, and further, the evident necessity of a change of school. I added that this involved such radical and drastic action that I would not feel justified in making it without direct and full authority from him. I told him further that I had supposed that I had been carrying out his wishes in having Mary complete the general course at Abbot, which would mean her degree in June. but that my only wish of course, was to do what he desired me to do. After giving all these details and explanations I asked him to write me fully what his present desires were so that I could be governed accordingly. The receipt of this letter by him prompted a cablegram, which only said, "Prepare Mary for College", so that seemingly there was nothing else I could do but act as I have done. I feel very sorry for Mary because I can readily understand the unhappiness that she must feel at this sudden and abrupt ending of the Abbot connection and the breaking of the contacts with the friends she has made there, but, as you can readily understand, there seemed to be nothing else to do in view of the instructions contained in the cablegram mentioned. 

Then there is Tommy’s case to be decided, and here again I am
completely at a Loss to know what to do. If Tom can get into college I really think he ought to go to some small college where the standards are not so severe, but where he will be made to work, none the less, rather than to a bigger institution in a large city, like the University of Penn. Further, I question the value of the business course to a boy of Tommy's disposition unless he is seriously in earnest in his desire to get the very most and best out of it he can. So you see I am really anxious to talk things over with you, and I do hope that you will be able to come out here for such an interview pretty soon.

Yes, I received the rebate check of $14.00 from your Bursar, and credited it at once to your account, though I do not quite understand yet what it represents.

Faithfully yours,


Dr. Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


February 16, 1926


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