Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Miss Mary Sun, March 3, 1926


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Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Miss Mary Sun, March 3, 1926


Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Miss Mary Sun, March 3, 1926


Typed letter sent from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Mary Sun. States he doesn't want to deprive her of friends and if Mrs. Russell feels a visit is proper, he has no issue. Explains the group of Abbot girls, including Miss Shapleigh, tried to visit without proper arrangements or checking in with the headmaster of the school they were visiting. Believes her time should be dedicated to schoolwork, since the college prep work is different from her previous courses. States visits are for vacations. States all he has done was based on her father's instruction. Does not appreciate Mary's notion that Stearns has been unfair. Believes allowing Mary to attend Abbot was mistake, as authorities there disregarded his instructions from the beginning.


March 3, 1926
Dear Mary Sun
The Whittier School
Merrimac, Massachusetts

Dear Mary:

Your note of March first has Just reached me. Probably this letter is unnecessary, as a letter which I mailed you only yesterday should have brought to you a dearer understanding of my attitude and feelings.

The last thing in the world that I wish to do is to deprive you of good friends. If in this case Mrs. Bussell feels that a visit from one of the Abbot Academy girls is proper and can be arranged for a time that will not interfere your school work, I shall be perfectly willing to have the plan go through. On the other hand I strongly object to such a visit as Miss Shapleigh and a group of girls made you the other day, without taking the trouble to inquire from the head of the school whether it was proper or not or at what time visits were expected. Visits of that kind are completely upsetting to any school as well as to the girls concerned, and are not tolerated in any first-class school of my acquaintance. Was Shapleigh herself should have known that.

The one object that I have in mind is that, in accordance with your father's definite wishes, you should give the bulk of your time and thought to the important work which is now yours, and which largely because of its novelty will require the most of your time and the best of your effort. The constant writing and receipt of letters and too many visits from friends would simply wreck the whole plan. Vacations are the times for such things, and they should be kept at the lowest limit in term-time. One of the reasons why I hesitated to choose a school so near at hand was just this very thing, and if we can't control it otherwise, I am afraid that we shall have to look for a school much farther away. 

Frankly, Mary, I am getting a bit sensitive over your constant references to my seeming desire to deprive you of legitimate interests and deal unduly severely with you. Tour father has given me his confidence and asked a very definite thing of me. What I have tried to do for you through all these years has been wholly with a view to your best interests, and in the way that your father and I have felt those interests could best be attained. In many ways this has been a thankless job and a hard one, largely because of a seemly lack of appreciation on your part and a readiness to misinterpret my motives and aims. Since my instructions come almost wholly from your father, I do not see how you can entertain this feeling but that it is there has been very apparent, and increasingly so in recent months. Evidently I made a very serious mistake when I allowed you to go to Abbot as a boarder, for the tendency of the authorities there from the start has been to disregard my feelings and desires and arrange your affairs with little, if any, consultation with me. I feel that this is largely at the basis of your present unrest, and if I did not believe that that same influence would continue in a measure from that source, I should recommend with far greater satisfaction the prospects of continued contacts with your old friends there.

Regretting deeply the necessity of writing you in just this vein, but in the belief that it is necessary for me to be in a measure severely frank because of the numerous insinuations contained in your recent note, believe me always and with your best interests constantly in my mind,

Very sincerely yours,


Dr. Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


March 3, 1926


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