Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Mr. Charles Sun, February 22, 1926


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Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Mr. Charles Sun, February 22, 1926


Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Mr. Charles Sun, February 22, 1926


Typed letter sent from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Charles Sun. States Charles letter arrived as Stearns was discussing Mary's situation with Arthur. Sent a cable to their father to disregard messages from Mary until Stearns' letter explaining the situation arrives. States Mary is adjusting to the new situation. Explains the school transfer was based on a cablegram from C.Y. Sun to 'prepare Mary for college'. Explains the change was required because her current courses were not focused on college preparation. States Mary's first reaction was understandable and has since started adjusting to the new school. States she still wishes to return to China. Apologizes for any worry this has caused Arthur and Charles.


February 23, 1926
Mr. Charles Sun
35 Woodsides Avenue
Amhest, Mass.

Dear Charlie:

By a curious coincidence your letter reached me at the very moment that Arthur, who had me come out for lunch, was sitting in my study discussing with me Mary’s situation and problems. As a result of that talk I have just dictated a long letter to your father explaining everything, and I may even cable him in the morning, urging him to disregard any message received from Mary in advance of the receipt of the letter which I am sending. I have told him that her first reaction was naturally one of resentment, and not to blame her for it under the circumstances, but that from all we could learn (and Arthur and Miss Clemons have both talked with her over the phone this after noon) the first feelings had largely died away, and that Mary was now adjusting herself rapidly to the new conditions and growing increasingly contented. I am sure, therefore, that you need have no further occasion to worry on this score.

My action in changing Mary’s school was taken on the receipt of a very definite cablegram from her father, saying only “Prepare Mary for college”. His message was prompted by your father’s receipt of a letter from me, written on December 18th last, in which I told him of rumors that had reached me that Mary was to go on to college later and the careful explanation I gave him of what that would mean, since Mary up to that time had been taking, not the college-preparatory course, but the general course, on my understanding that this was to round out her American education and that this school diploma was desired. I told your father frankly that if college preparation was to be adopted, not only would Mary’s course have to be changed at once, but all probability her school as well, for she would need form now on intensive and personal work and that I did not feel authorized to undertake anything so radical and drastic as this without definite instructions from him. In view of his cable, therefore, I could not do anything else than what was actually done.

Of course Mary was terribly upset. That was natural enough and I cannot blame her in the least. I purposely acted quickly, after I had investigated carefully the qualifications of various schools , for I knew that the longer the step was delayed the more difficult it would be for Mary herself, as her friends would naturally bemoan her departure and console with her over what they would regard as a hard decision. The first day after Mary reached the new school she filled the mail-bag with letters, to her brothers, to Mr. Szein Washington and to others and I naturally inferred that these letters would be of the character that both your and Arthur have described. I am sure, however, that this was only the first reaction. Mrs.Russell, the principal of the new school, assured me only today that Mary had settled down and seemed increasingly happy and contented, and in conversations which both Arthur and Miss Clemons had with Mary over the phone this afternoon she herself admitted that this was so, that the school was all right, the girls exceedingly friendly, that she was working hard, but that she still wished (and that, of course, has been her wish for months) to return to China.
So you see, Charlie, I think that things are not quite so black as you felt them to be on the receipt of Mary’s hysterical letter. I am very sorry Mary had to go through this ordeal, which has been extremely hard for her, of course. I am sorry, too, that you and Arthur have had to shoulder an extra burdern of anxiety because of it, and I shall be doubly sorry if anything Mary has said tends to upset her father. If I cable him after I hear from Arthur tonight, I shall simply ask him to disregard Mary’s message and away the receipt of my letter. I shall simply ask him to disregard Mary’s message and await the receipt of my letter. In this way I believe we can forestall trouble and smooth things over so that within a short time the situation will be satisfactory to everybody.

Again my thanks for your letter. Don’t worry any more, though I know it is just like you to take a thing of this kind deeply to heart, for your are, perhaps, more likely than most others to sense the significance of all of the factors involved. I have been immensely perplexed and distressed myself over the situation, but have done only what I felt your father definitely wished me to do, and am much more cheerful now, in view of development of the last few days.

With all good wishes, believe me ever.
Very sincerely yours.


Dr. Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


February 22, 1926


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