Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Arthur G. Robinson, St Louis, Missouri, September 20, 1926


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Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Arthur G. Robinson, St Louis, Missouri, September 20, 1926


Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Arthur G. Robinson, St Louis, Missouri, September 20, 1926


Dear Mr. Robinson:

Your letter of September 17 reached me Saturday afternoon and that of September 18 reached me this morning. In the meantime I have been wiring to Mary's friends and to the indefinite Trenton address, seeking information as to Mary's whereabouts and plans. I can't understand her action. She had my definite permission to visit her friend in Springfield and with the understanding that she was going direct from Springfield to Elmira. Naturally the discovery that she was in Trenton upset me badly, though I am assuming that she found it easier to reach Elmira by way of New York and chose that route, stopping over for the week-end with the friend in question. She had visited once before the school friends in Dover, Delaware, not far from Wilmington, but the Trenton friend is a new one, though doubtless O.K. Mary's Springfield friend wired yesterday, giving the exact address, and I have sent two messages to Mary since that address arrived, asking her to wire you the details of her plans, with the date and hour of arrival in Buffalo. I gave the New York address and hoped the message might reach you before you left or would be forwarded to you en route.

On receipt of your second letter this morning, l with your sister's address, I wired Mary at once, again using the Trenton address, asking her to telegraph your sister the hour of her expected arrival in Buffalo, Syracuse, or Binghamton. I had to make this message a bit indefinite, as I did not know which route would be likely to prove the natural one from Trenton. The earlier assumption was that Mary was to go direct from Springfield, though Buffalo would seemingly be the objective. My fear is that this message may have arrived too late and that Mary may now be in Elmira.

Naturally this action of Mary and seeming disregard of my interest and authority have distressed me greatly. It is an attitude that was apparently strongly encouraged when Mary was at Abbot Academy last year, furnishing one of the reasons why I was glad to sever that connection when I did, though I would have been willing to have put up with even this disturbing factor if it had not been necessary to make the change for scholastic reasons.

Under the circumstance I am forwarding your letter to Mary, as I think you have not put the matter a bit too strongly. A wire received from Mary last Saturday reads: "Impossible to keep Mr. Robinson's plan if you wish me to be loyal to you. Letter explains." No letter of explanation has come, and what in the world Mary means by loyalty to me in the matter is beyond my comprehension. I answered that message more vigorously than ever and told her that I must insist on the full acceptance of your plan, which had her father's approval as well as my own. If I could possibly leave my duties here at this time, I should jump on the train for Elmira myself and try to straighten out the tangle. As it is I can only hope that if your sister misses Mary en route to college, she will be generous enough to make an early trip there and use her good influences to put into operation the plan on which we had agreed.

As to your expenses, by all means send me a statement. I am sure that it is only right and certainly in accordance with Mr. Sun's own wishes that you should be reimbursed for all the extra cash, to say nothing of time, you have invested in this problem. I don't believe that even Mr. Sun realizes the anxious thought and time that some of us give to these interesting visitors from the Orient, but I know that it has always been his wish that every extra expense which their presence has caused should be promptly met in this way.

I, too, had assumed that Mary quite understood that she was to consult me and follow my wishes before making her definite plans for a room at Elmira. Before talking with you, I had assumed, of course that she would go through rhe usual process and take a dormitory room, for it seemed to me that, in view of her five years experience in this country she would be competent to do this and without detriment to her work and standing. Frankly, my summer was about the most upset one I have ever gone through, and in view of the necessity of getting my daughter and Miss Clemons off for Europe, coupled with the critical illness of my wife, whose death for a number of weeks was regarded as only a matter of days, I am afraid that my mind did not center to the extent it should have done on Mary's particular problem. Further, I am sure that we can yet straighten matters out, and I have become sufficiently accustomed to Mary's protests against plans that did not fit in completely with her own wishes not to be unduly disturbed by that factor.

I shall continue to keep you posted as to Mary's movements and progress, at least so far as Mary herself is willing to post me.

Very sincerely yours,


Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


September 20, 1926


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