Letter from Alfred Stearns to Chung Ying (C.Y.) Sun, Tientsin, April 19, 1922


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Letter from Alfred Stearns to Chung Ying (C.Y.) Sun, Tientsin, April 19, 1922


Letter from Alfred Stearns to Chung Ying (C.Y.) Sun, Tientsin, April 19, 1922


My dear Mr. Sun:

Your last letter, bearing date of January 15th, has long remained unanswered; though I know that most of the information called for by it has been transmitted to you through various channels, including my last, but a bit earlier, letter. By this time I trust that Mr. Liang will have returned to Tientsin and given you this latest direct news from the members of your family in America. I am writing this brief letter, therefore, merely to indicate the present situation, though there is nothing especially new to report.

Arthur has been spending the past two or three days with us, as he has had a brief vacation celebrating the Easter season; and I like to have him feel that my house is definitely his American home. I have been very pleasantly impressed with what his life and work at the Institute of Technology are doing for him. He seems more mature than formerly and talks very sensibly about life and its various problems. In scholarship he has gained steadily and, on the whole, I believe is developing very well. I find it much easier than formerly to discuss intimately with him the problems of the other members of the family, and this is a great help.

As you know, at the present time Mary is living with me and attending Abbot Academy, a local and excellent boarding school, as a day student, while my own daughter is completing her course in the high school. The change from Northfield was made with regret, but it seemed necessary. In my daughter’s case overwork had seriously impaired the girl’s health; and the doctor recommended special diet and care to restore her vitality. Mary might have remained at Northfield, but the principal of the school assured me that the work, even of their lowest class, was really a bit beyond her and that she needed a further year of preparation if she were to go on there successfully. Under the circumstances and in view of this recommendation I deemed it wise to withdraw Mary from the school at the same time that my own daughter left. What to do for the coming year is still the problem. My feeling is that Mary ought to enter, as a regular student, some good girls' boarding school instead of continuing the present arrangement where she is only a day scholar and hence does not have full opportunity to mix with the other girls and enter into all phases of the school life. The problem is to find, in these strange modern days, a school which still maintains the old high standards of scholarship and Christian character building. I am constantly making inquiries among friends in whose judgment I have confidence, but am still at a loss to know just what to do. The reaction from the war have worked their distressing influence on social and moral standards in America, as they evidently have done in other lands. That the pendulum will swing back again in time is my sincere belief. The days through which we are passing cannot fail to make us all anxious.

Charles and Thomas are going steadily on in their school work at Phillips Academy. Charles has gained steadily from the start and will undoubtedly secure his regular promotion at the end of the year. Thomas has found the work very difficult, and, as I was disposed to anticipate, will doubtless have to repeat the work of the lowest class next year. Possibly he would have gone ahead a bit faster, though I am inclined to doubt it, if he had gone to some other and lower grade school for this year. He was so anxious to be with his brother, however, that I finally allowed him to make the attempt here; and as his instructors felt that he was gaining much from the experience, even if he were not likely to secure his promotion, I decided to let him stay.

Please let me thank you, l and most heartily, for the copy of our photograph. I feel more than ever now as if I knew you and could count you among my good friends. The photograph stands on my desk in my study and has attracted much favorable comment from many of my friends who have seen it.

Trusting that you will always feel free to express very frankly to me questions that may arise in your mind in regard to your children or to offer any suggestions that commend themselves to you by which I may be better able to carry out your wishes for them, believe me, with regards and esteem,

Very sincerely yours,


Alfred Stearns


Phillips Academy


April 19, 1922


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