Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns, October 27, 1930


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Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns, October 27, 1930


Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns, October 27, 1930


My dear Mr. Steams,

There are several things which have been on my mind for quite some time of which I wish to seek your advise and opinion.

I underatand [sic] that Mary is graduating from the New Haven Hospital this coming June. I have seen her and talked with her several times since I came to New Haven, and by that I gathered, she does not know what she is going to do the next school year. There is a possibility that she might go home after her graduation, and there is also a chance for her to stay here in this country another year to either study more or work. In case, if she does go home this summer, is it not logical that I should see her home, being a man, and she a woman? I only mention this as a chance and not at all sure of its prospects. There are sereval [sic] reasons why I said that. These reasons are very personal and private in nature which I do not like to divulge. I hope that you understand. I never wrote to my father concerning of going home, because I was afraid that it might hurt his feelings, and it might also prove too great a disappointment to him after all the plans he made and sacrifices he underwent. What do you think? Please tell me one way or the other so that I can draw some exact conclusions.

Yale is an expensive place to study at. I have practiced extreme economy, and still my expenses are above that which I incurred at Middlebury. I have thought seriously of applying for a fellowship or a scholarship of some kind to make up the difference. It would be futile for me to apply now for the balance of this year, because as a rule, they do not award fellowships and scholarships to first-year-men. However, I will apply for next year,--provided I am coming back to Yale to study and not going home. Please let me know your opinion of the matter. I shall appreciate any advice.

The third thing is also financial in nature. I hate to dwell on money all the time, but since New Haven is a rather expensive town, it is necessary for me to do so. However, you may breath easier, because I am not going to ask you for money yet. I will later, probably around the third week of November. Can you tell me just what condition I am in? that is financially speaking. If I apply for the scholarship or fellowship, and succeed in getting one, the sum will vary between three hundred for the lowest and twelve hundred the highest for me. There are some higher ones, but they are for students of far more advanced standing. The usual sum varies between three hundred and eight hundred. I like to apply for one to make up the difference of expense between here and Middlebury. I sometimes think that you might let me go under the same system which you allow Charlie to go--that is let him have all the money you receive from father, and give him whatever balance he has under your hand. This thought came to me the other day when I was worrying over finances. The feasibility of that plan you know best. I shall leave all of it to you to decide.

What worries me the most and what I know the least and what I like to know the best and most—is the financial condition of my father. If he is going through a financial sacrifice, I shall insist on going home. There are several things which makes me think that, however, I have no ground of thinking so. I see no reason why should he spend his last cent for my education, when I am able and ready to make my own living. You know that Father is getting old. He can not stand my saying and insisting of going home. He has set his heart of seeing me go home a Doctor Sun rather than just Mr. Sun. He has built around that more or less a myth which will be hard to tear down, and to disappoint him will be out of the question as far as I am concern. If he wants me to stay in this country and study, I will be glad to do his command, but if he is undergoing financial difficulties to realize his myth, his attitude is a wrong one. Don’t you think so?

The fourth thing is rather personal and private, and I hope that you will keep it in confidence. I am sick of vagabonding around with no special place to go. I can not call any place my home. I am sick of the idea of having to take my meals at some resturant [sic] or boarding house, and I am also sick of living at some rooming place or dormitory. It may due to my reaching maturity or nearing to it--with a realization of a home. Ten years of it and going on eleven is enough for me, and I think it is enough for most people. Eventually I have to go home, and when I do go home, the prospects will be even darker for me. I just can not get along with them. I have tried with the Chinese here in Yale, and I found that my efforts with them are total losses. I do not know what they think of me, but I do not think much of them. I am not ashamed to say it, but facts are facts. I even do not want to walk with one. What is wrong with me, and please tell me what to do.

It seems funny why I should trouble with all this talk. Charlie was in this country also, and I don’t think he bothered you with any of this. I don’t know why, but I want to get this out of my system. May be I am frank about everything, but that is not to the point. There is something with me that is radically wrong. I know what it is or rather they are, but I am skeptical of telling anyone about it.

All the above things, I ask your advice and opinion. I hope most sincerely that you will answer me each one of the questions singularly. I am most anxious to know.

I find the work here very hard. But as soon as I get used to the system which they use here in the graduate school, I think it will come easier to me than it is now. I am getting used to the environment also. In a couple of more months, I think I will be totally used to the town, however, I will never like New Haven as well as I liked Middlebury, and I am always homesick for Middlebury. But I am getting along better.

Most sincerely yours


Thomas Sun


Phillips Academy


October 27, 1930


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