Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns, March 31, 1931


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Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns, March 31, 1931


Letter from Thomas Sun, New Haven, Conn., to Alfred E. Stearns, March 31, 1931


My dear Dr. Stearns,

Your letter put me in a rather ticklish position. It is not that I am unwilling to make a broader-itemized report, but it is the fact that I put down every cent I spent exactly in the tables I sent to you. Besides those, I have no other record, except the bank-book stubs. But the difficulty there is that I made practically all the checks out to "Cash" because I prefer to pay bills in cash if there are any bills to be paid; but mostly because when I draw out a check for $20.00, I use that money for everything under twenty dollars and record such expenditure in those tables I sent to you. But I shall try to make an estimate, because I can not be exact when I have not the tables to guide me.

By my check-book stubs, I notice the following items:
Yale University 235.00- tuition and room
Whitlock’s (book-store--for typewriter) 21.00
Arena Garage 7.00 for February
Student Laundry 4.23
Pressing Co. 5.50
Edward Malley’s (clothing)- 5.00 Comm. of Motor Vehicles 14.75 Ludwig’s garage 5.00 for March
Photo Reflex 3.00 first payment
The above $299.98 were noted in my stubs as I stated above, but the other $200.02, or except whatever I have left, were drawn out in parts by checks make out to "cash”. Out of that amount, $200.02, I remember these following items:
Easy-chair at Malley’s 20.00
Photo Reflex—last payment-- 9.50

I also made a trip to Middlebury, but I do not remember the exact amount. However, do not let me to mislead you. I did not pay for things in checks made out in ’’cash", in which case, I would have noted, but paid for things in cash currency. That is the reason why I know little of my expenses outside of the records which I sent to you.

Subtracting the $29.50 from $200.02, there remains $170.52. Out of this amount, I had to pay, in currency, my board, school books for the second semester, other school supplies, clothing, trip to Middlebury for fraternity initiation, laundry not listed above, tailoring, recreation, and every other expenditure which I did not mention.

I received the last amount from you on Feb. 6. The number of days which elapsed till to-day is 54. Granting that my subsistance rate for board is about $1.50 a day, my board bill for that period would be $79.00. Subtracting that from $170.52, there remains $91.52 for all my other expenses which I paid in currency for a period of 54 days. I have left in the bank $27.00, and subtracting that from §91.52, there remains $64.52 which I used to pay for laundry, recreation, trip to Middlebury, and all other expensed which I did not mention such as clothing, haircuts, etc. The average per day would be $1.194.

The following table may be of some advantage to enlighten the matter:
Expenses as noted by bank-book stubs $299.98
Expenses not noted, but remembered 29.50
Total known expenses without record $329.48
Estimated subsistance rate at $1.50 per day—
for 54 days 79.00
Left in bank 27.00
106.00 106.00
Amount accounted for as expenditures 435.48
Received-2/6/1931 500.00
amount accounted for as expenditures 435.48
amount for expenses not listed above but listed in records such as recreation, trip to Middlebury, clothing, tailoring, school supplies, etc., etc, 64.52

Therefore, I had but 64.52 dollars to pay for other incidental expenses for the period of 54 days from Feb. 6 to March 31, to-day. These incidental expenses are laundry, recreation, trip to Middlebury, clothing, school supplies, postal supplies, telephone, etc. and many others. The average, as stated above, for each day is $1,194 plus, which is indeed economical considering I had to pay rather large amounts on one day and spend none the next.

I hope the statement will make you understand better what I conveyed in the records which I sent to you. I am frank to say that I have been as economical as possible. I realize the silver exchange situation and how hard it is for Father to furnish me money in gold dollars, and consequently I spent just what I had to and no more. I hope you can trust my judgement in being economical, which to my mind is wise spending. Expenses may be a wise expenditure one day and not wise the next. I am just trying to figure out wise speeding in relation to myself, and I hope my judgement will stand the test, of which I am sure. I try to hide nothing, because every cent which I spent was down in the records which I sent to you.

It is impossible to make a inclusive broad statement so as to include every cent, because there are so many incidental expenses which can not be classified under any broad heading. For example, I can not very well classify $.50 for haircut under tailoring, and I can not classify 5 ¢ for telephone under Postal supplies, etc. That is the reason why I made a rather detailed record-report to you.

Every time I have to make out a new sheet for recording, I balance expenditures with balance, and I can make it balance to the cent. Therefore, every cent was recorded, and they are on the records for you to examine.

You have reason to think that I am a little extravagant because of my Andover School days. But those days are past and gone forming a part of my past history. Ever since I went to college, I tried to reform myself, and feel that I have succeeded.

In examining the above tables in this letter, I wish you will keep one thing in mind. I can not be exact to the cent without the records to guide me. Those amounts which I listed because of the bank-book stubs and those which I remembered are exact to the cent. But as for subsistance rate for board and others, I can not be positive. The amount I have left in the bank is correct. But I can not be positive as to the expenditure of the $64.52, because I have not the records.

"I can guarantee that you will find every thing I listed in this letter in the records. But as for expenditures of from 4 ¢ for a paper to larger amounts for a shirt or a suit of pajamas, I am afraid you have consult my records. They are listed to the cent.

I am afraid I can not tell you any more than I did, because I know no more. With the records as compared to this letter, I think you will be able to arrive at some conclusion.

With kind regards, I am

Very sincerely yours


Thomas Sun


Phillips Academy


March 31, 1931


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