Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to C.Y. Sun, Tientsin April 24, 1928


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Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to C.Y. Sun, Tientsin April 24, 1928


Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to C.Y. Sun, Tientsin April 24, 1928


April 24, 1928
C. Y. Sun
44 Cambridge Road
Tientsin, China

My dear Mr. Sun:

I have your letter of March 27. for which please accept my thanks.

The remittance of $4,000.00, to which you refer, was duly received from the national City Bank of New York. As the check came direct from the Bank without any other comment than that it was being forwarded at your request, I acknowledged its receipt at the time, February 4, direct to the Bank. Evidently I should have mentioned this in my next letter to you, as well, though I assumed that evidence of the fact that the check had been duly delivered to me would come to you through the local branch office in Tientsin. The sum was divided, as usual, between the accounts of the three children, one-third to each.

As to Mary’s further work, I am still troubled, but I shall not press the matter further until you have received and had a chance to consider carefully the suggestion offered by the Dean of Elmira College and which I forwarded to you in a recent letter under date of April 17. In at least two of my earlier letters I had expressed my interest in the nursing plan for Mary but had gathered that you would not be satisfied to have Mary take such a course. Dean Harris’s suggestion is apparently a voluntary one on her part, since I did not even know that Elmira College provided such an arrangement as she outlines. May I give herewith one paragraph which appears in a letter which I wrote you on March 17, last, and which will indicate definitely that I have had this matter in mind:

Mary still plods along without much success in her studies and with an evident lack of enthusiastic interest in her work. Very little while I get distinctly depressed letter from her which prompts me to send her cheering and encouraging words, for she evidently needs to be strengthened in this way in her endeavor. Personally, I can't help regretting very deeply that it has not seemed wise to you to let Mary take a course at the Nurses Training School at Yale for example, a plan which has long Appealed deeply to her and in which she would seem to have a genuine interest. Evidently, too, she has some natural gifts for this sort of work, which, as I intimated in an earlier letters, is coming more and more in this country to be regarded as a high grade profession for women. The fact that Yale University has recently added the course to its regular graduate courses is indicative of the trend of sentiment. Perhaps I am wrong, but I can’t help feeling that Mary’s college degree, if she succeeds in reaching that goal, is not likely to prove of any special value to her in her later life. If she were a natural scholar and had been able to hold a higher rank in her studies, I might hold a different opinion.

Of course I understand that you will be keenly disappointed if Mary returns to China without a regular college degree, even though I am inclined to think that many of the Chinese who are studying in this country are disposed to overemphasize the value of a college degree by itself alone. After all it should be what the degree stands for rather than the degree itself that counts. In Mary’s case it begins to seem as if the regular college degree was out of her reach, though it is difficult for me believe that she has not the actual ability to secure one. The Dean’s latest intimation that Mary might have to give up her college course at Elmira unless some readjustment in her course of study were made natural stirred my interest. I wrote at once to Mary begging her to bend every effort to avoid such a catastrophe, but I am not sure that she can do this now except possibly along some such line as Dean Harris suggests in the letter which I have sent you, and I know from recent letters that Mary has written me that she herself is thoroughly discouraged. I am urging her again to keep up her courage and do her best with the present tasks assigned her, at least until we hear further from you.

Charlie and Tom both seem to be doing very well in their respective colleges. The records which come to me from time to time, and which I have forwarded to you, indicate eminently satisfactory progress. I do hope that I may be able later to send you better reports of Mary’s standing and progress as well.

With kindest personal regards,
Believe me,
Very sincerely yours,


Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


April 24, 1928


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