Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to C.Y. Sun, Tientsin March 17, 1928


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Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to C.Y. Sun, Tientsin March 17, 1928


Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to C.Y. Sun, Tientsin March 17, 1928


March 17. 1928
Mr. C. Y. Sun
44 Cambridge Road
Tientsin, China

My dear Mr. Sun:

Many thanks for your good letter of "February 22 and for the accompanying copy of year letter to Charlie.

I am inclined to share your judgment as to the wisdom of a military course for Charlie. Just why the boy leans that way, I can't understand, for he is anything but a militarist in spirit. He is naturally a scholar, idealistic, and with definite literary gifts. You are absolutely sound in your contention that what China needs today more than well trained generals is men who are trained to fill responsible positions in your government and Courts. Charlie would seem to admirably fitted by nature for this sort of work, and I shall urge very strongly on him the admirability of making that kind of a future his goal.

Your judgment as to Norwich University, however, is not quite fair. West Point, of course, stands out preeminently as the best military college in the United States. Outside of West Point there are three or four institutions to which the Government extends aid and over which it exercises a certain amount of supervision because of the high caliber of the work done. Boys graduating from these institutions are granted by the Army definite credits, and many of them take high positions in the Amy and (government service in later life. In this limited group Norwich stands very high although it is a comparatively small institution and not often in the public eye. For a boy unable to gain admission to West Point I know of no institution that could probably give him a better military and all-round training than Norwich.

Mary still plods along without much success in her studies and with an evident lack of enthusiastic interest in her work. Every little while I get a 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 letter, 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 collage career, beyond the final attainment of a 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 hold a different opinion.

I hear little from Tom directly during the college year, but such reports as I get from time to time indicate that he has been giving a good account of himself at Middlebury College.

Please remember me most warmly to Arthur who, I trust, is measuring up to your hopes and expectations for him, and believe me with kindest personal regard

Very sincerely yours,


Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


March 17, 1928


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