Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Dean Annie W. Goodrich, Yale School of Nursing February 16, 1929

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Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Dean Annie W. Goodrich, Yale School of Nursing February 16, 1929


Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Dean Annie W. Goodrich, Yale School of Nursing February 16, 1929


February 16, 1929
Dean Annie W. Goodrich 330
Cedar Street
New Haven, Conn.

My dear Miss Goodrich:

The morning’s mail brings me your letter of February 15 and one of the same date from our friend Mary Sun. Needless to say the news conveyed in both letters is not altogether pleasing.

I am writing Mary advising her to follow your suggestions and to arrange for immediate tutoring in Physiology, for I agree with you that this should not be postponed until a brief summer vacation. I am assuming that you will be able and willing to recommend a competent tutor for Miss Sun. Mary's father is perfectly capable to bear the expense, and I am sure it is a legitimate one in view of the conditions that confront us at the moment.
Mary's record at Yale has been a keen disappointment to me, and I have about given up trying to fathom her mind and purpose. Her father has always been extremely anxious that she should get a college degree in this country from one of our best colleges for women. It seemed very doubtful for several years whether Mary would be able to meet such high standards. I made a special trip to Washington to talk the matter over with Mr. Sze, the Chinese Minister, who is a personal friend of Mr. Sun, and on his recommendation entered Mary in Elmira College out in New York State. She was seemingly unhappy there from the start and floundered pretty steadily in her work. The Dean at Elmira gave me reports almost identical to yours and intimated that Mary had much more ability than she professed or than her achievements indicated.

All of this time Mary was constantly pleading with me to be allowed to study nursing. Her father, being an old-fashioned Chinese, could not look upon nursing as a high grade profession. I vigorously advocated the plan to study nursing, however, believing that Mary would be able to do her best under the influence and inspiration of this profession. When she was a member of my household a few years ago, she impressed everyone there with her natural gifts in this direction. I finally succeeded in persuading Mr. Sun that this was the proper thing for Mary to do, and he gave his consent. You can understand, therefore, that it is tremendously disturbing to me to feel that Mary is not doing her best in this particular work for which she claims such a deep interest and in which she unquestionably has talent.

Mary's older brother who is at Amherst and who is a sterling follow is as much disturbed over the situation as I am and is inclined to agree with me that if at the end of the year Mary shows that she cannot or will not meet the proper requirements of your school, she should be sent back to China. Anyway, I shall await with keen interest the results of the new arrangement and shall hope most earnestly to hear that Mary io making real progress with the assistance of such outside help as she may be able to secure under your guidance and approval.

Very sincerely yours.


Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


February 16, 1929


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