Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Admiral H.K. Tu, February 14, 1928


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Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Admiral H.K. Tu, February 14, 1928


Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Admiral H.K. Tu, February 14, 1928


Typed letter sent from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Admiral H.K. Tu. Explains why Tu's earlier instructions for his son, K.Y. Tu, to return to China weren't followed. States K.Y. Tu pleaded to stay and complete his high school diploma and attend dentistry school. Allowed K.Y. Tu to stay at local high school but did not make progress. Explains Tu traveled to Boston and stated he's found a job in a doctor's office with free room and board, is studying at Boston English High School. Explains withouth permission from H.K. Tu, Stearns could not provides funds. Asks H.K. Tu for his opinion and decision on the situation. Is unsure whether K.Y. Tu will finished a high school diploma. Is also unsure whether Stearns can convince K.Y. Tu to return to China.


February 14. 1928
Admiral H.K.Tu
c/o H. K. Tong
Chilili River Commission
Tientsin. China

My dear Mr. Tu:

You are doubtless wondering why your earlier instructions have not been carried out to date and Kong returned to you. There is a rather long story involved, but I will touch on it only briefly that you may have a clear understanding of the essential factors in the situation.

When I gave Kong your message he was greatly distressed and pleaded with me for another chance, suggesting that he could continue work in our local high school where the demands would not be so severe as at Phillips Academy, and in the hope of securing eventually a high school diploma which would enable him to enter a college or graduate school where he could get special training in dentistry. As I have already written you, we could find no dental school worthy the name that would admit a pupil with less than a complete high school course.

I finally yielded to Kong's urgent pleadings and arranged with the principal of the local high school for the boy to begin work there. After a few weeks one of his teachers came to see me and reported that she was sure the boy could not do the work. To give him every chance in the world, however, I allowed him to continue several weeks longer, at which time the principal, a personal friend of mine - told me frankly that he could not properly allow Kong to remain there longer as he was not able to do the work even with the outside help which some of his teachers generously give him. I sent for Kong, therefore, and told him that I did not see how I could do anything else but follow your earlier instructions and require him to return to China. He was greatly depressed, naturally, and assured me that he could and would in some way secure training in dentistry which would enable him to realise your ambition for him. I tried, but without success, to explain to him that I felt this would be a mistake and that it seemed to me that he probably ought to consider a totally different kind of occupation, possibly business, in which he might very naturally meet with success.

A day later I heard from the boy that he had gone to Boston to consult a Chinese friend and would advise me a bit later of his plans. This morning I have a letter from him in which he says, -
"I am working about three hours a day in a doctor's home and I can get my room and board free and besides that I get a little amount of money, so I think I can get along without my father's help. 

I am studying at Boston English High School and take four subjects. I try to study as hard as I can.

I am not going home before I finish high school.

I wish you would tell my father what are the plans I have in my mind when you write to him."

When Kong left me I told him that in view of your instructions I could not properly use the funds you had placed in my hands to meet his further expenses in this country unless authorised to do so by you. but that I would gladly follow your instructions in the matter so soon as these were known to me. The boy seemed to appreciate my position and readily accepted the situation, assuring me that he would find some kind of a job to earn for himself needed funds. Whether he can make enough to get along on from his present job. I am not prepared to say. His spirit and earnestness in the matter, however, seem to be of the best.
I am really at a loss to know what to do under the circumstances, and must ask again your advice. If Kong can accomplish his purpose I shall be only too delighted, and will be ready to congratulate him and you most heartily. On the other hand in view of the judgments expressed by our own teachers at Phillips Academy and those in our local high school, I cannot, of course, feel that the boy is going to be able to reach his goal. I am a bit anxious, too, lest he became thoroughly discouraged and despondent. I do not see how I can do otherwise, therefore, than state the situation to you just as I see it and await your further advice. If you decide that the boy should go forward in his attempt, I am sure that a word of encouragement from you will help him greatly. On the other hand whether I alone can persuade him to return to China without some pretty definite and persistent instructions from you, I seriously doubt. Please understand, however, that I am as willing and eager as always to do everything in my power for the good of the boy and to help you realise your highest desires for him.

Say I take this opportunity to thank you most heartily for your welcome and generous Christmas gift, which I shall always praise most highly. In view of the seemingly little which I have been able to do for Kong, the gift seems all the less deserved.

Very sincerely yours.


Dr. Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


February 14, 1928


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