Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Tsai Ting Kan


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Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Tsai Ting Kan


Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Tsai Ting Kan


Typed letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to Tsai Ting Kan about Helen and Alfred Tsai. Hopes the current situation in China clears and the government stabilizes. Plans to honor Tsai's opinion about Helen not attending college. Explains the cost of college in America is enough to make anyone hesitate. Plans to emphasis English, French, Music, and typewriter instruction for Helen. States the funds sent will be enough for Helen and Alfred for 4-5 years with careful management. Provides updates on the children's education. States Helen is performing well, but Alfred is more inclined to the social life and may not be ready for Andover Academy. Acknowledged receipt of funds. Tried to wire this receipt but was unable to deliever the message at 2 known addresses. Will send this letter to Helen forward on to the correct address.


April 21, 1927
My dear Mr. Tsai:

I have received and read with the deepest interest your letter of March 22 which reached me a few days ago. Naturally we are all concerned over the present unrest in China and are hoping that the situation may speedily clear and that the best interests of all may be conserved in the process. A stable and responsible government for the nation would be a wonderful thing for China and for the world.

I note that you do not wish individual receipts for expenditures in the children's behalf sent to you and will act accordingly.

I am also interested in your expressed opinion that you do not desire Helen to go to college but prefer her to take a general course to round out her American education, with special emphasis on English., These instructions of yours I shall endeavor to carry out to the beat of my ability, and shall also try to see that beside emphasizing English herecourses include French, Music, and is sanction in the handling of the typewriter. She is already taking lessons on the piano, and I judge from what Mrs. Hassell tells me is doing as well as the average beginner of her age can be expected to do.

I see no reason why such a course as your have suggested cannot be secured without adding the college coarse as well, and I can readily understand why you would hesitate to take on the extra and heavy expense that the college career would involve. I have found from the experience of recent years that it costs about $2,000.00 per individual to meet the expenses of the American education and the vacation expenses as well. The latter is no small item in these days. This is just double what it used to cost years ago when I first assumed charge of some of the wards of our old friends Sir Chentung Liang Cheng , but with the present prices in Americana change is inevitable. Last year I checked up carefully with Mr. Sze, your Minister in Washington who has had charge of the education of a number of Chinese in this country, and was a good bit relieved to find that he had encountered the same problem and reached a conclusion that fitted in closely with my own. On this basis, therefore, the funds which you have sent me, allowing for interest which will accumulate during the period in question, should cover the expenses of Helen and Alfred for from four to five years, and in that time we should be able to give Helen at least a well rounded education. I assume in Alfred’s case that you will wish him to go on to college or a scientific school, according to the inclinations and abilities he reveals through his preparatory course.

Helen is making excellent progress and is exceedingly ambitious. Alfred seems to famish a different problem. He is disposed to take things a bit easily and to enjoy the social more than the intellectual side of life. We shall evidently have our hands full to induce him to put forth his best efforts along intellectual lines, but I can assure you that we shall do the best in our power to accomplish this. It seems somewhat doubtful whether he will be ready to meet the rather high scholastic requirements of Phillips Academy by this coming year, though I have urged him to lend his best efforts to attain this goal.

The second remittance which you made to me on February 33 and amounting to $6,000.00 gold was duly received, and, as requested, I cabled you at once announcing this fact. Word came back to me later that the cable could not be delivered at the Peking address, and Instructed the company to try Tientsin. Word came back that you could not be found there either, and the last report I had was to the effect that the message had been returned to Peking and a farther attempt made at delivery there. Whether this was successful or not, I can’t say.

I am sending this letter to Helen, as requested, in order that it may be properly addressed and forwarded to you in China. Needless to say I trust that it will reach its destination safely and will find you and your family well and comfortable and relieved, in part at least, of the strain from which you must have suffered during recent months.

With sincerest good wishes to you all, believe me

Very sincerely yours,


Dr. Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


April 21, 1927


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