History & Tradition

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A Brief History

When the Pennsylvania Railroad finished 15 miles of track from Broad Street to Paoli, many of its families moved to the fresh air and country west of the city. Among them were Alexander Cassatt, brother of painter Mary, and his wife Lois Buchanan Cassatt, niece of 15th President James Buchanan. Their idea and ideal was a superior education for their boys.

The Cassatts enlisted the help of the young Quaker Dean of Haverford College, Isaac Sharpless. The College, founded in 1833, was a struggling institution. Swarthmore, a rival Quaker college, had its own grammar school, but there was no school for the sons of the Haverford professors. When Alexander and Lois Cassatt, presented their idea, Dean Sharpless acted. On the 23rd of September 1884, under Dean Sharpless' direction, four men and one woman began teaching 25 boys at The Haverford College Grammar School.

Read "The Haverford School: A Brief History" >  


Living Legacies

The Haverford School has a strong connection with generations of alumni, many of whom have chosen Haverford for their sons as well. Learn more about Haverford's legacy families and their impact on the School. > 


Haverford Headmasters

  • Charles Sumner Crosman, 1884–1912
  • Edwin Mood Wilson, 1912–1937
  • Cornelius B. Boocock, 1937–1942
  • Leslie R. Severinghaus, 1942–1965
  • Davis R. Parker, 1966–1987
  • William Boulton Dixon '61, 1987–1992
  • Joseph P. Healey, 1992–1998
  • Joseph T. Cox, 1998–2013
  • John A. Nagl, 2013-Present


Haverford Board Chairs

  • Isaac Sharpless, 1884-1920
  • Robert K. Cassatt ’90, 1920-1924
  • Thomas Newhall ’93, 1924-1926
  • W. Logan MacCoy ’02, 1926-1936
  • Joseph N. Ewing ’08, 1936-1944
  • John B. Thayer ’12, 1944-1945
  • Sumner Rulon-Miller ’03, 1945-1945
  • Bradford Smith, Jr. ’20, 1945-1962
  • Henry M. Chance II ’30, 1962-1970
  • Robert H. Potts ’42, 1970-1974
  • Victor Mauck Jr. ’45, 1974-1986
  • Alfred Rauch Jr. ’57, 1986-1989
  • Harold L. Yoh Jr. ’54, 1989-1994
  • Frederick C. Peters II ’68, 1994-1998
  • Richard D. Miles, 1998-2001
  • William L. Thorkelson ’68, 2001-2008
  • John F. Stoviak ’69, 2008-2014
  • William C. Yoh ’89, 2014-Present



As Headmaster of The Haverford School, Dr. Leslie R. Severinghaus has executed his duties at Haverford with much wisdom and zeal. He realizes that the future depends on the young men of today, and he has dedicated his life to their future, and well-being. It is with this giving from his heart in mind that we dedicate the 1965 Haligoluk to Dr. Severinghaus.

Dr. Severinghaus has been with Haverford for many years. He joined the School staff as head of the English Deparmtent in 1929 and held that position until 1942, when he became Headmaster. In addition, Dr. Severinghaus holds many other positions, such as membership on the Board of Trustees at Cornell University and the Council for Religion in Independent Schools, and membership in the Country Day School Headmaster's Association (he was its President in 1960-61).

He is also active in such international organizations as the International School Services, the Experiment in International Living, and the Y.M.C.A. We of the Senior Class regard with much admiration and gratitude the integrity with which Dr. Severinghaus has advised and influenced every person connected with the School. The Haligoluk feels that this dedication is but a small tribute to the many years of excellent service that Dr. Severinghaus has rendered to Haverford.


Sandy Mercer PF, P'92
610-642-3020, ext. 1344