About Harvey

Aerial photograph of the Harvey campus during fall.

Our History

An Education With Heart.

Sir William Harvey

The school was named for Sir William Harvey (1578-1657), personal physician of King Charles I, who claimed to be the first to describe the mechanics of blood circulation. Dr. Harvey's discoveries and methods established him as one of the fathers of modern medical science.

photo Dr. William Harvey

The Harvey School, 1933

1933 aerial view of the Harvey campus

The Harvey School was founded by Dr. Herbert Carter and his wife Mabel Carter in 1916 as a residential school for boys, enrolling students through the secondary grades. Dr. Carter, a New York City pediatrician, built the school at his farm in Hawthorne, New York. His intention was to provide a country environment and an educational program for his son, Herbert Swift Carter, Jr., who had a weakened heart due to rheumatic fever in his teens.

All School, 1923

1923 group photo of students at the Harvey School

John L. Miner was appointed as the school’s first headmaster when its doors opened in October 1916, with an enrollment of four boys. Mr. Miner served the school for 10 years before leaving to establish Greenwich Country Day School, originally known as The Harvey School of Greenwich. Herbert Carter, Jr. graduated from Harvey in 1919, and from Princeton University in 1923. Following a year at Oxford, he returned to Harvey to teach English, and in 1926, he succeeded Mr. Miner as headmaster.

After Dr. Carter died in 1927, the educational emphasis was placed on providing a curriculum for boys from grades four through eight and preparing them for the leading Eastern secondary boarding schools. The Harvey School soon established a reputation for providing a sound, traditional education in the style of the English prep school in a small residential setting.

In 1938, the school came under the leadership of Mr. Leverett T. Smith who served until 1963. In 1947, the Carter family sold the school, established a board of trustees as Harvey joined the ranks of private independent schools, operating as a not-for-profit organization. The school continued operating at the Hawthorne location until 1959 when construction of a highway cloverleaf interchange preempted the school’s property. The search for a new site led to the former Sylvan Weil Estate in Katonah, where the school resides today on 125 acres.

Classroom, 1950

Classroom at the Harvey School from 1950

Hickory Hill, 1957

aerial shot of Hickory Hill 1957

The new campus was provided with boarding facilities for 60 residential students while the day student population continued to expand total enrollment. As the school began transitioning to being primarily a day school, Harry A. Dawe was appointed headmaster in 1969; it was his objective to continue the transition and the growth of enrollment while retaining the residential environment.

In 1970 the school added a ninth grade, and in 1979 the remaining secondary grades were established. Harvey began admitting girls as day students when it began operating as a full high school; this transition, which served as a challenge to the administration and trustees, was further complicated by a fire that destroyed the school’s central building.


During the 30-year tenure (1986-2016) of school head Barry W. Fenstermacher, the school's enrollment more than doubled and an international student program was added. The campus facilities were improved dramatically and new land for athletic fields was acquired. The addition of the Krasne Middle School building allowed the Middle School, grades 6-8, to expand and to move into attractive and well-designed classrooms in 2001. The construction of the award-winning Walker Center for the Arts in 2005 has provided unmatched learning space for studio, music and dramatic-arts education. It also provides outreach to the community through its programming and performance spaces. The Barry W. Fenstermacher Athletic Center, completed in 2012, features two basketball courts, a fitness room, expanded locker room space and a state-of-the-art trainer's room. This center not only provides ample facilities for Harvey’s athletes, but has also allowed the school to expand its community outreach.

Heads of School

Founded in 1916 with just four boys in a farmhouse at Hawthorne, New York, The Harvey School in Katonah, New York, today has grown into a thriving community of more than 450 faculty, staff, and students.