Lewis Reifsnyder Harley, Ph.D., (1866 – 1923), was born at North Coventry, Chester County, Pennsylvania, on August 16, 1866. His parents were Harrison and Sue Yarnell Harley. He began his training at the West Chester Normal School and studied at the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Granted a state certificate to teach by the Lock Haven Normal School in 1891, he taught in the country schools of Illinois and at the same time studied at Illinois Wesleyan University, where he received a Bachelor of Philosophy degree. The following year, he entered the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate department and was awarded a Ph.D. in 1895.
Harley was principal at the North Wales High School for six years, and in 1896, entered the Central High School as a professor of history. He became head of that department in 1917 and served in that capacity until he was called to the Girls High School in 1921.
Harley held an honorary degree of Master of Arts from Dickinson College and Master of Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. He was a member of the American Historical Association, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and a vice president of the Classical Club of Philadelphia. Throughout his lifetime, he contributed to many journals.