Roger Lane is an American historian, and Professor Emeritus at Haverford College.
Winner of the prestigious Bancroft Prize, Lane was born in 1934, raised in New England, and graduated from Yale. He took a graduate seminar with Richard Hofstader at Columbia, then briefly taught and coached at The Brunswick School before earning a PhD from Harvard in 1963, the year he began teaching at Haverford.
His study of Policing the City: Boston, 1822-1885, was the first to trace the origins of modern urban police. During the crime and assassination-ridden 1960s, a 1968 article in the Journal of Social History, â€œUrbanization and Criminal Violence in the 19th Century,â€ challenged the then-conventional wisdom that crime naturally increases as cities grow, This earned him appointment to the Presidentâ€™s Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, which reprinted it.
Violent Death in the City: Suicide, Accident, and Murder in 19th Century Philadelphia, showed how the educational and behavioral demands of factory and office diminished the external manifestations of aggression while increasing the internal. Roots of Violence in Black Philadelphia, 1860-1900, winner of the Bancroft Prize as one of that yearâ€™s two best books in American history, focused on the way exclusion from industrial and white collar jobs pushed many African Americans into dangerous criminal entrepreneurship. William Dorseyâ€™s Philadelphia and Ours: On the Past and Future of the Black City in America, winner of the Urban History Associationâ€™s Best Book Award, shows how this effect blighted a promising post-Civil War golden age in the biggest and best educated African American population in the North. Murder in America, a History, traced violent behavior from its medieval English origins into the late 20th Century.