Harlan Lane was born in Brooklyn on August 19, 1936. After receiving both a B.A. and an M.A. from Columbia University in 1958, he went on to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1960 and, later, a second doctoral degree from the Sorbonne in 1973. Lane began his teaching career as a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. While there, he also founded and directed the Center for Research on Language and Language Behavior. From 1969 to 1973, Lane taught linguistics at the Sorbonne in Paris, while completing his doctoral degree there. Upon returning to the United States, he taught for a year at the University of California, San Diego, and then moved to Northeastern University, in Boston, where he is a professor of psychology. He has also served as the department's chair and founded the Center for Research in Hearing, Speech, and Language. Lane has written several books about deafness. He received Harvard's Thomas J. Wilson Award for The Wild Boy of Aveyron: A History of the Education of Retarded, Deaf and Hearing Children. Another book, When the Mind Hears: A History of the Deaf, received the Book Award from the President's Commission on the Handicapped in 1986. Lane was also the recipient of distinguished service awards from both the Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf and the National Association of the Deaf in 1987. Other titles include The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community and A Journey into the Deaf World.