Victor Bailey

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - History
Director, Joyce & Elizabeth Hall Center for the Humanities
Charles W. Battey Distinguished Professor of Modern British History
Primary office:
Hall Center for the Humanities
Room 204
University of Kansas
900 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66045
Second office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 3640


Expertise and Current Research Activity

Bailey has completed two books which will appear in early 2014.  One is Charles Booth’s Policemen: Crime, Police and Community in Jack-the-Ripper’s London, which examines the effectiveness of policing in one of the toughest areas of London, the East End, using the papers of Charles Booth, a major ship owner and the most renowned social investigator in late Victorian England, and argues that policing was not the essential force of order.  The book explores other factors that helped to maintain social order: economic improvement, community or informal controls, religious and social welfare, education, model housing, and the magistrates’ courts.  The second book, Order and Disorder in Modern Britain: Essays on Riot, Crime, Policing and Punishment, is a collection of previously published articles that Bailey has written over the past 25 years, with a new introduction to the collection.  The essays range from riots against the Salvation Army in the 1880s, to the dramatic abatement of imprisonment in the Edwardian years, to the attempts in post-war Britain to abolish the death penalty.  Bailey is currently working on a book that will explore the changes in sentencing and penal policy in England over the entire period, 1890 to 1970. 

For the past 14 years, he has also been director of the Hall Center for the Humanities, one of KU’s research centers, whose mission is to help humanities and social sciences faculty remain research engaged and research productive.  In 2011, the Hall Center attracted its third Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which is being used to foster collaborative or interdisciplinary team research in the humanities.

Why Study at the University of Kansas?

The department of History at KU is ranked 24th amongst all public universities in the U.S. It has a strong contingent of faculty members in U.S. history, but also has renowned faculty in other world regions: Western and Eastern Europe, Latin America, East Asia, and Africa. We are particularly strong in environmental history, and in social and cultural history. We are also part of the Carnegie program to rethink and reform the graduate program in History.


M.A., University of Oxford

Ph.D., History, University of Warwick, Centre for the Study of Social History

M.Phil., Criminology, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge

B.A., European History, University of Warwick

Teaching Interests

  • British social and economic history

Research Interests

  • British criminal justice history

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