By Margaret McClain, Undergraduate, Loyola University Chicago
Born to George and Mary Maverick of Texas in November 1875, Lola Maverick Lloyd grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. She enrolled at Smith College in Massachusetts in 1893, and upon graduating, taught mathematics at Smith before marrying William Bross Lloyd, a “millionaire socialist” attorney born to a reform-minded family from Winnetka, Illinois. Living in the well-to-do Chicago suburb with her husband and four children afforded her the opportunity to join the progressive social circles of the city. Advocacy for the progressive movement by the likes of Jane Addams at Hull House had a significant impact on Lloyd, inspiring her to take up the causes of woman’s suffrage and equal rights for all. She picketed with female garment workers in the city for better wages and working conditions, getting arrested several times. She joined the National Woman’s Party (NWP) and served on its National Board for several years. On October 28, 1918, Lloyd marched on the United States Senate in Washington, D.C., with Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and eighteen other suffragist women, and was once again arrested. Once female suffrage was achieved, she took up the cause of the Equal Rights Amendment. For Lloyd, woman’s suffrage was just the beginning; she saw it as a steppingstone to achieve not only equal rights for women, but a path to opportunities for many Americans.
Growing up in a family that encouraged her to be mindful of global affairs, Lloyd recognized that the causes she championed in the United States needed to be advocated for on the international stage as well. Within the National Woman’s Party, she chaired the Committee on International Relations. Lloyd also became famous for her strict adherence to the pacifist message of her close friend Rosika Schwimmer, a Hungarian woman whose writings rallied American women behind the peace cause at the start of World War I. Lloyd attended the 1915 International Congress of Women at the Hague, and then traveled throughout Europe to meet and discuss the War with heads of state. She even traveled on Henry Ford’s peace ship in 1915, a venture which Ford believed could successfully convince the belligerent nations to negotiate peace. Lloyd later led the Consultative Committee of Women’s International Organizations for one year, and she served as a representative of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (formerly Woman’s Peace Party) within that Committee for several years. Throughout her long career, she advocated strongly for democratic mediation between nations to avoid conflict. In 1924, Lloyd and Schwimmer outlined a plan for a world government based on democratic mediation; later, they would form the Campaign for World Government, which aimed to enact their plan for a “Federation of Nations.” Women, she demanded, would need to hold key positions within government to achieve “an international commonwealth” that ensured all humans their rights.
Lloyd proved to be a radical feminist and a radical pacifist on the national and international stage. As Schwimmer remembered Lloyd at her friend’s funeral in July 1944, Lola Maverick Lloyd was “the very personification of American idealism and a world citizen serving all the human family.”
Melanie Susan Gustafson, “Lola Maverick Lloyd: ‘truly a live wire and a brick and everything else that goes to make up a militant pacifist” (M.A. thesis, Sarah Lawrence College, 1983), pp. 15, 17.
Notable American Women, essays on Jessie Lloyd O’Connor, 5:477 and Rosika Schwimmer, 3:248-49.
“Lola Maverick Lloyd,” Equal Rights 30, no. 7 (1944): 61.
Inez Haynes Irwin, The Story of the Woman’s Party (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1921), 377.
Mrs. Lola Maverick Lloyd, biographical sheet, Series 1, Correspondence 1913-1974, Reel # 113, Microfilm, National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974.
Lola Maverick Lloyd, “Feminist Attack,” Equal Rights 20:42 (1934), 334.