This article originally appeared in the April 25, 2019 issue of the Winnetka Current as Back in the Day: Winnetka’s own maverick
By Holly Marihugh
Most of us know that a maverick is person who wants to mark her own unique path. But did you know Winnetka had its own maverick?
Lola Maverick Lloyd, granddaughter of the original Texas “Maverick,” spent her life determined to make her mark for peace by championing the cause around the world.
Maverick Lloyd also raised four children in a colorful, whimsical house here on Birch Street, which she built in 1920. Using Winnetka as a home base, she launched her career as a peace activist during the outbreak of WWI in 1914 and stayed true to that cause throughout her life.
Maverick Lloyd’s grandfather was Samuel Maverick, a Texas rancher and one of the signatories of the state’s 1836 Declaration of Independence. The word “maverick” was coined for his non-conforming lifestyle, such as refusing to brand his cattle. Maverick Lloyd herself was a Texan by birth (1875) but settled here in town after she and William Bross Lloyd tied the knot in 1902. Her husband was the son of Chicago muckraking journalist Henry Demarest Lloyd who lived at 830 Sheridan Road across from the beach now named for the family.
Maverick Lloyd became part of the community fabric, settling in the heart of the village, joining the Winnetka Woman’s Club, and sending her children to local schools for a number of their educational years. The Lloyd children, Jessie, Mary, William Jr., and Georgia, grew up in a house “full of discussion about civil liberties, the rights of labor, peace, and international relations.”
Georgia Lloyd, as an adult, remembered fondly times spent as a child with her parents in and around town.
“One of the things my parents had in common was that they both liked the outdoors — especially picnics,” Georgia said. “We would go with mother out on Willow, just west of Provident, and have picnics in the haystacks. They were such nice big haystacks that we could slide down them. There were open fields, and Crow Island really was an island.”
In 1914, Hungarian activist Rosika Schwimmer traveled around the U.S., campaigning for a peaceful solution to WWI, and Maverick Lloyd became a ready acolyte.
By January 1915, she was a delegate to the newly organized Women’s Peace Party in Washington, D.C. Following that, Maverick Lloyd threw herself into many initiatives locally and abroad: She marched demanding the vote for American women, joined the Illinois Socialist Party, and eventually co-founded the Campaign for World Government.
However, shortly after her activism took off, her marriage deteriorated, and Maverick Lloyd and her husband divorced in 1916.
In 1926, with her children grown, Maverick Lloyd moved to Geneva where the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is headquartered. This allowed her to be on the ground working with an international movement close to her heart and in which she’d been so active. Years later with her health failing, Maverick Lloyd chose to spend her remaining years, from 1939-44, in the Winnetka house where she raised her children.
In a service to honor Maverick Lloyd’s legacy on Mother’s Day 1986, a Dr. Homer Jack said, “Lola made at least three substantive contributions in her life to the great movements of history: she gave leadership to the peace movement before and during the First World War; she also helped fuse the feminist and peace movements; and she gave pioneer leadership to the movement for world government. Beyond these movements, she made a fourth: she transmitted, directly, to all her four children an active vision for peace. This was the most remarkable contribution of all.”
Back in the Day is a monthly column by The Winnetka Historical Society.