Lloyd Stephens Bryce (1851-1917)

U.S. Ambassador & Editor of the 'North American Review' of New York

Associated Houses



He was born at Flushing, Long Island, named for his great-uncle, John Lloyd Stephens, noted for his travels in South America, Yucatan and Palestine. He studied at the Jesuit College in Georgetown, D.C., before continuing his studies in New York under Professor Anthon. In 1867, he went to Europe with a tutor and showed an aptitude for copying the art he saw in the museums. In 1869, he entered Christ Church, Oxford, and on graduating continued his studies at Columbia Law School in New York.

He choose a political career and was appointed Paymaster-General of New York with the rank of Brigadier-General before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1887. In his spare time, he wrote a number of magazine articles and several novels, most notably The Romance of an Alter Ego (about hypnotism) and Dream of Conquest (an imaginary conception of a Chinese invasion of America). In 1889, he returned to Europe but was met with sad news that his great friend Allen Thorndike Rice, owner of the North American Review and recently appointed Minister to Russia, had died. In his will, Rice left the Review to Bryce and he promptly returned to New York to resume as its editor. Under him it continued to grow in popularity and covered all topics of public interest as well as history, science and philanthropy. Bryce was described as being, "gifted with excellent business judgment and literary tastes. Personally, he is of agreeable manners, kindly disposition, considerate feeling, and has won hosts of friends". From 1911 to 1913, he served as U.S. Minister to the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

In 1878, he married Edith Cooper, daughter of the Mayor of New York; grand-daughter of the founder of the Cooper Union in New York; and, a first cousin of Peter Cooper Hewitt. They were the parents of three children and for years lived at Edith's father's "old-fashioned" mansion 12 Washington Square North before selling it in 1906 to Eugene Delano (father of the famous architect) and building a new townhouse in the same year at 1025 Fifth Avenue (see images), designed by Ogden Codman Jr., afterwards sold to Frederick W. Vanderbilt. They divided their time between Manhattan and the estate they named Bryce House at Roslyn on Long Island. He died leaving $1.6-million, whereas his wife left a fortune of $6.9 million. Their second daughter, Cornelia, was a noted suffragist and unsuccessfully contested for a seat in Congress. She married Gifford Pinchot and was, “one of the most politically active first ladies in the history of Pennsylvania".
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 24/09/2022 and last updated on 06/10/2022.