William Bross Lloyd, the son of Henry Demarest Lloyd, was born in 1875. While working for the Chicago Tribune his father published a series of articles exposing corruption in business and politics. These articles caused a stir and Lloyd has been described as America's first investigative journalist.
As a young man his parents introduced him to a lot of political figures including Jane Addams, John Peter Altgeld, Clarence Darrow, William Dean Howells and John Dewey. Lloyd also developed radical views and he joined the Socialist Party of America.
After the death of his mother, Jesse Bross Lloyd, he inherited a considerable fortune. This did not change his political opinions and ran for senator on the Socialist ticket in Illinois in 1918. He was also a supporter of the Russian Revolution and in November 1918 joined the Communist Propaganda League.
The right-wing leadership of the Socialist Party of America opposed the actions of the Bolsheviks and on 24th May 1919 the leadership expelled 20,000 members who supported the Soviet government. The process continued and by the beginning of July two-thirds of the party had been suspended or expelled.
Some of these people, including William Bross Lloyd, Earl Browder, John Reed, James Cannon, Jay Lovestone, Bertram Wolfe, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Ella Reeve Bloor, Rose Pastor Stokes, Claude McKay, Michael Gold and Robert Minor, decided to form the Communist Party of the United States. By August 1919 it had 60,000 members whereas the Socialist Party of America had only 40,000.
According to Theodore Draper in his book The Roots of American Communism (1957) when Lloyd joined the "American Communist movement acquired its first millionaire. It could not keep him, however, for more than a relatively short period."
William Bross Lloyd died in 1946.