Lloyd Bryce was born in Flushing, New York on September 4, 1851. His father, Joseph Smith Bryce (1808–1901), graduated third in his class from the United States Military Academy in 1829, Robert E. Lee was second, and served as a Union Army Major in the Civil War, engaged in the defense of Washington, D.C. Lloyd's sister was Clemence Smith Bryce (1847–1908), who married Nicholas Fish (1846–1902), the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Belgium, and was the mother of Hamilton Fish (1873–1898). He was a nephew of John L. Stevens (1820–1895), U.S. Minister to the Kingdom of Hawaii.
He attended Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees. Bryce also studied at Columbia Law School.
Bryce was an avid sports enthusiast, and wrote that sports were capable both of quelling revolutionary thought among the poor and promoting understanding between nations. He was a frequent participant in polo matches in Newport, Rhode Island and Manhattan and fox hunts on Long Island.
Bryce, a Democrat, became interested in politics. In 1886, Governor David B. Hill appointed him to the governor's staff as Paymaster General of the militia with the rank of Brigadier General, a largely ceremonial position. Afterwards he was known as General Bryce.
Bryce was elected as a Democrat to the Fiftieth Congress (March 4, 1887 – March 3, 1889). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1888 to the Fifty-first Congress.
He was appointed Minister to the Netherlands on August 12, 1911, and he served until September 10, 1913.
His friend C. Allen Thorndike Rice, the editor and owner of the North American Review, died unexpectedly in 1889 and left the magazine to Bryce in his will. Bryce was the owner and editor from 1889 to 1896.
Influenced by his experience in Congress he wrote an early "Yellow Peril" story, called Dream of Conquest for the June 1889 issue of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine. His other published works include: Paradise: A Novel (1888); Romance of an Alter Ego (1889); Friends in Exile (1893); and Lady Blanche's Salon (1899).
In 1879, he married Edith Cooper (1854–1916), the only child of New York City Mayor Edward Cooper, and granddaughter of the famous industrialist Peter Cooper. Together, they were the parents of:Edith Claire Bryce (1880–1960), who married John Sergeant Cram (1851–1936)
Cornelia Elizabeth Bryce (1881–1960), who married conservationist Gifford Pinchot (1865–1946), the first Chief of the United States Forest Service under Theodore Roosevelt, in 1914.
Peter Cooper Bryce (1889–1964), who married Angelica Schuyler Brown (1890–1980), of the Brown banking family, in 1917.
Bryce died in Mineola, New York, April 2, 1917, and was interred in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York. The bulk of his estate, worth $1,665,061, was left to his two daughters, with his son receing all his paintings, including a portrait by Godfrey Kneller, books, engravings, and clothing. His home at 1025 Fifth Avenue was left to his children in four equal shares, two to his son and one to each of his daughters.
His grandson, Henry Sergeant Cram (1907–1997), married Edith Kingdon Drexel (1911–1934), the granddaughter of Anthony Joseph Drexel, Jr. and George Jay Gould I, in 1930. Cram later married Ruth Vaux, a granddaughter of Richard Vaux, after his first wife's death. His granddaughter, Edith Bryce Cram (1908–1972), married Arthur Gerhard in 1950.