Eda (Hurd) Lord was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois. Her father, Harvey B. Hurd, was the village’s first president and the founder and first president of the Evanston Historical Society. A prominent lawman, Hurd served as dean of the Northwestern School of Law and significantly revised the statutes for the state of Illinois.
Growing up in such a prestigious family afforded Lord many opportunities. Like many young society women, she took an interest in the arts; over the years, she demonstrated a supreme talent as a musician, and she became a great patron of all the arts. What set Lord apart from other ladies of her time was her skill as a businesswoman. She designed 32 homes on the pasture land she inherited from her father, and she platted large parts of what is now part of the city of Evanston.