Loy, Mina (1882 - 1966)

Biography: 

Mina Gertrude Lowy was born on 27 December 1882 in Hampstead, London to Sigmund Felix Lowy, a tailor, and Julia Bryan. Loy was educated at home before attending a progressive school in London. Despite the fact that her mother wanted nothing more than a good marriage for her daughter, Mina managed to attend Munich Künstlerinnenverein, the Society of Female Artists' school, followed by further art training at the Académie Colarossi in Paris. Mina altered Lowy to Loy in 1904, for her submission to the Salon d'Automne in Paris. It was during this time that Mina met her first husband, painter and photographer Stephen Haweis. The match proved to be unfortunate and, after the death of their one-year-old daughter they separated in 1906. Shortly afterward, Loy had a relationship with a French doctor named Henry Joël le Savoureux; this relationship produced a daughter, Joella. Loy, however, decided to reconcile with Haweis and the pair moved to Florence in 1907, where they had a son, Giles. It was in Florence that Loy was first exposed to Futurism, a movement that greatly influenced her work. Loy left Florence in 1916 and moved to New York. Here she met boxer and future husband Arthur Cravan (Fabian Avenarius Lloyd). After her divorce from Haweis in 1917, Loy and Craven married in Mexico; they lived in near poverty for a year before Cravan disappeared while boating. Although the conclusion was that he drowned, Loy would be haunted by reported sightings of him for the rest of life. Five months after the disappearance, Loy gave birth to a daughter, Fabienne. Looking to abandon the tragic environment of the home she shared with Craven, Loy spent a period of time traveling to England, Florence and New York before finally settling in Paris. While in Paris, Loy moved in the circles of artists and intellectuals such as Joyce, Pound, Duchamp as well as Gertrude Stein, whose original approach to language was very influential on Loy. Members of these circles often praised Loy for her wit and notable beauty. Nevertheless, during this time Mina Loy was also busy writing poetry and she published her first collection of poems entitled Lunar Baedeker in 1923. Her poetry received high praise from her artistic peers, particularly Ezra Pound. Loy moved back to New York in 1940 where she lived in a rooming house. While there, Loy was inspired by the people living on the streets and began making three-dimensional collages using rubbish. In 1958, her second collection of poems was published (Lunar Baedeker & Time-Tables) and the following year she produced an exhibition of her collages at the Bodley Gallery in New York. In her later years, Loy grew in her eccentricities and eventually moved to Aspen, Colorado to be near her two daughters. She died there of pneumonia on 25 September 1966.

  • Cottam, Rachel. “Loy , Mina Gertrude (1882–1966).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004.
  • Loy, Mina. Lunar Baedecker [sic]. Paris: Contact Editions, 1923.
  • --. Lunar Baedeker & Time-Tables. Highlands, N.C.: Jargon Society, 1958.
  • --. Songs to Joannes, Others,3 (April 17); republished as Love Songs. Ed. Roger L. Conover. Northampton, MA: Aphra Press, 1981.
  • --. The Last Lunar Baedeker: The Poems of Mina Loy. Ed. Roger L. Conover. Highlands, N.C.: Jargon Society, 1982. PS 3523.O975 L3 Robarts Library
  • --. The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems of Mina Loy. Ed. Roger L. Conover. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1996. PS 3523.O975 A6 1996 Robarts Library
Given Name: 
Mina Gertrude
Family Name: 
Lowy
Birth Date: 
December 27, 1882
Death Date: 
September 25, 1966
Nationality: 
Family Relations: 
father : Sigmund Felix Lowy
mother : Julia Lowy
husband : Stephen Haweis (from 1903 to to 1917)
husband : Arthur Cravan (from 1918)
daughter : Julia Savoureux
son : Giles Haweis
daughter : Fabienne Craven Lloyd
Spoken Languages: 
Literary Period: 
Literary Movement: 
First RPO Edition: 
2009