Lyon Gardiner Tyler was the son of John Tyler (1790-1862) and his second wife Julia Gardiner Tyler. He received a master's degree from the University of Virginia and was professor at the College of William and Mary and principal of Memphis Academy. He established a law practice in Richmond and served in the Virginia House of Delegates. He became president of William and Mary in 1888, serving until 1919. Tyler married twice, to Anne Baker Tucker Tyler (1860-1921) and to Sue Ruffin Tyler who died in 1953. Tyler founded the William and Mary Quarterly and Tyler's Quarterly and was the author of the Letters and Times of the Tylers, Parties and Patronage in the United States, England in America and History of Virginia: Volume II The Federal Period. He edited Men of Mark in Virginia, Narratives of Early Virginia and the Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. Tyler served as president of the College of William and Mary from 1888 until 1919.