Lydia Hamm was the daughter of German immigrants. She was born and raised in Medford, Wisconsin. After she graduated from high school, she went on to Oshkosh Normal School and received her teaching certificate from there in the early 1900s. She went on to teach in Marshfield and Medford until she retired in the 1930s or 40s, at which time she worked with her brother George on the family farm in Medford. She never married or had any children, but she did help to raise her eldest brother's daughter, Myrtle Hamm, who as a young child had come to live with Lydia and her parents.