Elbert Hubbard was born on June 19, 1856 in Bloomington, Illinois and was raised in Hudson, Illinois. He began his career as a travelling salesman with the Larkin Soap Company. In 1895, he founded Roycroft, an Arts and Crafts movement community, in East Aurora, New York. Roycroft was an outgrowth of the private press founded by Hubbard in collaboration with his first wife, Bertha. Hubbard and his second wife, Alice, died on May 7, 1915 at the sinking of the Lusitania.
J.E. (John Edward) Woodhead was born in Leeds, England on August 2, 1840 and died in Chicago on October 24, 1918. A successful businessman, Woodhead developed an interest in book collecting, and established a 4000-plus volume private library. He also served as Secretary of the World's Congress Auxiliary Section of Weights, Measures, and Coinage at the World's Columbian Exposition; was a founder and officer (secretary) of the Cosmic Publishing Company, publisher of "Mind in Nature"; a founding member of the Western Society for Psychical Research (founded 1885 in Chicago); and the founder and manager of the National Letter Return Association (1885-1895).