Benjamin Jewett Ricker (1868-1950) was born and raised in Grinnell and graduated from Grinnell College in 1891. In 1895 he joined the firm of Morrison, McIntosh & Company, a Grinnell-based maker of high quality leather gloves. Upon the retirement of Andrew McIntosh in 1907, the firm changed its name to the Morrison-Ricker Manufacturing Company.
Mabel Ella Tompkins (1874-1954) was born in Kewanee, Illinois, the daughter of James Tompkins, a Congregationalist minister, and Ella Kelley Tompkins. As a resident of Oak Park, Illinois, in the mid-1890s, it is possible that Mabel Tompkins knew Walter Burley Griffin as a student at Oak Park High School. Mabel and Benjamin were married in Oak Park in 1897, thereafter residing in Grinnell until 1925, when they moved to northern California.