Carl Lundahl was born in Sweden in 1893 and immigrated to the United States in 1911. He served briefly in the U.S. Army in the waning days of World War One, during which time he became an American citizen. He also worked for some time at his brother’s dairy farm in Warren, Pennsylvania, which is where he first became acquainted with the Jeffersons. Lundahl began working for the Jeffersons shortly thereafter, and he and his wife Arabella accompanied them when they relocated to Santa Barbara.
Helen Marso was born in Pennsylvania in 1881, the eighth of ten children. After graduating from secretarial school, she went to work for John P. Jefferson in Warren, Pennsylvania. Jefferson was immediately impressed by her intellect and talents, and soon Helen Marso had become his right-hand woman. She served for several years assisting him with his business interests in Warren before, like Lundahl, joining the Jeffersons in their cross-country move.
For J.P and Mary Jefferson, Santa Barbara was a retirement destination. After all, by the time they moved into the finished house they were 67 and 54, respectively. But the Jeffersons did not spend their retirement sitting idly in their mansion. Far from it. They owned a yacht, the Invader, and travelled the world extensively during the decades following their westward move. A detailed record of one such trip—a 10-month cruise to the South Seas—survives thanks to Carl Lundahl, who served as the Chief Engineer of a 15-person crew and kept a meticulous log of this 1922 voyage.