Edgar J. Vickery was born in 1862 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, to John and Mary Vickery. Orphaned young, at the age of fourteen he went to sea as a cabin boy. In 1887 he opened a book and stationary shop in Yarmouth and, later, The Book Room on Barrington Street in Halifax. He also operated a circulating library, charging 2 cents per day or 10 cents per week. He married Mary Katherine Dudman in 1888, with whom he had four children. Vickery died in 1939.