Samuel A. Robb apprenticed to a shipbuilder for five years, then went to work for a wood-carver, making figures for tobacco shops. He spent the day working in the shop and attended classes at the National Academy of Design and Cooper Union at night. In 1876 he married Emma Jane Pelham and opened his own carving shop. Emma died just two years later, however, and Robb designed and built a monument to her. He married Agnes Loudon, the daughter of a real estate tycoon, in 1881 and they moved into one of her father’s many properties. They spent several years moving between houses as Agnes’s father decided he needed them, and eventually Robb grew frustrated and left. He had no communication with his wife or four children until seventeen years later, when he bumped into Agnes on the street and the family was reunited. Robb’s wood shop was the largest in nineteenth-century New York City, and he carved a wide variety of figures, from traditional cigar store Indians to circus wagons and ventriloquist dummies.