Edgar Parin d’Aulaire (1898-1986) studied art in Germany and France, and studied with Henri Matisse. In Munich, he met Ingri Mortenson (1904-1980), a Norwegian-born art student. They married, emigrated to America in 1929, and after pursuing careers as a print-maker and portrait painter respectively, they began a long career together in which they published over twenty picture books for children.

The Conquest of the Atlantic came two years after their first children's book, The Magic Carpet.