Crayon is the narrator of the collection of stories. He is an avid traveler and is highly interested in the stories, people, and cultures of the past.
Roscoe is a famous European author who has chronicled the history of the Medici. Crayon encounters him in Liverpool, where Roscoe has done his best to encourage the city’s literary pursuits. Roscoe came from neither a well-connected nor a well-off family, and he brought himself to fame purely by his own talent and dedication.
Leslie, a close friend of Crayon’s, loses his fortune soon after marrying his wife, but finds that she is happy just to be with him, and she supports him through it all.
Mary, Leslie’s wife, is a lively and optimistic woman whose strength in the face of their poverty keeps Leslie from becoming depressed.
Rip Van Winkle
Rip Van Winkle is a kind, good-natured, neighborly man who lived at the foot of the Catskills while the United States was still a colony of Britain. Although descended from great soldiers, he is peaceful, even obedient, to his quite domineering wife. Children, women, and dogs love him, and his only flaw is that he is incapable of doing any work from which he could make a living. During his long sleep, the world gets along fine without him.
Dame Van Winkle
Rip Van Winkle’s wife, Dame Van Winkle, is a sour-tempered woman who spends all her time berating Rip for taking such poor care of the farm and being so idle.
Derrick Van Bummel
The schoolmaster of Rip Van Winkle’s village, Van Bummel is a dapper and learned little man. He is not intimidated by words of any length. He ends up being a great general in the Revolutionary War and getting a seat in Congress.
Nicholaus Vedder is a patriarch of Rip Van Winkle’s village and the landlord of the inn outside of which the men gather to gossip. He is the leader of opinion in that group, although he is never heard to speak. All the men can understand, by the speed and ferocity with which he smokes his pipe, whether something pleases or displeases him.
Judith Gardenier is Rip Van Winkle’s daughter, with whom he lives quite happily after his return from the mountain.
Peter Vanderdonk is the oldest inhabitant of Rip Van Winkle’s village, a descendant of the historian who wrote one of the earliest accounts of the province. His corroboration of Rip Van Winkle’s story leads Rip to be reaccepted upon his late return.
George Somers is the kind and dutiful son of a poor old woman. He goes to sea to help make money and is captured. He manages to make it home, where he dies under his mother’s care.
Baron Von Landshort
Baron Von Landshort is a German baron whose family has lost its money, but who still lives in his castle. He finds great joy in his consciousness of being the greatest man in his little world.
Count Van Altenburg
The son of a Bavarian nobleman, Van Altenburg is betrothed to Baron Von Landshort’s daughter without ever seeing her. He is not ardent in love, but he is punctilious and honorable. On his way to the castle, however, he is wounded by a band of robbers, and he dies before he ever meets his bride.
Herman Von Starkenfaust
A former army compatriot of Van Altenbug’s, Von Starkenfaust is of German nobility. His home is not far from Baron Von Landshort’s castle, but his family has a longstanding feud with the Von Landshorts. A fan of both women and adventure, he undertakes his promise to his dying friend to bring the tidings of his friend's death to the Baron’s daughter.
Frank Bracebridge is a sprightly, good-humored young man with whom Crayon once traveled on the continent. Crayon runs into him again in a village in England on Christmas Eve.
Frank Bracebridge’s father, the Squire is an old gentleman who is eccentrically old-fashioned and is very kind and generous. He has a singular mixture of whim and benevolence.
A long-term guest at the Squire’s, Master Simon is a small, tight, brisk man with an air of droll eccentricity. He plays a large part in the general mirth of the company on Christmas Eve by being the wit of the family. He is a bachelor with a small, independent income, which he manages well and thus can live comfortably on, traveling among all his relations’ homes.
John Hallum is an old man whom Crayon meets in an asylum for the elderly. He collects oddities.
Philip of Pokanoket
Philip of Pokanoket was an Indian warrior infamous throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut at the time of the first settlement of New England. He was known as King Philip.
Massasoit was chief Sagamore of the Wampanoags, who showed generous kindness to the early, forlorn settlers of New England. Philip was his son.
Rip Van Winkle and Other Stories Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Rip Van Winkle and Other Stories is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
His one companion in the household is his dog Wolf, who for no good reason is just as badly treated by the petticoat tyrant Dame Van Winkle. The dog exists as a loyal companion: a juxtaposition to his nagging wife.
The Rip Van Winkle study guide contains a biography of author Washington Irving, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis of his major short stories including Rip Van Winkle.