Cheaper By the Dozen Characters

Cheaper By the Dozen Character List

Frank Bunker Gilbreth Sr.

Frank Sr. is the patriarch of the Gilbreth family. Former military, he is a famous efficiency expert who runs his household according to his passion for efficiency. He is loving father, if somewhat removed from the family. Above all else, he wants his children to learn to be excellent in whatever they do.

Lillian Moller Gilbreth

Lillian is the matriarch. She is a loving, tender mother who is involved in the affairs of each of her children. Additionally she supports her husband's efficiency work and is quite the expert herself. Her family is her life.

Anne Gilbreth

She is the oldest of the Gilbreth clan. Anne is the narrator of the book. Like most girls her age, she is rebellious and headstrong, eager to test the boundaries. Anne, however, often credits her rebellion to self-sacrifice, saying she makes the choices she does so that her younger siblings will not have to fight the same battles with their parents. With all credit due, she is a strong leader within the family.

Ernestine Gilbreth

Ernestine is the second oldest. She and Anne are very close because they both share the bond of being in high school and dealing with social contempt because of their large, unconventional family. Together, they navigate the trials of high school, make some mistakes, and do a great deal of growing up.

Frank Jr. Gilbreth

Named for his father, Frank Jr. feels the full weight of his name. He tries his best to live up to his dad's expectations. When all is said and done, he is a supportive, smart brother to his siblings and a sincere, trustworthy son.

Bill Gilbreth

Bill is the baseball player. He connects with his father through sports. Additionally, he is the eldest son and feels the weight of that responsibility when dad is not around.

Lillian Gilbreth

Lillian is the third eldest daughter. She is caught in an awkward stage of life, struggling with puberty and wanting to be considered one of the older kids. Spending most of her time with her brothers, she is a bit of a tom-boy, though she doesn't want to always be that way.


Martha spends much of her time with her brothers. She's a sweet, vibrant child who loves to have fun. She plays musical instruments and gets into mischief with the boys.

Jack, Fred, Mary, Bob, and Dan Gilbreth

These are the rest of the Gilbreth kids. They aren't given as much characterization as their other siblings because of their young ages. Each of them holds a special role within the family.

Jane Gilbreth

Baby Jane is the youngest. Her mother gets pregnant with Jane during the events of the novel. When she is born, Frank and Lillian declare their family is complete now with an even dozen, just like they had planned when they first got married.

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