The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence Character List

Newland Archer

The main protagonist ofthe novel. Newland is a young man torn between convention (represented by his wife, May Welland) and defiance (represented by his love, Ellen Olenska).

May Welland

The conventional fiancé/wife of Newland Archer. Her character is an interesting paradox. She is consistently desribed as innocent and pure, dressed in white. Yet, she is conniving, described as the huntress Diana, and conspires to control Newland throughout the novel.

Ellen Olenska

May's cousin, a non-conformist. Newland falls in love with her for her defiance of social convention. Ellen leaves her brutal husbad in Europe for the comforts of her home in New York. When she returns she finds New York very differnt from the simple paradise she had remembered. She falls in love with Newland but is silently banished back to Europe by her family.

Mrs. Manson Mingott (née Catherine Spicer)

May and Ellen's grandmother. The matriarch of New York society. Although she is the archetype of convention she attained her position by being defiant and aggressive in her youth.

Mrs. Archer

Newland Archer's conventional mother. She's a widow.

Mrs. Welland

May's extremely conventional mother.

Lawrence Lefferts

The "model of form" in New York society; he is addressed whenever matters of style or decorum are at issue. Yet, ironically, he is a lying adulterer.

Sillerton Jackson

New York society's central gossip; a good friend of the Archer family.

Medora Manson

Ellen Olenska's aunt and caretaker. (Ellen's parents died young) She is eccentric and avant-garde; she raise Ellen like a "gypsy foundling."

Julius Beaufort

A scandalous womanizer; represents "new" money and new standards. He is the first to embrace Ellen into society although his intentions may be less than honorable.

Bob Spicer

Catherine Spicer's father. He had a wild spirit; he abandoned her and her mother before she was born.

Mrs. Lemuel Struthers

The widow of a wealthy businessman. She is disliked in New York society for her questionable backgound.

Regina Beaufort

The wife of Julius Beaufort. When Julius' repuation becomes mired in scandal, she appeals to Mrs. Manson Mingott, who is angered that she would ask the family for backing.

Miss Janey Archer

Newland Archer's gossippy "Cassandra-like" sister.

Gertrude Lefferts

Larry Leffert's wife; she feigns ignorance of Larry's many affairs for the sake of her reputation.

Mr. and Mrs. Henry van der Luyden

A socially influential couple capable of making or breaking any reputation. They are consistently in control of Ellen's fate.


Ellen's maid.

Mr. Letterblair

Newland's boss at the law firm. Convinces Newland to persuade Ellen not to get a divorce.

Duke of St. Austrey

The socially important, but very dull, guest of honor at the van der Luyden's banquet.

Miss Fanny Ring

Julius Beaufort's mistress. After the death of his wife, Beaufort marries Fanny. Newland's son marries Beaufort and Ring's daughter, Fanny Beaufort.

Ned Winsett

Archer's close friend, a "clever" person he talked with at the club. Winsett is a journalist and much less wealthy than any member of New York's better society. Winsett is "not a journalist by choice;"he was a man of letters, untimely born in a world that had no need of letters."

Dr. Carver

A strange manipulative friend of Medora Manson; the self professed "doctor of love." He's most likely a quack or a fraud.

Mrs. Carfry and Miss Harle

Two friends of Mrs. Archer that Newland and May visit on their honeymoon.

Monsieur Rivière

Newland and May meet him on their honeymoon; he's the tutor of Mrs. Carfry's nephew. Later, he meets Archer in New York and he describes himself as Count Olenska's secretary, the man who helped Ellen escape from the Count.

Dallas Archer

Newland's eldest son; he marries Fanny Beaufort.

Fanny Beaufort

The daughter of Beaufort from his second marriage.