Wing Biddlebaum The central character in "Hands." Wing, an old man who lives on the outskirts of Winesburg, was driven from his former teaching position in Pennsylvania because townspeople suspected him of homosexual overtures to his young male students.
Jesse Bentley The family patriarch in "Godliness." This hard-hearted father of Louise Bentley and grandfather of David Hardy is a puritanical farmer who has confused serving God with amassing wealth.
Louise Bentley The daughter of Jesse Bentley and central character in one of the four parts of "Godliness." Louise, feeling rejected by her father, married young John Hardy, who became a successful banker. Louise, however, remained an unhappy, bitter, and violent person, who was emotionally unable to give her son David the consistent love which a child needs.
Belle Carpenter The attractive milliner in "An Awakening." George Willard hopes to seduce Belle, but she is using George to make the bartender, Ed Handby, jealous.
Elmer Cowley The son of an unsuccessful merchant in "Queer." The youth tries to convince George that he isn't freakish, but he is unsuccessful.
Tom Foster A quiet young fellow who comes to Winesburg with his grandmother. In "Drink," he falls in love with Helen White, but realizing the impossibility of her returning his love, he gets drunk one spring night.
Tandy Hard The five-year-old daughter of the agnostic Tom Hard, is given her name by a young alcoholic who has coined the word "tandy" to mean being strong enough to dare to be loved.
David Hardy The grandson of Jesse Bentley. In "Godliness," David shoots his grandfather with a sling shot and runs away from home.
Reverend Curtis Hartman Rev. Hartman becomes a more eloquent preacher after he begins spying on Kate Swift in her bedroom. He realizes the error of his ways in "The Strength of God."
Alice Hindman In "Adventure" Alice is a lonely, sexually frustrated spinster who runs naked in the rain one night.
Doctor Parcival "The philosopher" in the story by that name, is a misanthropic physician with almost no patients. He is hopeful that George Willard will write a book based on the truth that everyone in the world is Christ and they are all crucified.
Ray Pearson The middle-aged farmhand in "The Untold Lie" is consulted by young Hal Winters about whether to marry a girl whom he has gotten "in the family way."
Doctor Reefy A central character in "Paper Pills" and in "Death," writes his ideas on scraps of paper and stuffs them in his pocket. He has been happily married for a few months and he has almost become Elizabeth Willard's lover, but, nevertheless, his life is a lonely one.
Seth Richmond Seth in "The Thinker," is a boy about George Willard's age. Because he is quiet, people think Seth is intelligent, but he is really a lonely, ineffectual individual in love with Helen White-but unable to tell her so.
Enoch Robinson A frustrated artist whose story is told in "Loneliness." He is a childlike man who, for a time, in New York City found his imaginary world more interesting than the real world.
Kate Swift "The Teacher" who is interested in her former student George Willard. She is an attractive but frustrated woman of about thirty who has unwittingly aroused sexual fantasies in Reverend Curtis Hartman.
Louise Trunnion Louise in "Nobody Knows," hopes that George Willard will love her. Instead, he has sexual relations with her and gloats that no one knows about it.
Joe Welling Normally, a quiet Standard Oil agent whose ideas at times come welling out; hence the title of his story is "A Man of Ideas." Joe has started a successful town baseball team and found a girl to love, so he is one of the most successful grotesques in the book.
Helen White The daughter of Winesburg's bank president, is as beautiful and pure as her name suggests. It is little wonder that she is loved by Seth Richmond ("The Thinker"), Tom Foster ("Drink"), and George Willard. Her story, "Sophistication," describes an evening which Helen spends with George.
Elizabeth Willard Mother of George Willard, figures prominently in both "Mother" and "Death." She is an unhappily married woman whose husband, Tom, is a rather handsome, talkative hotel owner.
George Willard Young reporter on the Winesburg Eagle, is mentioned in all but five of the tales. Many of the characters in the book turn to George for understanding, but he is not always sensitive enough to sympathize with their problems.