The Devil in the White City | Study Guide

Erik Larson

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The Devil in the White City | Characters

Character Description
Daniel Burnham Daniel Hudson Burnham is the visionary architect who creates the World's Fair as the ideal "White City" and brings glory to Chicago and the United States. Read More
H.H. Holmes H.H. Holmes, whose real name is Herman Webster Mudgett, is a notorious serial killer and con man. His aliases are Henry D. Mann, H.S. Campbell, Harry Gordon, and H.M. Howard or Henry Mansfield Howard. Read More
Frederick Olmsted Frederick Law Olmstead designs the grounds at Jackson Park, where the Chicago World's Fair is mounted. Read More
Frank Geyer Detective Frank Geyer investigates the disappearance of the Pitezel children and finds their bodies. Read More
Dankmar Adler Dankmar Adler is Sullivan's partner.
Charles Atwood Charles Atwood is a New York designer who replaces John Root on the World's Fair project.
Jonathan Belknap Jonathan Belknap is Myrta Belknap's great-uncle; Holmes comes close to killing him but does not.
Myrta Belknap Myrta Belknap is a woman from Minneapolis whom Holmes courts and illegally marries.
Sol Bloom Sol Bloom is an entrepreneur put in charge of finding entertainment and concessions for the Midway at the Chicago World's Fair.
Buffalo Bill Colonel William Cody, known as "Buffalo Bill," is refused a concession in the fair for his Wild West show but rents land adjacent to the park to stage his performances.
Margaret Burnham Margaret Burnham is Daniel Burnham's wife. She outlived him by 30 years.
Charles Chappell Charles Chappell is a machinist and "articulator" who strips flesh from bodies and reassembles the skeletons. He works for Holmes.
Emeline Cigrand Emeline Cigrand is a stenographer who becomes romantically involved with Holmes and is eventually killed by him.
Grover Cleveland Grover Cleveland is the newly elected president of the United States who leads the parade at the World Fair's opening ceremony.
Harry Codman Harry Sargent Codman is a talented junior architect at Olmsted's firm who becomes one of Olmsted's surrogates in Chicago.
Gertrude Conner Gertrude (Gertie) Conner is Ned Conner's sister; she abruptly leaves Chicago and dies shortly after.
Julia Conner Julia Conner, Ned's wife, gets sexually involved with Holmes; eventually he kills her.
Ned Conner Ned Conner is hired by Holmes to manage the jewelry counter in his drugstore.
Pearl Conner Pearl Conner is Julia and Ned Conner's daughter; Holmes kills her.
George Davis George Davis is the director-general of the Chicago World's Fair. He argues with Burnham about artistic control.
Mike De Young Mike De Young, one of the fair's national commissioners, hires Sol Bloom to supervise the development of the Midway at the Chicago World's Fair.
Theodore Dreiser Theodore Dreiser is a newspaper reporter and future famous American novelist who takes a group of schoolteachers to the Chicago World's Fair.
Duke of Veragua The duke of Veragua is a direct descendent of Christopher Columbus; he is invited to the World's Fair opening ceremonies.
Alexandre Eiffel Alexandre Eiffel is the French architect who built the Eiffel Tower.
James Ellsworth James Ellsworth is on the board of the Committee on Grounds and Buildings for the fair and invites Olmsted to Chicago to look at the sites under consideration.
Infanta Eulalia Infanta Eulalia is a visiting member of the Spanish royal family who rejects her "guest of honor" status at the World's Fair and prefers to go off on her own.
George Ferris George Ferris designs a groundbreaking moving metal structure, the Ferris Wheel, for the World's Fair.
Lyman Gage Lyman Gage is the president of the World's Fair.
Samuel Gompers Samuel Gompers is a union leader who has dealings with Burnham about working conditions and hiring practices at the World's Fair.
W.F. Gronau W.F. Gronau is George Ferris's partner; he helps design the groundbreaking moving metal structure for the Chicago World's Fair and supervises its first turn in Ferris's absence.
Benjamin Harrison Benjamin Harrison is the United States president who signs the bill to provide government support for the World's Fair.
Carter Harrison Carter Henry Harrison is the Chicago mayor killed by Patrick Prendergast two days before the World's Fair closes.
Sophia Hayden Sophia Hayden is the female architect who designs the Woman's Building at the World's Fair.
Dr. Holton Dr. Holton is the sick pharmacist who dies soon after Holmes moves to the Chicago suburb of Englewood.
Mrs. Holton Mrs. Holton sells her husband's pharmacy to Holmes and is likely killed by him.
Cephas Humphrey Cephas Humphrey is a mover who inadvertently helps Holmes get rid of the corpses of Nannie and Minnie Williams.
Richard Hunt Richard Hunt is a famous New York architect hired by Burnham.
Fritz Krupp Fritz Krupp is a German arms maker who sends an artillery piece to the World's Fair.
Dr. Lawrence Dr. Lawrence lives with his wife in Holmes's building.
Mrs. Lawrence Mrs. Lawrence lives with her husband in Holmes's building and becomes Emeline Cigrand's friend.
Clara Lovering Clara Lovering marries the young Holmes in Alton, New Hampshire, and has a child with him.
William MacHarg William MacHarg builds the water sterilization plant at the fairgrounds.
Charles McKim Charles McKim is a New York architect hired by Burnham to work on the World's Fair.
Frank Millet Francis (Frank) Millet is Burnham's friend and the artist who paints the palace structures at the Chicago World's Fair.
Annie Oakley Annie Oakley is a performer in the Wild West show and is known for her marksmanship.
John Oker John Oker rents an apartment to Holmes.
Robert Peabody Robert Peabody is a Boston architect hired by Burnham.
Alice Pitezel Alice Pitezel is the Pitezels' 15-year-old daughter; she is murdered by Holmes.
Benjamin Pitezel Benjamin Pitezel is Holmes's assistant and accomplice in insurance fraud and possibly other crimes. His aliases are Phelps, Benjamin Lyman, and B.F. Perry. Holmes murders him.
Carrie Pitezel Carrie Pitezel is the wife of Benjamin Pitezel and the mother of five children.
Howard Pitezel Howard Pitezel is the Pitezels' eight-year-old son; Holmes murders him.
Nellie Pitezel Nellie Pitezel is the Pitezels' 11-year-old daughter; she is murdered by Holmes.
George Post George Post is a New York architect hired by Burnham.
Patrick Prendergast Patrick Eugene Joseph Prendergast is the mentally ill manager of a team of newsboys; he kills Mayor Harrison of Chicago.
Patrick Quinlan Patrick Quinlan is Holmes's caretaker at the murder castle.
Colonel Edmund Rice Colonel Edmund Rice is the commander of the World's Fair police force.
Luther Rice Luther Rice is an assistant engineer hired by Ferris to oversee construction of the Ferris Wheel.
John Root John Wellborn Root is Burnham's partner; he dies shortly after Chicago is awarded the World's Fair.
John Sherman John Sherman is superintendent of the Union Stock Yards and becomes Burnham's father-in-law.
Evelyn Stewart Evelyn Stewart is a young woman who disappears from the World's Fair Hotel run by Holmes.
St. Gaudens Augustus St. Gaudens is an American sculptor invited to help evaluate the preliminary designs for the World's Fair.
Louis Sullivan Louis Sullivan is a Chicago architect who is a rival of Burnham and Root; nonetheless, Burnham hires him to work on the World's Fair.
Jennie Thompson Jennie Thompson is a stenographer who disappears from the World's Fair Hotel.
Alfred Trude Alfred Trude is a lawyer to whom Prendergast regularly writes irrational notes.
Mark Twain Mark Twain is a beloved American writer who plans to attend the World's Fair but gets sick and ends up spending his visit in a hotel room.
Rudolph Ulrich Rudolph Ulrich is Olmsted's landscape superintendent.
Henry Van Brunt Henry Van Brunt is a Kansas City architect hired by Burnham to work on the World's Fair.
Sara White Sara White is one of the schoolteachers Theodore Dreiser squires around the World's Fair; he later marries her.
Minnie Williams Minnie Williams is a plain but wealthy woman who moves to Chicago to be with Holmes and is eventually killed by him.
Nannie Williams Anna (Nannie) Williams is Minnie's single sister; she is lured to Chicago and then killed by Holmes.
Frank Lloyd Wright Frank Lloyd Wright is an American architect who comes to prominence in Chicago and worldwide in the years after the World's Fair.
Georgiana Yoke Georgiana Yoke is the last young woman Holmes courts; she becomes his fiancée.
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