This preview is part of Explore Atlas Shrugged, philosopher Diana Brickell's course on Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. The course includes over 22 hours of podcasts, 1400 study questions, and other resources. It will inspire fresh insights into the complex events, characters, and ideas of this epic novel – whether you've read it just once or a dozen times before.

You can purchase access to the whole of Explore Atlas Shrugged for just $20. The written materials in the course are also available from Amazon in paperback and kindle formats, and purchasers of those editions just pay $10 for access to the podcasts.

Character Inventory

This character inventory includes all named characters in Atlas Shrugged, plus a few more. As always, the page numbers found in parentheses refer to the hardcover, softcover, and kindle editions of Atlas Shrugged, not the small mass market paperback.


Dr. Hugh Akston is the renowned philosopher, formerly of Patrick Henry University. There, he taught and befriended John Galt, Francisco d'Anconia, and Ragnar Danneskjöld. (141-2, 331, 786-9) He joined the strike early, immediately after his three students. (746) In her quest for the inventor of the motor, Dagny meets and speaks to him at his hamburger stand. He is a dead end in that quest, almost. (327-32) Dagny meets him again in the valley, and she hears his reasons for going on strike at the dinner at Midas Mulligan's home. (706, 728, 741-2) In the valley, he displays a quiet but strong paternal affection and pride for Francisco, John, and Ragnar. (736, 786-91, 1160) He gives Dagny gentle but firm moral advice on her difficult decision of whether to stay in the valley or return to the world. (802, 806-7)

Jeff Allen is the half-starved tramp that Dagny Taggart saves from being thrown off the train as she travels to Utah to meet with Quentin Daniels. As they eat dinner together, he tells her about his history, including the story of the collapse of the Twentieth Century Motor Company under the Starnes heirs and the engineer named John Galt who promised to "stop the motor of the world" (656-72) When she leaves the frozen train seeking help, she leaves him in charge and gives him an advance on wages. (677-8) As Dagny departs in a plane for Utah, she tells Owen Kellogg to tell Eddie Willers to find a job for Allen. (690) Instead, Allen is put to work immediately by the Taggart Transcontinental agent in Laurel. (762)

Calvin Atwood is the president of the Atwood Light and Power Company of New York. He joins the strike, and he makes leather goods in the valley. (723)

Mr. Ayers is the president of Ayers Music Publishing, the company that publishes all of Richard Halley's music. Dagny Taggart calls him to ask whether Halley has published a Fifth Concerto. (24)


Mayor Bascom is the cynical and pragmatic mayor of Rome, Wisconsin. He bought the factory of the Twentieth Century Motor Company in the bankruptcy sale of Eugene Lawson's Community National Bank. He sold it to Mark Yonts without ever operating it. In his conversation with Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart, he angers Hank by observing that Dagny is not Hank's wife. (294-5)

Luke Beal is the fireman on the train that enters the Taggart Tunnel with the deadly coal-burning engine. He is competent but not bright, and he trusts his superiors. (604) According to news reports, he leaped and ran from the stalled engine when the train was three miles into the tunnel and he was nearly overwhelmed by fumes. He is the sole survivor of the Taggart Tunnel disaster. (621)

Dr. Blodgett is a State Science Institute scientist. He pulls the lever to demonstrate Project X and announces its effects. (823-4)

Orren Boyle is the politically connected president of Associated Steel, a company known for not delivering orders. He is a friend and ally of Jim Taggart. (8-9, 73, 210-1, 393-4, 499) He orchestrates the Anti-dog-eat-dog Rule for Jim in exchange for the passage of the Equalization of Opportunity Bill. (44-50, 75, 394-5) He advocates for a "Preservation of Livelihood Law" to limit the production of Rearden Metal, and that is ultimately passed as part of the "Fair Share Law." (299, 333-4, 361) He is present at the meeting about Directive 10-289, where he exerts little power in the various petty squabbles. (532-49) He attempts to cash in on that directive by modifying furnaces to produce Rearden Metal, but he is blocked by Ragnar Danneskjöld, who destroys the plant. (570, 581) He has a nervous breakdown when Hank Rearden joins the strike, thereby destroying any hopes for the proposed Steel Unification Plan. (1002, 1083)

Laura Bradford is Kip Chalmers' mistress. She is a movie actress known for sleeping with bureaucrats. She is killed in the Taggart Tunnel disaster. (585-7)

The Brakeman is a young worker for Taggart Transcontinental. Dagny Taggart hears him whistle a tune on a train that she recognizes as a new concerto by composer Richard Halley. (13-4, 18) Dagny meets him again in the valley, where he works for Ellis Wyatt and is a student of Richard Halley. (720-1, 747)

Bill Brent is the chief dispatcher for the Colorado Division of Taggart Transcontinental. He tries to prevent Dave Mitchum from sending the deadly coal-burning engine into the Taggart Tunnel – first by persuasion, then by refusing to obey orders, and finally by quitting – at great personal cost. (590-2, 596, 600-2) He fails.

Millie Bush was the daughter of a worker at the Twentieth Century Motor Company under the Starnes heirs and "a mean ugly little eight-year-old." She was granted gold braces for psychological reasons as a "medical need." An old man, deprived of his sole hobby of purchasing classical records, punched all of her teeth out one evening when he was drunk. (663-4)


Emma (Ma) Chalmers is Kip Chalmers' mother, a Buddhist, and a sociologist. Always a Washington hanger-on, she gains prominence after Kip's death in the Taggart Tunnel disaster. She advocates forcing people to adopt the soybean as a dietary staple, and she creates "Project Soybean" with a 30 million dollar subsidy from Washington. (937-8) Due to political pull, she is able to obtain the railway cars intended for the Minnesota wheat harvest. However, her soybeans are unfit for consumption because they were reaped too early. (943) Later, she creates a "People's Party" in California that engages in armed fighting against a "Back to God" party. (1108)

Kip Chalmers is a moderately powerful political player seeking election as Legislator from California. Travelling across the country by train, he is in danger of missing a heavily promoted rally in San Francisco after the diesel engine is wrecked in a derailment. In a panic, he exerts political pressure to compel transportation through the Taggart Tunnel. The result is the tunnel disaster, in which he and all the other passengers and crew are killed. (585-8, 604)

Tom Colby is the rolling mill foreman at Rearden Steel. He is the first worker to quit Rearden Steel after the passage of Directive 10-289. (554-5)

Dan Conway is the president of the very successful Phoenix-Durango Railroad used by Ellis Wyatt. Jim Taggart and Orren Boyle collude to pass the Anti-dog-eat-dog Rule in the National Association of Railroads, thereby preventing Conway's railroad from operating in Colorado. (74-5) Dagny Taggart urges Conway to fight the rule, but he lacks the will to do so. (77-80) In a panic about the delays on the upgrade to the Rio Norte Line, Jim attempts to force Conway to continue operating in Colorado, but Conway refuses. (193) Later, Eddie Willers tries to persuade Conway to build five and a half miles of track to connect a detour around the collapsed Taggart Tunnel, but Conway refuses. (649)


Ken Danagger

Francisco d'Anconia

Sebastián d'Anconia

Señor d'Anconia

Quentin Daniels

Ragnar Danneskjöld


Clarence Eddington

Balph Eubank


Dr. Floyd Ferris

The Fishwife


John Galt

Rodrigo Gonzalas


Richard Halley

Lawrence Hammond

Pop Harper

Mrs. William Hastings

Dr. Thomas Hendricks

Tinky Holloway

Dick Horton

Lee Hunsacker


Gwen Ives


Lucie Judson


Gilbert Keith-Worthington

Owen Kellogg

Fred Kinnan


Paul Larkin

Eugene Lawson

Mort Liddy

Clifton Locey

Pat Logan

Kay Ludlow


Roger Marsh

Mario Martinez

Dick McNamara

Cuffy Meigs

Dave Mitchum

Chick Morrison

Young Mother

Jules Mott

Julius [Mouch]

Wesley Mouch

Horace Mowen

Midas Mulligan

Charles Murray


Judge Narragansett

Ben Nealy

Ted Nielsen


Betty Pope

Mrs. Cornelius Pope

Dr. Potter

Simon Pritchett


Mr. Quinn


Hank (Henry) Rearden

Lillian Rearden

Mrs. Rearden

Philip Rearden

The Road Foreman


Dwight Sanders

Joe Scott

Bertram Scudder

Claude Slagenhop

The Smather Brothers

The Sob Sister

Dr. Robert Stadler

Eric Starnes

Gerald Starnes

Ivy Starnes

Jed Starnes

Andrew Stockton


Cherryl (Brooks) Taggart

Dagny Taggart

Jim Taggart

Mr. Taggart

Mrs. Taggart

Nathaniel Taggart

Mr. Thompson

The "Traffic Cop"

The Trainmaster

Lester Tuck


Mrs. Gilbert Vail


Mr. Ward

Buzzy Watts

Clem Weatherby

The Wet Nurse (Tony)

Eddie Willers

Ellis Wyatt


Mark Yonts

About Explore Atlas Shrugged

Do you want to better understand and appreciate Ayn Rand's epic novel Atlas Shrugged?

Explore Atlas Shrugged is an in-depth course consisting of a podcast series, study questions, and other resources by philosopher Dr. Diana Brickell. The course breaks Atlas Shrugged into 20 manageable sessions, each covering about 65 pages of the novel.

Explore Atlas Shrugged will inspire fresh insights into the complex events, characters, and ideas of Ayn Rand's epic novel, whether you've read it just once or a dozen times before.

Check out the previews, then purchase access to the whole of Explore Atlas Shrugged for just $20. The written materials of Explore Atlas Shrugged are also available from Amazon in paperback and kindle formats, and purchasers of those editions pay just $10 for access to the podcasts.