Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

Minnie featured on the cover of the second edition

All of the characters that appear in Kathryn Lasky's Christmas After All.

Main characters[]

Minnie Swift[]

Main article: Minerva Swift

Minerva[1] "Minnie" Swift (born c. 1921)[2] was the youngest daughter of Belle and Sam Swift. She had three older sisters, Gwen, Clem, and Lady, and one younger brother, Ozzie. Minnie attended Public School 70 in Indianapolis, Indiana. In December 1932, the Swifts' life changed when Willie Faye Darling, a distant relative, came to live with them. Minnie quickly became close to Willie Faye, whom was only two months older than her. She helped Minnie cope with her father's sudden disappearance before Christmas and encouraged her to believe in his return. Despite having a loud, large family, Minnie later realized that life had been a "bit dull" before Willie Faye came into their lives.

Supporting characters[]

Belle Swift[]

Belle[3] Swift ("Mama") was the wife of Sam Swift and the mother of their six children, including Gwen, Clem, Lady, Minnie, and Ozzie. She belonged to two "ladies' clubs," the Indianapolis Woman's Club and the Fortnightly Club, which she attended regularly. During the Great Depression, Belle and her husband tried their hardest to make ends meet. In December 1932, she became worried about her husband's strange behavior. When he left, Belle hired a private detective despite Sam's note saying that he would be back. After his success with Ozzie, the Boy Wonder, the Swifts became wealthy. At the age of one-hundred and one, Belle attended Minnie's Distinguished Service medal ceremony.

Clem Swift[]

Clementine "Clem" Swift (born c. 1915)[4] was the older sister of Lady, Minnie and Ozzie, and the younger sister of Gwen. She attended the public high school, Shortridge. Clem spent much of her time studying with her best friends, Olive and Opal. They all belonged to a social service club at school. Clem and her friends eschewed generally dating and going out until Lady encouraged them to go to a jazz club with her in December 1932. There Clem met Marlon, whom began visiting her home often. She quickly became "moony" over him. They eventually married after a long period of dating. Clem became an orphanage director after receiving her masters in social work.

Gwen Swift[]

Gwendolyn "Gwen" Knox (née Swift; born c. 1912)[4] was the oldest child of Belle and Sam Swift. As the eldest, she was the most responsible of her siblings and was particularly attuned to her mother's feelings. Gwen had attended Wellesley College and gone abroad to Paris. In 1932, Gwen was unable to return to college since her family could not afford the tuition. She instead got a job at Bobbs-Merrill. Gwen dated Delbert Frink until she saw his behavior towards Marlon as disrespectful. After the success of Ozzy, the Boy Wonder, Gwen was able to complete college. She returned to Bobbs-Merrill as an editor and later worked for the juvenile department. Gwen married Harry Knox and had three children.

Lady Swift[]

Adelaide "Lady" Swift (born c. 1916)[4] was one of Minnie's older sisters. The two usually shared the same bedroom. Lady went to an all-girls school, Tudor Hall, as her parents felt she was "distractible." She had a natural talent for fashion and often made clothing from materials she found around the house. Lady enjoyed having fun with friends and going out on dates with boys. She had an impulsivity problem, such as when she dyed her hair blonde without permission. As an adult, she graduated from Parsons School of Design. She was a costume designer for Broadway, before moving to Hollywood. Her designs received an Academy Award in 1950. Lady never married but dated often throughout her life.

Ozzie Swift[]

Francis Osgood[5] "Ozzie" Swift (born 1923)[6] was the youngest child of Belle and Sam Swift. He was incredibly smart and knowledgeable about many sciences, including physics and astronomy. Ozzie had his own "lab", where he created his inventions. He was also a huge fan science fiction, especially the radio show Buck Rogers. When his father left, Ozzie was constantly worried about him and even sold his chemistry set to help his mother hire a private detective. Later, Ozzie graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in physics. He worked on the atom bomb, but spent the rest of his life working on disarmament. Ozzie married a concert violinist, who survived Auschwitz.

Sam Swift[]

Sam[7] Swift ("Papa") was the husband of Belle and the father of Gwen, Clem, Lady, Minnie, and Ozzie. He worked as the chief accountant at Greenhandle Scrap Iron. Sam lost his job at Greenhandle just a few days before Christmas. He did not have the heart to tell his family for two days. Sam suddenly left for Chicago, leaving only a short note for his family. There he sold three scripts of a radio program, titled Ozzie, the Boy Wonder to the National Broadcasting Company. Sam returned home just in time for Christmas. The program became a huge success, spawning comic books and a even movie. The Swifts became extremely wealthy and were able to send all of their children to college.

Willie Faye Darling[]

Willie Faye Darling (born c. 1921)[2] was the daughter of Edwina and Mr. Darling. She was a first cousin once removed of the Swifts'. Her family lived outside of Heart's Bend, Texas. She was inventive, curious, and extremely talented with art. A year after her father's passing, Willie Faye was orphaned when her mother died in November 1932. She spent two days with her mother's body until a neighbor came by and had her sent to the Swifts. Willie Faye became particularly close to Minnie and Ozzie. In later life, Willie Faye graduated from John Herron Art School and became an art director at Bobbs-Merrill. She collaborated on a few children's books with Minnie. Willie Faye had twin girls with her husband, Homer Peet.

Minor characters[]

  • Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Minnie Swift admired her and collected newspaper clippings about her.
  • Bernadette Otis was a student in Minnie's class. Her best friend was Martine Vontill and she often let Martine "boss her around." Bernadette's father, whom had fallen on hard times, killed himself on the day of her birthday party.
  • Betty Hodges and Lucy Meyers were Minnie's best friends and classmates. The three all played shepherds in the Christmas pageant.
  • Booth Tarkington, a famous author who lived near the Swifts. He was married to Susanah.
  • Chester Peet was Homer's younger brother. Ozzie Swift sold his chemistry set to Chester.
  • Misses Cuddy and Loritz were teachers at Public School 70 in Indianapolis.
  • Miss Crowe was Lady Swift's teacher at Tudor Hall.
  • Mr. Darling (died c. 1931)[8] was the father of Willie Faye and husband of Edwina. He died a year before his wife. Willie Faye often told stories about him.
  • Delbert Frink was Gwen's former boyfriend. His family was well-off and he had studied at Harvard. He was very rude to Marlon, which led to Gwen breaking up with him. Gwen's siblings generally disliked Delbert, calling him "The Frink."
  • Edwina Darling (died November 1932) was Willie Faye's mother. Her husband passed away a year before her. Willie Faye had to spend two days with her body until someone came by.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the president elect.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, the president elect. He beat Herbert Hoover in the 1932 election and many people had high hopes in him.
  • Mr. Fromeyer was a detective Belle Swift hired to look for her missing husband, Sam.
  • Miss Gordon was the principal of Public School 70, where Minnie attended school.
  • Harry Knox[9] (born c. 1902)[10] was Opal's cousin. He lost his hand while fighting in World War I. Harry lost his wife and was out of work by early 1932. In the summer of that year, he participated in a veteran's protest to demand their promised bonuses from the government. By Christmas, Harry had come to live with Opal's family. He married Gwen and had three children. After obtaining a law degree in night school, Harry began his own firm which specialized in legal work for veterans.
  • Herbert Hoover, often referred as "That Fool Hoover" by the Swifts, was the President of the United States. Many people blamed for the Great Depression continuing on. He lost the 1932 election to Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • Mrs. Hodges was Betty's mother. After Minnie's father left, she looked at her with pity which annoyed Minnie.
  • Homer Peet was the older brother of Chester. He went on a few dates with Clem Swift. Homer really liked her though she ultimately did not reciprocate. He later went to dances with Lady. As adults, he married Willie Faye and had twin girls.
  • Jackie was a housemaid working for the Swifts. She helped Belle cook and clean, and encouraged the Swifts to raise chickens in their garage. Belle and Sam were not able to afford to pay her, so they gave her food and the family's old clothes instead. Jackie continued working for the family as she felt she was "too old to change." After the Swifts came into money, they were able to pay her a "handsome wage."
  • Jasper was Jackie's friend and possible suitor. He owned a barbecue restaurant called Jasper's B'Cue, which Minnie described as the "best" in town.
  • John Jay Curtis was a company officer at Bobbs-Merrill. He listened to Minnie's suggestions seriously.
  • Letty Cohen was Lady's friend. One day, Lady impulsively bleached her hair at Letty's house.
  • Luther was the foreman at Greenhandle Scrap Iron, where Sam worked.
  • Marlon was Clem's boyfriend. He was from Minnesota and held multiple jobs. Marlon worked as a lifeguard at the Antlers Hotel's indoor pool, drove a truck for L. S. Ayres, and worked part-time at a jazz club. He met Clem at the club and they soon began dating. Marlon went on to become a leading businessman in the area and started a toy manufacturing company. He married Clem after a long dating period.
  • Martine Vontill was Minnie's classmate and Bernadette Otis's best friend. Minnie described her as "stuck-up" and "snotty" due to the disrespectful way she treated others.
  • Olive Winslow[11] and Opal were Clementine's best friends. They got along well with all of the Swifts, whom referred to them as the "O's." Olive's father lost his job and the family's savings when the Hoosier Bank closed, leading him to leave without saying a word.
  • "One" or "Onesy" was a hobo that sometimes came to the Swifts' home to eat. He had one eye, one tooth, and was missing a finger. Jackie fed him at the kitchen table as long as he washed up first. Later on, Onesy helped Sam decorate for Christmas.
  • Mr. Otis (died December 3, 1932),[12] the father of Bernadette. He had likely lost his job as he was seen selling apples. Mr. Otis eventually decided to end his own life.
  • Susanah Tarkington, the wife of Booth. She belonged to the Fortnightly Club with Belle.
  • Tumbleweed was Willie Faye's cat, whom she brought from Texas. Willie Faye said he was the last cat left in the Panhandle.

Epilogue characters[]

  • Ashton Brannock was the first husband of Minnie Swift. He was a captain in the air force and had flown over five hundred missions in World War II. Ashton was killed in action during the Korean War.
  • Bill Clinton, President at the time of 1993. He awarded Minnie and several other women a Distinguished Service Medal.
  • Mrs. Swift was the wife of Ozzie Swift whom worked as a concert violinist. She was Jewish and had survived the Auschwitz concentration camp.


See also[]

Dear America characters
Main characters

Remember "Mem" Whipple | Deliverance Trembley | Lozette Moreau | Catharine Logan | Prudence Emerson
Abigail Stewart | Lucinda Lawrence | María Rosalia de Milagros | Hattie Campbell | Mary Driscoll
Florence "Florrie" Mack Ryder | Susanna Fairchild | Clotee Henley | Amelia Martin | Emma Simpson
Sarah Nita | Phillis "Patsy" Frederick | Libby West | Priscilla "Pringle" Rose | Mary "Polly" Rodgers
Nannie Little Rose | Angeline Reddy | Sarah Jane Price | Teresa Viscardi | Anetka Kaminska
Zipporah Feldman | Minette "Minnie" Bonner | Angela Denoto | Margaret Ann Brady | Kathleen Bowen
Simone Spencer | Lydia Pierce | Nell "Nellie Lee" Love | Bess Brennan | Minerva "Minnie" Swift | Grace Edwards
Julie Weiss | Madeline Beck | Amber Billows | Piper Davis | Dawn "Dawnie Rae" Johnson | Molly Flaherty

Supporting characters

Antoinetta Viscardi | Leon Nasevich | Daniel Pierce | Erma Jean Love | Patrick Flaherty

Lists of characters by book

A Journey to the New World | I Walk in Dread | Look to the Hills | Standing in the Light
Love Thy Neighbor | The Winter of Red Snow | Cannons at Dawn | A Line in the Sand
Valley of the Moon | Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | All the Stars in the Sky
Seeds of Hope | A Picture of Freedom | A Light in the Storm | When Will This Cruel War Be Over?
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly | The Great Railroad Race
Down the Rabbit Hole | Land of the Buffalo Bones | My Heart Is on the Ground | Behind the Masks
My Face to the Wind | West to a Land of Plenty | A Coal Miner's Bride | Dreams in the Golden Country
A City Tossed and Broken | Hear My Sorrow | Voyage on the Great Titanic | A Time for Courage
When Christmas Comes Again | Like the Willow Tree | Color Me Dark | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Christmas After All | Survival in the Storm | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
My Secret War | Early Sunday Morning | The Fences Between Us | With the Might of Angels
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?