Rob's character is . . .
Franklin Merriman considers himself to be an archivist, preservationist, and historian, but really he is a pack-rat of monumental proportions. During during his younger days as a businessman and investor in New England paper mills, he multiplied an already substantial inheritance into a large fortune. He then spent the next 40 years turning that fortune into a collection of papers and books, which he kept sealed up in various climate-controlled vaults, to the annoyance of scholars worldwide.
He is a widow with no children. His wife died a few years into their marriage, and his obsession with collecting began shortly after that. He is fiesty, irascible and, frankly, friendless -- or was, until his ennoblement greatly magnified his spirit. Since then, he has changed for the better in this regard; he finds himself thinking outside himself and considering foremost the welfare of others and the importance of the great war.
He has not lost his interest in his collections, however, and devotes his new energies and resources to expanding them in ways that were not possible before, as well as making them more secure than ever.
He is now 80 years old, with a paunch, unkempt white whiskers, and dark, bushy eyebrows. He has deeply furrowed creases in his face from decades of glowering, grimacing, and ruminating. He has been dressing in dark gray 3-piece business suits since the 1940s. He always stands up straight, despite painful arthritis in his knees, but relies on a walking stick to hobble around. The walking stick is fashioned from a piece of lumber he rescued from his first paper mill.