The Baylor Collections of Political Materials in the W. R. Poage Legislative Library initially acquired a number of books from Dr. Robert M. Platt, a retired professor of sociology and anthropology. His hobby for over fifty years had been collecting books about politicians and the political process along with political memorabilia. Since retiring from the faculty of Tarrant County College, Dr. Platt has operated a combination book/political memorabilia shop in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
In the initial agreement with Dr. Platt, the BCPM purchased 500 books and received another 500 as gifts. All of these books dealt with politicians and politics. Among the books were campaign books from 1896, 1900, 1904, 1908, and 1912. There were pre-1900 biographies of James G. Blaine (1884), Grover Cleveland (1884), Schuyler Colfax (1868), James Garfield (1880), Horace Greeley (1872), and William McKinley (1896). There were also early biographies of Theodore Roosevelt (1910) and William J. Bryan (1908). Since most of the other books pre-date the establishment of the BCPM in 1979, this acquisition/gift significantly enhanced the BPCM research book collection.
After transferring the first 1,000 books, Dr. Platt continued to donate books and began donating campaign materials including several sets of campaign buttons, magazines, newspapers, posters, 3-D items, and several boxes of papers related to the Kennedy assassination from Penn Jones, Jr. As of November 2007, Platt Vertical Files contain thousands of items from almost 900 politicians and political organizations, over 2,300 books, and hundreds of campaign posters, newspapers, newsletters and other materials related to the political process.