Baylor University Poage Library

Collection Items

McKinley Bug
The Dr. Robert M. Platt and John Dowdy Presidential Collection at Baylor University's W. R. Poage Library has a vast collection of presidential memorabilia dating back to the 1800s. The collection includes many different types of items such as campaign buttons, campaign posters, coins, hats from national conventions and even a collection of Russian nesting dolls with the faces of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton and their families.

One of the more fascinating items in the collections is a small campaign button from 1896. This button is a gold bug with foldable wings. On the tips of each of the wings is the face of the candidates for president. Eventual President William McKinley is on the left wing and eventual Vice-president Garret Hobart is on the right wing. The button is a gold bug because McKinley ran on the gold platform in the election of 1896 and the people that supported him would come to rallies with gold jackets and black pants and earned the name gold bugs. McKinley defeated William Jennings Bryan in the election in 1896. McKinley became only the second U.S. president to be killed in office when he was struck down by an assassin's bullet in 1901.

The W. R. Poage Library acquired the button from Platt in 2010 with a contribution from the John and JD Dowdy Foundation. To see this and many other buttons in the collection visit the Poage Library Monday Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. And to find more information about the Platt Dowdy Presidential Collection visit www.baylor.edu/lib/poage/plattdowdy.


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