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Mark Plotkin papers

Identifier: MS2370

Scope and Contents

This collection contains handwritten and typed radio commentaries, newspaper articles, photographs, correspondence, biographical records, DC election materials including bumper stickers and buttons, engagement calendars, and film from Mark Plotkin. The documents date from 1953-2018.


  • 1953-2018

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Mark Plotkin was a journalist, political commentator, columnist, analyst and radio host, most well known for his commentary in the Washington D.C. area. A graduate from the University of Chicago High School. Plotkin first came to Washington to attend the George Washington University where he would earn his bachelor’s degree in American history in 1969. After completing his degree, Plotkin taught public school in Chicago and Washington until 1971 when his attention turned to politics.

Since the late 1960s, Plotkin was active in the Washington political scene. During the 1972 elections, Plotkin was an advance man and congressional district coordinator for Edmund Muskie, Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern. From 1976-1984 Plotkin was the deputy finance director for Morris Udall (1976), Ted Kennedy (1980) and for Gary Hart’s presidential campaign (1984). Plotkin served as an elected member of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission from 1981-1985 and chaired the commission for two years. Plotkin, was elected to the D.C. Democratic state committee from 1984-1989.

Plotkin was most well known for his career as a radio commentator for WAMU and WTOP radio. Plotkin’s career started at WAMU, an NPR affiliate, in 1989 and continued there until 2002. In 2002, Plotkin moved from WAMU to WTOP, all news station. At WTOP, Plotkin co-hosted a weekly political radio show which he used as a platform for advocacy of voting rights for D.C. residents and D.C. statehood. Plotkin left WTOP in 2012.

In addition to his radio commentating, Plotkin was also a columnist for Legal Times, The Georgetowner, and and an op-ed contributor to The Washington Post. Presently Plotkin is a contributor to BBC on American politics and a columnist to Plotkin is a winner of the Edward R. Murrow award for Excellence in Writing.

Mark Plotkin died at age 72 in 2019.


7 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection contains handwritten commentaries, typed commentary, published articles from multiple newspapers and personal documents from the career of Mark Plotkin. Plotkin was most well known for his career as a political commentator and analyst primarily on the radio and on TV. These appearances were local and international (CBC-Canadian Broadcasting Company and CTV-Canadian Television Commentary). Plotkin was the political analyst for WAMU, an NPR affiliate, from 1982-2002. After leaving WAMU Plotkin was the political analyst for WTOP (all news radio station) from 1989-2012. Plotkin has also been active in print media, writing articles for The Washington Post, The Georgetowner, and Legal Times. Plotkin was outspoken about his beliefs supporting self governance for D.C., full congressional representation for D.C. in Congress and statehood for D.C..


This collection is arranged into three series; radio commentary, news articles, personal documents and research. WTOP commentaries by month (as WAMU.)

Physical Location

Materials are stored off-site, and will require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mark Plotkin, January 30, 2018 (2018.006). Second accession in 2019 (2019.100)

Processing Information

Much of this material came to the archives not in folders or with any organization. The majority of the folder titles were supplied by archivists.

Guide to the Mark Plotkin papers, 1953-2018
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America