Chris Taylor Talks About David Rice Atchison, The "President" Nobody Knows About

For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2014
Contact: Courtney Lewis
Chris Taylor Talks About David Rice Atchison, The "President" Nobody Knows About

Does Missourian David Rice Atchison deserve to be considered the 12th president of the United States? His "term of office" lasted just 24 hours - most of which he slept through - and took place 165 years ago.

Atchison was a proslavery Democrat who represented Missouri in the U.S. Senate from 1843-55 and is the namesake of Atchison, Kansas. On Sunday, March 4, 1849, he was serving as president pro tempore of the senate, then third in line for succession to the presidency. Because James K. Polk's term ended at noon on that day and Zachary Taylor didn't take the oath of office until noon the next day, Atchison technically may have been the chief magistrate of the land during that interim period.

Chris Taylor of the Atchison County (Kansas) Historical Society - home to the unofficial David Rice Atchison "presidential" library -- offers a whimsical discussion of the "forgotten" president on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

This presentation offers a review of Atchison's brief administration and a full portrait of a largely forgotten Midwesterner who was a leading figure in the pre-Civil War era.

Taylor is the executive director of the Atchison County Historical Society. The former managing editor of the Atchison Daily Globe, he moved to a second career in the museum and history fields in 1999.

Taylor's presentation is part of the Hail to the Chiefs Series on the American Presidency, which is co-presented by the Truman Library Institute and the Kansas City Public Library and made possible by grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Legacy Fund.

Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event.RSVP at or call 816.701.3407.

Kansas City Public Library Beta