1961: National States Rights Party Weighs in on the Leo Frank Case

This article is transcribed from the February, 1961 issue of The Thunderbolt, the official newspaper of the White racialist and anti-Jewish National States Rights Party. Its editor was, and is today, Dr. Edward R. Fields. In the 1980s, Dr. Fields organized a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) march to Mary Phagan’s grave in remembrance of her and in protest of the Jewish groups who were working behind the scenes to get Leo Frank exonerated and pardoned from the years 1982-1986. As recently as 2015, Rabbi Steven Lebow petitioned to get the Georgia state government to exonerate Leo Frank of the murder of Mary Phagan.

Leo Frank Case and Today’s Jewish Rape of the South

A Christian Girl Murdered — A Jew Arrested — A Horrified, but Awakened Southland

Little 13 year old Mary Phagan was called the sweetest tempered, happiest and prettiest little girl at the Atlanta Baptist tabernacle where she attended church. Mary was the daughter of a hard working cotton mill hand, with a family of six children. It was April 26, 1913, Confederate Memorial Day. Mary awoke this bright holiday morning and eagerly looked forward to watching the gay patriotic march of the Confederate Veterans down Peachtree Street that afternoon. Mary had her usual breakfast of bread and cabbage (common of food afforded by the depressed White working class).

Mary was a victim of child labor violations which are today a crime. Child labor was common and tots 6 to 10 were to be found slaving away in Rothschild owned cotton mills. Mary was going to pick up her weeks pay ($1.20) at the National Pencil Co. on Forsyth Street before watching the parade. She dressed up in a pretty lavender dress and a large straw hat decorated with ribbons and flowers. Smiling with pride as she left her home, she carried her little silver mesh handbag, which was her greatest treasure. At 11:45 A.M. Mary caught the English Avenue trolley car which carried her downtown. George Epps, a 15 year old news boy acquaintance sat beside Mary. Mary started talking about her boss Leo Frank. She was afraid of Frank and wanted young Epps to escort her to the factory. It was a holiday and she didn’t want to be alone in the building with Frank. She told Epps that Frank would get her in a corner and make passes at her. Often he had smiled and winked at the little girl during working hours. Epps was late for his street corner job of selling the Atlanta Journal and told Mary he would see her later.

Continue Reading →

Judge Roan to Decide Conley’s Jail Fate

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Friday, June 13th, 1913

Chief of Detectives Lanford Receives No Order to Take the Negro Sweeper to Court.

A more explicit accusation of murder against Jim Conley, negro sweeper at the National Pencil Factory, than has yet been made since his name has been connected with the Phagan mystery, was expected Friday morning when Luther Z. Rosser, attorney for Leo Frank, was to appear before Judge L. S. Roan to combat Solicitor Dorsey’s move to keep Conley at the police station and away from the tower.

The probability that Conley, accuser, and Frank, accused, would be brought face to face at the hearing was lessened when it was learned that Chief of Detectives Lanford had received no order to take the negro into court and had made the statement that he would not bring the negro out of the station without an order to that effect.

The hearing Friday morning was understood to be largely the outcome of a persistent demand on the part of Frank’s attorneys that Conley, a self-confessed accessory after the fact of Mary Phagan’s murder, and possibly the actual principal, should be removed from the police station and held in the tower.

His Rearrest is Probable.

Judge Roan, following this agitation, decided that he had possessed no authority to remand the negro to the police station, rather than to the Tower. To checkmate the transfer back to the Tower Solicitor Dorsey petitioned that Conley be freed, representing that the need for holding him as material witness no longer existed. Judge Roan set Friday morning for the hearing to show cause why the Solicitor’s petition should not be granted.

The effect of the petition’s success merely will be that Conley will be technically liberated, but will be rearrested and held “on suspicion,” or as a material witness at the police station by the police officers. In the event of the failure of the petition Conley will be returned to the Tower unless the fight is carried still further. Continue Reading →

Solicitor H. M. Dorsey Wins in First Clash; L. Z. Rosser Declares Procedure a Farce

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Friday, June 13th, 1913

Conley is Prisoner of City Detectives, Not of State, Now

Conley Says His Attorney Believes Idea of Transfer Originated With Friends of Frank, to Harm Him

JUSTICE WARRANT MAY ROB DORSEY OF VICTORY

As Negro Is Held Simply on Suspicion, Any Citizen Might Secure Transfer to Tower on J. P. Warrant

James Conley, the negro sweeper, passed from the custody of the superior court Friday morning, and Solicitor General Dorsey won the first legal point in the prosecution of Leo M. Frank, who has been indicted for the murder of Mary Phagan.

Judge L. S. Roan, after a short hearing, which commenced in his chambers at 10 o’clock, granted the solicitor’s petition that the court’s former orders holding Conley as a material witness in the case against Frank, be revoked, thus preventing his transfer to the county jail.

When the court’s action became formally known at police headquarters Conley was released and immediately rearrested on a charge of “suspicion,” and put back in his old cell, where he claims he is afforded protection from friends of Frank, who, he alleges, annoyed him when he was in the Tower.

Judge Roan in opening the hearing remarked that he would have granted the solicitor’s petition instanter had it not been for the unusual excitement about the case. He had issued a rule nisl calling upon any one who so desired to protest the solicitor’s petition, he said, simply out of an abundance of caution.

The court said the only point at issue was whether or not Conley is a material witness in the case.

Present were Luther Z. Rosser, chief counsel for Frank; Stiles Hopkins, of Mr. Rosser’s law firm; Bernard L. Chappell, counsel for Newt Lee; William M. Smith, counsel for Conley, and several attorneys not identified with the case.

The court asked these gentlemen if any one desired to make the point that Conley is a material witness in the case.

While the solicitor has openly stated that Conley is a material witness, he naturally did not make the point before the court.

DECLINED TO MAKE POINT.

Attorney Rosser said that he did not care to say that the negro was material to him.

He stated that he wished to formally file an answer to the rule nisl, with which he had been served, and to make his answer a part of the record in the case. Continue Reading →

Luther Z. Rosser Declares Detectives Dare Not Permit Jim Conley to Talk Freely

Luther Z. Rosser, leading attorney in the defense of the indicted pencil factory superintendent. He was snapshotted Friday morning while on his way to the court house to protest to Judge Roan against James Conley, the negro sweeper, remaining in the custody of the city detectives.

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

The Atlanta Journal

Friday, June 13, 1913

“Conley and His Counsel Are Wise—Their Hope Is That the Detectives Will Save Negro From a Confession, Giving Him Immunity, Provided He Continues to Put Guilt on Frank”

Several sensational points are contained in the written answer which Rosser & Brandon, attorneys for Leo M. Frank, made Friday morning to the rule nisi issued by Judge L. S. Roan calling upon Leo M. Frank, Newt Lee, or any other person suspected of the murder of Mary Phagan, or any citizen of the state of Georgia, to show cause why James Conley, the negro sweeper, should not be released as a material witness.

This answer was filed by Attorney Rosser, wkho [sic] referred to it as a “protest” and who asked that it be made a part of the court record. In it the attorneys for Frank declare that “to enact the farce in the court’s presence of releasing the negro and immediately return him to his wet nurses at the police station would resemble child’s play.”

The intimation is very clearly made that the solicitor general and the detectives wish to keep Conley in their custody at police headquarters in order that they may bolster up his sworn confessions and that they dare not let the negro talk freely for fear that he may destroy the value of “one of a number of contradictory statements made by him.”

“That the detectives should wish to keep Conley in custody and entertain him at the city’s expense is not at all surprising,” says the answer. “They have already extracted from him extravagant, unthinkable confessions, three or four in number. To these statements they have given the widest publicity, and to the credibility of the last one they have staked their reputations and hope of place.

“Upon the constancy and stability of this witness they have staked their […]

(ontinued [sic] on Page 7, Col. 1.)

ROSSER DECLARES DETECTIVES DARE NOT LET CONLEY TALK

(Continued from Page 1.)

[…] all. They would be less than human if they did not bend all their power and ingenuity in holding him to his present statement, adding to and taking therefrom only such things as will aid its credibility.” Continue Reading →

Court’s Order May Result in Meeting of Negro and Frank

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, June 12th, 1913

Jim Conley, Negro Sweeper, Accusing Witness in Phagan Case, Sure to Appear Before Judge Roan Friday A. M.

STATE MAY DEMAND THAT FRANK APPEAR THERE TOO

Through Judge’s Order, Defense Gets Chance to Quiz Negro—State Then May Force Long-Sought Meeting

The probability that Leo M. Frank, accused of the murder of Mary Phagan, and Jim Conley, negro witness against him, may face each other Friday, developed Thursday morning from the acute situation which arose Wednesday when Judge L. S. Roan issued a rule niel calling on any one to show cause why the negro Conley should not be released from the custody of the state. Solicitor Dorsey seeks the negro’s release so as to avert the judge’s expressed intention of remanding Conley to the county jail, but the solicitor does not seek the negro’s liberty, nor does Conley want to get out of the hands of the police, nor does Conley’s attorney, W. M. Smith want him liberated.

The rather puzzling matter assumed this shape Thursday morning.

NEGRO SURE TO BE THERE.

Conley, the negro, who says he does not want to go free, but who declares he is afraid to go back to the tower, is certain to be called into the hearing before Judge Roan at 10 o’clock Friday on the rule nisi.

The solicitor wants him there, it is expected, to prove alleged intimidation and threats against Conley on a former occasion when for one night immediately following his confession the negro was confined in the Fulton county tower.

And the attorneys defending Frank want him there, it is expected with equal confidence, to learn from him all that he knows or claims to know about the case, which is precisely the thing that the solicitor’s fight is aimed entirely to avoid. The Frank defense has published statements alleging that the negro himself is the principal in the murder and that he alone is guilty.

Therefore, with Conley in chambers before the judge, Solicitor Dorsey can, it is said, have Leo M. Frank brought there, because Frank is the first among those addressed by Judge Roan in the rule nisi and the solicitor can find legal precedent for demanding that Frank speak his own accusations against the negro on that occasion.

Which would bring about the situation that the state and its officers constantly have been seeking to create when Conley first admitted that he wrote the notes found beside Mary Phagan’s dead body, i. e., a face to face meeting between the negro and the man whom he accuses of the murder. Continue Reading →

Police Hold Conley By Court’s Order

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, June 11th, 1913

Judge Roan Gives Suspect Chance to Show Why He Should Not Be Released.

The Phagan case took a queer turn Wednesday afternoon when Judge Roan, apparently stirred by Luther Z. Rosser’s ar[r]aignment of the way Jim Conley has been “petted” by the police, issued notice to suspects in the mystery that they will be given opportunity Friday to show cause why the negro should not be released from custody as a suspect.

However, the move is strictly legal in character, Conley, through his attorney, W. M. Smith, having signed a written statement to stay in the custody of the police as a principal witness if previous orders are vacated and he is legally freed as a suspect.

Agrees to Remain.

Judge Roan informed Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey that he wanted to withdraw his previous order committing Conley to the police station so that the negro’s status could be definitely fixed and so that he could perhaps be sent back to the county jail. Both Conley and his attorney announced that the prisoner wanted to stay at police headquarters.

Smith also came forward with the agreement that Conley would remain in custody of the chief of police.

Sensations Ahead.

Judge Roan then issued what is known as a rule nial, informing Frank, Gordon Bailey, an elevator boy, and Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, that they could be given a chance Friday to show why Conley should not be released.

Sensational developments may follow Friday if the Frank defense is allowed to present facts against Conley for Attorney Rosser is firmly convinced that the negro is the guilty man and has so announced.

Whether the negro shall be indicted as an accessory after or to the fact, or be continued to be held as a witness, will then be determined.

Napier Analyzes The Phagan Case.

The Georgian publishes the following letter written by George M. Napier, the well-known lawyer, on the Phagan case, as it gives for the first time a legal analysis of the case for and against Frank: Continue Reading →

Dictograph Records Crooked, Says Gentry

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

The Atlanta Constitution

June 11, 1913

NOTEBOOK WILL PROVE REPORTS WERE ‘PADDED,’ HE SAYS IN AFFIDAVIT

Young Stenographer, Who Made the Report of the Conversation in Room No. 31 Williams House, Voluntarily Makes Statement Before a Notary Public in the City of Washington D. C., Where He Is Employed.

ASSERTS THAT HE LEFT ATLANTA WHEN INFORMED OVER TELEPHONE HE MIGHT BE PUT UNDER ARREST

Swears That A. S. Colyar Has Made Effort to Purchase His Original Notes, Which Are Now in Possession of His Brotheró”Grand Jury Should Make an Investigation” Declares Mayor James G. Woodward.

The sworn charge that the dictagraph statements, alleged to have been made by Colonel Thomas B. Felder, Mayor James G. Woodward and Charles C. Jones, in Room No 31, Williams house, were “padded” was brought back to Atlanta last night by Ed O. Miles, a private detective, and turned over to Mayor Woodward.

The affidavit was composed and sworn to by George M. Gentry, the stenographer who took the dictagraph conversations. Detective Miles located Gentry in Washington, D. C., where he has been employed during the past two weeks. The affidavit was sworn to before Jeannette Henning, a notary public.

GENTRY WILLING TO RETURN WHENEVER HE IS NEEDED HERE.

“Gentry was willing to come back to Atlanta with me,” Detective Miles said last night. “He has promised to work out the remainder of the month, and has assured me that he will return at the end of that time, or earlier if he is wanted.”

Aside from the charge that his stenographic notes were “padded” by A. S. Colyar, and that he was paid $50 for the part he played in the dictagraph drama, Gentry says that he left Atlanta because he could not bear the humiliation which he knew he would suffer after he learned that his notes had been altered.

His affidavit bears out the statement made by Mayor Woodward, immediately after the publication of the dictagraph scandal, to the effect that he did not mention the names of Chief of Police James L. Beavers or Detective Chief Newport Lanford. Gentry also swears that a reporter called at his home after the publication of the dictagraph statements and informed him that warrants had been issued for the arrest of Colyar, Gay C. Febuary and himself (Gentry), and that he left the city upon being informed that he would not be allowed to give bond. Continue Reading →

Gentry Now Says Dictograph Record Was Tampered With

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, June 11th, 1913

Detective E. O. Miles Gives Out Affidavit From Young Stenographer Repudiating Transcript He Swore to

AFFIDAVIT OBTAINED IN WASHINGTON D. C.

G. C. Febuary Gives Out a Statement, Telling How Notes Were Transcribed and Affidavits Made

The accuracy of the now famous pictograph records of alleged conversations between Thomas B. Felder, Mayor Woodward, C. C. Jones, E. O. Miles, G. C. Febuary and A. S. Colyar is attacked in an affidavit which E. O. Miles has turned over to Mayor Woodward and which he says he obtained from George M. Gentry, the young stenographer who took down the dictograph conversations.

This affidavit was made in Washington D. C., where Miles, one of the dictographed parties, who is a private detective, says he found Gentry. According to this affidavit, Gentry swears that a number of changes were made in the pictograph records after they were transcribed by him. The only specific change set out in the affdavit, however, is that the names of Police Chief Beavers and Detective Chief N. A. Lanford were written into the record of Mayor Woodward’s conversation by some one other than the stenographer.

In this affidavit Gentry explains his disappearance from the city by declaring that when he compared the published records with his stenographic notes he realized that he had been duped and did not care to face the humiliation which he anticipated would follow.

These dictographed records, duly sworn to by young Gentry and others, were published in The Journal, which declined to print these documents unless they were attested before a notary public. These records and affidavits are still in the possession of The Journal, and this paper has no knowledge concerning the alleged changes.

GENTRY READ PROOFS.

Young Gentry was permitted to use one of The Journal’s typewriters to transcribe his pictograph notes. He and Febuary were left alone in the news department Wednesday night, May 21, to do this work. They left a copy of the records in a desk drawer for The Journal. Early on the morning of May 23 Gentry furnished The Journal with an affidavit attesting the correctness of the records. Later he came to The Journal office with his notebook and read the proofs which compared with this shorthand notes, and in one or two places he made minor changes, as he said, to better conform to the original notes.

He was advised to preserve his notes so that in the event any question was raised as to their accuracy, he would have the stenographic record from which to make answer.

The Journal does not undertake to say whether there are or are not discrepancies in the transcribed records compared to the shorthand notes. It has simply relied upon the sworn records and statements furnished by Gentry and others, which records and statements, as stated above, are still in the possession of The Journal and in exactly the same condition as they were when turned over to this paper by Gentry, February and others. Continue Reading →

Eyewitness to Phagan Slaying Sought

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, June 10th, 1913

Story That Companion of Conley Saw Him Strike Down Girl Opens New Clews.

Jim Conley, whose sensational story has made him an accessory after the fact in the murder of Mary Phagan, is sticking closely to the details he unfolded in his remarkable affidavit, according to his attorney, William M. Smith.

Mr. Smith said Tuesday morning that Conley has varied in no essential particular from the original tale of his part in the disposal of the body of the strangled girl, under the direction of Leo Frank. To Mr. Smith and others who have interviewed the negro in the last few days he has begun at the moment when he says he saw the little form lying limp and inert at the rear of the second floor, until he declares he wrote the mysterious notes at Frank’s dictation in the National Pencil factory office.

In all his story there has been practically no conflict or contradiction with the affidavit to which he swore before the detectives after a half day’s grilling. Mr. Smith said he believed his client was telling the whole truth.

Actual Witness Sought.

Despite the unshakable story of Conley, as he told it after making previous statements admittedly lies, a rumor has been in persistent circulation since last week that the detectives were seeking an actual witness to the crime. It is said such a person exists, and that he is a negro who shot craps with Conley in the basement of the factory on the day of the murder. Continue Reading →

Defense to Make Next Move in Phagan Case

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Monday, June 9th, 1913

Apparently Prosecuting Officials Consider Their Investigation Complete

Chief of Detectives Lanford has announced that Jim Conley, the negro sweeper, who is the state’s principal witness in the case against Leo M. Frank, indicted for the murder of Mary Phagan, will not be cross-examined again unless he voluntarily sends for the officers to make a statement.

It is known that no developments have changed the theory of the prosecuting authorities, and it is apparent from the remark of Chief Lanford and other statements that the officials consider the investigation of the Phagan murder as complete, and are now waiting for the big legal fight to be staged before Judge L. S. Roan probably on Monday, June 30.

With the state “resting on its oars,” it is naturally expected that the next move, if there is to be one, will come from the defense of Mr. Frank.

To forecast any “move” which may be made by the defense before the case actually comes before the court, is a difficult proposition since Luther Z. Rosser, the leading counsel, continues silent.

It is known that friends of the accused man have been actively at work in his behalf, but what they have developed remains a matter for conjectures.

Frank spent a quiet day in the tower Sunday and was visited by his wife and quite a number of the friends, who are standing by him in his trouble.

R. P. Barrett, one of the foreman at the National Pencil factory, and the man who found the strands of hair on the lathe in the metal room, has issued a statement giving his reason for sharing the opinion of practically all of the pencil factory employees, that the negro Conley is guilty of the crime with which the factory superintendent is charged.

* * *

Atlanta Journal, June 9th 1913, “Defense to Make Next Move in Phagan Case,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Foreman Tells Why He Holds Conley Guilty

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, June 9th, 1913

R. P. Barrett, in Letter to Georgian, Gives Reasons for Suspecting Negro of Crime.

R. P. Barrett, foreman of the metal department at the National Pencil Factory, in a letter to The Georgian Monday, gives his reasons for believing that Jim Conley, negro sweeper at the plant, attacked and strangled Mary Phagan.

It was Barrett who found the strands of hair on the lathing machine in his department. This is supposed to be where the girl was thrown against the machine in her struggles.

Later Barrett testified positively that the blood stains in the second floor were not there before the crime. He is certain that the girl was attacked on the second floor and just as certain that Conley, not Frank was the slayer.

The letter reads: Continue Reading →

Scathing Replies Made to Letters Attacking Them

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Sunday, June 8th, 1913

Colyar Addresses Felder as “Dictograph Tommy” and “My Dear Co-conspirator in Crime”

SEND HIM TO CREMATORY, SAYS DETECTIVE CHIEF

J. R. Gray Said: “I Have No Comment to Make—Mr. Felder’s Controversy Is With A. S. Colyar”

Replying to the open letters of Thomas B. Felder, attacking them, A. S. Colyar and Chief of Detectives N. A. Lanford last night gave to The Journal statements, denouncing Mr. Felder in unmeasured terms. Chief of Police James L. Beavers, who was also the subject of attack, was out of the city and, therefore, could not be given the opportunity to reply.

James R. Gray, when shown Mr. Felder’s communication, addressed to him, said:

“I have no comment to make on Mr. Felder’s letter. His controversy is with A. S. Colyar. I suppose Mr. Colyar will wish to reply.”

The statements of A. S. Colyar and Chief Lanford follow below in full:

COLYAR’S REPLY.

T. B. Felder Esq., alias Dictograph Tommy.

Sir: As you let last Sunday go by without attempting to prostitute the Sunday press with some more of your hot air and denials, I had thought that perhaps some good friend of yours had given you a hint that even a braying ass can sometimes kill himself and that you had probably decided to withdraw from it newspaper controversy. In my last letter that I wrote to you I offered you what I have been told by many good citizens was a fair proposition, viz: To let fiver honorable gentlemen decide who had lied in the controversy at issue, and you declined to accept the proposition. I will make you a second proposition: I do not know a single member of the honorable supreme court of Georgia, but I am willing to let the chief justice of that honorable court appoint a committee of five honorable citizens, non-residents of the city of Atlanta, and let this committee decide whether you are guilty of unprofessional conduct and a violator of the criminal laws of Georgia, by offering a bribe of $1,000 to G. C. Febuary to steal the papers for you out of the safe, in the Phagan case, and I will only have one request to make of the honorable chief justice when he appoints the committee, and that is that he appoint men in no way connected with the whisky interests and the immoral classes, among whom you have so many clients. I was satisfied when I made you the last proposition that you would not accept it, although I made it in good faith, and I repeat, that you may eliminate me entirely as a witness before the committee, and I have the witnesses of unimpeachable character that will brand you before this committee as a bribe giver, a lobbyist and a grafter. I believe that the people of this fair city are familiar with your record, as it was exposed from the pulpit by the Rev. Len G. Broughton in the Baptist Tabernacle in this city, who publicly denounced you as a lobbyist and a grafter. I have read your letter written this afternoon and addressed to the Hon. James R. Gray, editor and proprietor of The Journal. The clear purpose of that letter is a scurrilous attack upon me, although you have addressed Mr. Gray. I am no saint as I have told you before; I have done wrong in my youth had strayed far away from the teachings and training of a Christian mother and a refined home, and when I first met you I was trying to lead an honorable life, although I was down, and had you had as tenth of the instinct of the gentleman in you that James R. Gray has, you would have tried to help me along life’s pathway in an honorable way and not heed me to go to South Carolina to help you and your co-conspirators frame up against Governor Blease.

HAS THE RECORDS.

I have records in my possession that will show that a certain stool pigeon of yours furnished the money that you sent to me in South Carolina, because you did not have the moral courage to do it yourself. Even though you have stated in me of your first articles that knowing my character that you refused to hire me to go to South Carolina for you—to refresh your memory didn’t you and one of your detectives to Charleston, S. C., with a letter of introduction to me, signed by you, written on the letter head of your then law firm, “Anderson, Felder, Rountree & Wilson?” And furthermore, when I left South Carolina on the 5th day of July, 1911, I drew a draft on your friend for $30, which was endorsed by Rev. B. Lacy Hoge, pastor of the First Baptist church of Charleston, S. C., and after you were through with me, your friend protested this draft and sent it back with the statement that I had no authority to draw the same, although I had drawn, by authority, several hundred dollars’ worth of similar drafts, which Dr. Hoge had cashed, and is it not a matter of fact, that several weeks later the Rev. Dr. Hoge visited Atlanta from South Carolina and threatened to expose you and your friend if you didn’t pay this draft and didn’t you have it paid? Continue Reading →

Felder Makes Answer to Dictagraph Episode

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, June 8th, 1913

Well-Known Attorney Writes Four Cards Covering All the Phases of Situation and Answering All Charges.

DICTAGRAPH TRAP JUST “FRAME-UP,” HE SAYS

Col. Felder Asserts George Gentry, Who Took Down the Stenographic Notes, Will Return and Expose the Deal.

Colonel Thomas B. Felder has written four cards—to Chief of Detectives Newport Lanford, Chief of Police Beavers, James R. Gray, editor of The Journal, and Foster Coates, manager of The Georgian—all bearing on the late pictograph incident which was published in the three papers of Atlanta. He states the whole thing was a “frame-up” from beginning to end and says he will produce proofs of his statements. He says Gentry, who took down the stenographic notes, will return to Atlanta and tell the truth about the whole deal.

In his card to Newport Lanford, Colonel Felder brands him as a crook and applies to him various epithets.

The letters follow:

Apologizes to The Public.

[The letters to Newport Lanford, James Beavers and James Gray have been published on this website previously from the Atlanta Journal. Below is the continuation of this article with the letter to Foster Coates, newly published — Ed.]

Letter to Mr. Coates.

Atlanta, Ga., June 7, 1913.—Mr. Foster Coates, Manager of The Georgian, Atlanta, Ga.—Dear Sir: My acquaintance with you is very limited. It covers a period of but a few months, and, as I now recall, I have never conversed with you on more than half a dozen occasions. I have no claims upon you, either personally or professionally, except the claim that one gentleman has upon another—to decent and fair treatment. This has been accorded me by the newspaper whose policies you control and direct in Atlanta. Continue Reading →

Three Open Letters Given Out Saturday by Thos. B. Felder

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Sunday, June 8th, 1913

In One of These Letters He Reopens His Controversy With A. S. Colyar About the Dictograph Episode

SAYS LANFORD CONSPIRED TO TAKE HIM TO S. C.

He Also Makes Another Personal Attack Upon Detective Chief—Declares Beavers Is Unfitted for His Office

Thomas B. Felder, the attorney who was dictographed by the city detectives, Saturday afternoon gave out open letters addressed to James R. Gray, editor of The Journal, Chief of Police James L. Beavers, and Chief of Detectives Newport A. Lanford. These letters purported to be an exposure of what Mr. Felder has characterized as the dictograph frame up. The letter addressed to James R. Gray is largely an attack upon A. S. Colyar, the man who assisted the city detectives in dictographing Mr. Felder. In the letter to Chief Beavers, Mr. Felder declares that he has never charged the chief with being corrupt, but states that he regards him as unfitted for the office of chief of police. In the letter to Chief of Detectives Lanford, Mr. Felder again attacks that official’s character and charges that he is in a conspiracy with Governor Cole Blease, of South Carolina, to kidnap Felder and carry him across the state line.

The communications as given out by Mr. Felder follow in full: Continue Reading →

Fair Play Alone Can Find Truth in Phagan Puzzle, Declares Old Reporter

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, June 8th, 1913

Average Atlantan Believes Frank is Guilty, but That Little Real Evidence Has Yet Pointed to Him as Slayer.

Stirring Defense by Wife and Attack on Solicitor Dorsey Are Two Striking Features of Week’s Progress in Case.

by AN OLD POLICE REPORTER.

I have thought a good deal during the past week about a fine young newspaper man I used to know some fifteen years ago, and particularly of the last thing he said to me before he died.

He was a Georgian, too. We had been college mates and fraternity mates, and all that sort of thing.

After we graduated, he plunged into newspaper work, and I studied law. I practiced—to a limited extent—that honorable profession for some four years, but abandoned it eventually for newspaper work, and when I plunged in also, I asked him how about it.

This is what he said: “There is only one thing about it. Work fast, get your facts straight, beat ‘em if you can—but don’t go off half-cocked. Don’t get yourself where you have to take back things—but don’t be afraid to take ‘em back, if necessary—and be fair. The Golden Rule is, ‘BE FAIR!’ Unless you are fair, you will not respect yourself, and nobody else will respect you!”

Phagan Case Shows People Are Fair.

I find that most people ARE fair. I believe there is in the hearts of nine people in every ten one meets a desire to see his fellow-man get “a square deal.” And I believe it more nowadays than I ever believed it before, for the progress of the Phagan investigation has reaffirmed my faith in my fellow-man.

The Atlanta Georgian was the first newspaper to give pause to the riot of passion, misunderstanding, misinformation and rank prejudice primarily set in motion by the slaying of little Mary Phagan. Continue Reading →

Defense Bends Efforts to Prove Conley Slayer

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Saturday, June 7th, 1913

The defense of Leo Frank against the charge of murdering Mary Phagan will be more than a mere attempt to clear Frank’s skirts. It will seek directly to fix upon James Conley, negro, full and complete responsibility for the crime.

Despite the secretiveness and the silence of Frank’s attorneys, it has been ascertained with a reasonable degree of authority that the foregoing is the program of the defense, and that the defense believes itself abundantly prepared to take care of itself along that line.

An ironclad alibi, covering all the time cited in the Conley statement with a substantial margin of time to spare, will be set up by Frank.

In addition to this, it will be shown that Conley was in the factory at the time he himself says Frank committed the murder, and for a long time before.

The defense will try to show that Conley had ample opportunity to accomplish the murder, and that every circumstance of it shows that he did do so. Continue Reading →

Current in Effect on Day of Tragedy

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution

Saturday, June 7th, 1913

Report That Elevator in Pencil Factory Was Not Running Proves Groundless.

Following a widely-prevalent rumor that Leo Frank’s defense will strive to prove that the current was shut off from the pencil factory plant on the day Mary Phagan was slain, and that, for this reason, James Conley could not have lowered the girl’s body to the basement on the electrically-driven elevator as he claims in his confession, it was established conclusively last night that the Georgia Railway and Power company’s electric service was in effect on the tragedy day.

This statement was made to a Constitution reporter by S. Arthur Redding, general superintendent of the department of electricity of the local power concern. Mr. Redding investigated his reports of the murder date to ascertain whether or not the power was running into the pencil factory building on April 26, revealing that the service was effective.

A rumor was circulated Friday that an affidavit had been secured by the defense to the effect that the current was shut off from the entire building on the day of the murder. Luther Z. Rosser, Frank’s attorney, declared to a reporter for The Constitution that he knew nothing of such a document’s existence. He would not deny, however, that an affidavit of that nature had been obtained. He only said that word of its existence was “news to him.” Continue Reading →

Mrs. Frank Attacks Solicitor H. M. Dorsey in a New Statement

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Saturday, June 7th, 1913

Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey refused late Saturday afternoon to make reply to the reiterated accusations of Mrs. Leo M. Frank that “torture chamber” methods were made use of by the state to secure evidence from witnesses.

“I hav[e]n’t had time to read Mrs. Frank’s statement fully,” declared Mr. Dorsey, “and even though I did read it, I do not know that I would reply to it.”

Mrs. Frank’s second letter was made public Saturday morning and is as follows: Continue Reading →

Lanford Claps Lid on Detective News

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution

Saturday, June 7th, 1913

All Information in Future Must Come Through Office of the Chief.

Chief Newport Lanford yesterday morning issued a special order prohibiting the disclosing of information to newspaper reporters.

It was stated in The Constitution in its story Friday morning the investigation in the Phagan case had been seriously hampered by the publication of developments, many of which were made public in premature form. Solicitor Dorsey wrote Chief Lanford requesting him to clap on the lid.

Chief Lanford, in a talk with reporters, said that much of the publication of developments was not caused through his office, but was due to the energy and enterprise of Atlanta reporters, who, independent of detectives, managed to secure their information.

The special order is No. 6 and prohibits an attache of the detective department from giving news to reporters. The only source from which information can hereafter be gained is through the chief’s office. Chief Lanford also established an unprecedented custom Friday, when he announced that newspaper reporters could see him only a scheduled hours. This rule went into effect immediately.

* * *

Atlanta Constitution, June 7th 1913, “Lanford Claps Lid on Detective New,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

“Torture Chamber” Methods Charged in Getting Evidence

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Saturday, June 7th, 1913

In Card to The Journal, Wife of Factory Superintendent Declares Solicitor Dorsey Has Approved Third Degree

“WE ARE SUFFERING NOW, BUT WHO WILL BE NEXT?”

Her Statement in Full—Conley Will Not Be Indicted as Accessory, but if Frank is Acquitted, He Will Be Tried

Mrs. Leo M. Frank, wife of the indicted pencil factory superintendent, Saturday afternoon sent The Journal a second statement in which she renews her charge that Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey and the city detectives are obtaining evidence in the Phagan murder case by torturing witnesses into giving testimony.

Mrs. Frank’s statement is given out in reply to one issued Thursday afternoon by the solicitor. She declares that her negro cook, Minola McKnight, was arrested in violation of the criminal laws, because there was no charge against her and she was suspected of no crime.

“I do not wish to be in any manner bitter towards Mr. Dorsey, even in my feelings,” declares Mr[s]. Frank, “because it is [m]os[t] perfectly clear that his action is dictated by a serious mistake of judgment, and my only purpose is to let the community understand as thoroughly as I can, in the interest of fairness to my innocent husband, that Mr. Dorsey is proposing to use third degree torture chamber testimony in an effort to take his life and that he thinks it is perfectly proper for him to do so.”

MRS. FRANK’S STATEMENT.

Following is Mrs. Frank’s statement: Continue Reading →