Blood Found by Dr. Smith on Chips and Lee’s Shirt

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 1st, 1913

Dr. Claude A. Smith, the medical expert who made microscopic examinations of the blood-spotted chips chiseled from the floor of the pencil factory and of the bloody shirt discovered in Newt Lee’s home, was next called in.

He was asked by Solicitor Dorsey:

“What is your business?”

“I am city bacteriologist and chemist.”

He was handed the chips from the pencil factory flooring.

“Did you test these chips?”

“Yes. Some detectives brought me these specimens and asked me to examine them. They were considerably dirty and stained. On one of them I found blood corpuscles.”

“Was it human blood?”
“I don’t know.”

“Did you examine the bloody shirt?”

No Appearance of Being Worn.

“Yes. I inspected the spots. In the armpits of the garment I could find no odor or evidence that it had been worn since having been laundered last. Some spots were smeared on the inside, and had not penetrated to the outside. It was not soiled around the inner part of the collar-band, and had no appearance whatever of having been worn.”

Here counsel for the defense asked to have Dr. Smith’s expression, “the shirt didn’t smell like a nigger,” ruled out. His objection was overruled.

“I know as much about ‘nigger’ smell as he does,” was Attorney Rosser’s retort.

Rosser took the witness here.

“If the shirt had had its tail crumpled up from natural position, it could have got blood on the inside, couldn’t it?”

“But, I don’t think it was that way.”

“If my shirt-tail was tuned up, I could get it soiled on the inside as well as outside, couldn’t I?”


“The shirt had the odor of blood on it when you first got it, didn’t it?”


“Then, wouldn’t the odor of blood have killed the odor of ‘nigger?’”


Witness and Counsel Tilt.

“Then, if a nigger had just put on his shirt and had taken it off in an instant, your nose would ‘get him?’”

“Have you ever smelled a negro, Mr. Rosser?”

“More than you ever smelled. I was smelling them before you were born.”

“Doctor, you say one of the chips had blood spots on it and another had none?”

“No; I could find none.”

“If there had been any blood, you’d have found it?”


“You couldn’t tell whether the blood was fresh or old?”


“How long could blood corpuscles—or whatever you call ’em—be discernible?”

“For considerable while—according altogether to circumstances.”

Solicitor Takes Witness.

Dorsey here began questioning.

“Explain to the jury, Dr. Smith, why the blood wasn’t put on the shirt-tail, as Mr. Rosser suggests.”

“A spot of blood is on the garment above the waist line, which was not tucked within the trousers.”

“Could the spot you found on the chip have come from paint?”


“What was it?”


What followed was a lengthy tilt between Dr. Smith and counsel for defense in an argument over the shirt. Following which he was called from the stand.