Mother of Frank Takes Stand to Identify Letter Son Wrote

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 16th, 1913

The more or less listless curiosity of the courtroom spectators was scarcely aroused during the afternoon until the last witness was called who was Mrs. Rae Frank of Brooklyn, N. Y. The mother of Leo M. Frank.

Not the slightest intimation had been given that Mrs. Frank would be called to the stand and a whisper of surprise spread over the room as the leaden-eyed mother, weary with the many days through which she has patiently sat and heard every conceivable blight cast at the name of her son slowly ascended the stand.

As she held up her hand to take the oath there was a glimmer of the hope in her eyes that now she might be able to say some word which might help or at least comfort her son.

Mr. Rosser questioned her.

“Are you the mother of Leo Frank?”

“Where do you live?”
“In Brooklyn.”

“Where did you move from to Brooklyn?”
“New York city.”

“Where else have you lived?”
“In Texas.”

Frank Born in Texas.

“And Leo was born in New York?”
“No, in Texas.”

“Who is M. Frank?”
“He is my husband’s brother.”

“Where does he live?”
“In Atlanta.”

“Did you see M. Frank in New York this year?”
“Yes, I saw him April 27 and 28.”


“At the Hotel McAlpine in New York.”

At this point Rosser offered a letter which he wanted to read to Mrs. Frank but Dorsey objected. Rosser stated that he merely wanted to identify it by reading it to the witness. Dorsey stated that he was willing for Mrs. Frank to read it herself. Rosser stated that he also wanted to show by the letter the work that Frank had done on the day of the murder as the letter which was dated April 26, 1913, would do, he claimed.

Hooper objected, saying that a letter written that day would be a self service.

Letter Was Important.

Arnold replied that it was extremely urgent that the letter he read as the defense wanted to account for every moment possible of Frank’s time on the day of the murder and that the letter, whether long or short, would account for just so much time.

“Wouldn’t the letter show that without the contents being divulged?” asked Judge Roan.

Arnold argued that the contents of the letter were necessary to show the time occupied in its writing and stated further that he wanted to show by the handwriting and contents that Frank was not nervous on the day of the murder as the prosecution had set up.

Dorsey asked Judge Roan to rule that it would be improper for Rosser to read the letter and Mrs. Frank was allowed to read it to herself.

The letter is said to have been written by Leo Frank to Mr. Frank and received by the latter in New York on the Monday after the murder.

Here is the Letter.

The letter was as follows:

“Atlanta, Ga. April 6, 1913—Dear Uncle. I trust that this finds you and dear auntie well after arriving safely in New York. I hope that you found all the dear ones well in Brooklyn and I await a letter from you telling me how you found things there. Lucille and I are well.

“It is too short a time since you left for [words illegible] startling to have developed [words illegible]. The opera has Atlanta in its grip but that ends to-day. I’ve heard rumor that opera will not begin again in a hurry here. Today was Yondif here and the thin gray line of veterans, smaller each year, braved the rather chilly weather to do honor to their fallen comrades.

“Enclosed you will find last week’s report. The shipments still keep up well, though the result is not what one would wish. There is nothing here in the factory office to report. Inclosed please find the price list you desired.

“The next letter from me you should get on board ship. After that I will write to the address you gave me in Frankfurt.

“Much love to you both in which Lucille joins me. I am your affectionate nephew.

“(Signed) LEO M. FRANK.”

Knew the Handwriting.

When Mrs. Frank had concluded reading the letter, Rosser asked her:

“Do you know that handwriting?”

“Yes, it is my son’s.”

“No, have you seen the contents of the letter now?”

“Did you ever hear the contents of that letter read before?”

“In New York.”

Dorsey asked Mrs. Frank:

“You also got a telegram on the day [words illegible] and this letter read, did you not?”
“Yes. The telegram is in my possession now, but I haven’t it with me. I will bring it to you tomorrow morning.”

Dorsey held up the letter, showing that the paper was of small size while the envelope was a large long one.

“Was this little letter in this large envelope and folded this way when you saw them?”
“Yes, as well as I remember.”

Mrs. Frank was then dismissed from the stand and Rosser submitted the letter.

This was the last incident of the day.

* * *

Atlanta Constitution, August 16th 1913, “Mother of Frank Takes Stand to Identify Letter Son Wrote,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)