Mrs. Rae Frank Takes Stand in Son’s Defense

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

Atlanta Journal
August 16th, 1913

Identifies Letter Written By Frank to N. Y. Kinfolks On the Day of the Murder

By Asking Pencil Factory Forelady If She Saw Frank Talking to Mary Phagan, Solicitor Dorsey Indicates That He Has Witnesses Who May Furnish Further Sensational Testimony Along This Line

Mrs. Rae Frank, mother of Leo M. Frank, the accused factory superintendent took the stand Friday afternoon in defense of her boy and was on the stand when trial adjourns, at 5:45 o’clock until 9 o’clock Saturday. Mrs. Frank testified as to a letter which was written by her son on the day of the murder of Mary Phagan, addressed to M. Frank, the accused’s uncle, and received in New York several days later. The letter was admitted as evidence but was not read to the jury. Its contents told of the Memorial Day parade and of grand opera closing in Atlanta. A striking paragraph in the letter was the accused’s comment that nothing startling had happened in Atlanta since his uncle left.

Attorney Reuben R. Arnold, for the defense announced after court adjourned that the defense would put up about 100 more witnesses and that it would require at least two more days for it to conclude its evidence. This is taken to mean that the accused will not occupy the witness stand until possibly Wednesday.

By one question asked of Miss Mary Burton, forelady of the polishing room, Solicitor Dorsey Friday afternoon indicated that he had witnesses who would testify, if permitted, that Frank made advances to Mary Phagan, the murdered girl, two weeks before the crime. He asked the witness, “Did you ever hear that Frank got Mary Phagan in a corner two weeks prior to the murder and she was begging him to let her get away?” Miss Burton answered, “No.” If the solicitor has such witnesses he can put them on the stand and ask if they know the character of the accused and the witness can only answer as to whether it is good or bad, but if the defense asks the witnesses to give their reasons for their opinion and state a specific instance, then the alleged testimony against Frank’s character can get before the jury.

It was learned Friday afternoon that the defense probably would call practically every employe of the Pencil factory to testify to the good character of Leo M. Frank. No announcement to this effect has been made. Attorney Arnold did announce, however, that he was going to call every girl who worked on the fourth floor of the factory to answer, yes or no as to whether they had been in Frank’s office drinking beer. Mrs. E. H. Carson was the first of these witnesses and she answered emphatically, “No, certainly not.”

Leo Frank’s statement before the coroner that he had an engagement with his brother-in-law, Mr. Ursenbach, to attend the baseball game on Memorial day, the day that Mary Phagan was murdered, and telephoned to Mr. Ursenbach’s home later cancelling the engagement was corroborated Friday afternoon when Annie Hix, a negro woman servant at the Ursenbach home testified. The Hix negress declared that Frank called on the telephone and asked for Mr. Ursenbach and then Mrs. Ursenbach and that he was told that both were out and he left word that he would be unable to attend the ball game. The negress testified that she delivered the message to Mrs. Ursenbach when the latter returned home.

Ron Bauer continued on the stand under cross-examination when court resumed at 2 o’clock Friday afternoon.

“Whom have you talked to since you left the stand at noon?”
“I’ve talked to Mr. Garst, to Mr. Rosser, Mr. Arnold, Mr. Leo Gottheimer, Mr. Sig Montag.”

“How long did you talk to Mr. Rosser and Mr. Arnold?”
“Two or three minutes.”

“Where did you talk to them?”

“At Mr. Arnold’s office.”

“How did you happen to go there?”
“I drove Mr. Montag over there in his car.”

“Do you drive Mr. Montag’s car for him?”
“Yes, while he’s away I usually drive Mrs. Montag when she wants to go anywhere.”

“What did you tell Mr. Rosser and Mr. Arnold?”
“I gave them a written statement as to the Saturdays I went to the pencil factory.”

“What did that written statement contain?”
“The facts that you have questioned me about.”

“Did you tell them anything in addition to what you have told me here?”
“No, I just told them the facts.”

“Well, how about the third Saturday you went to the pencil factory?”
“Well. I went there in the afternoon, and Mr. Frank was there, and I asked him about Mr. Schiff.”

“How long did you stay?”


“I don’t remember how long I stayed.”

“Did you look at any samples of pencils?”
“I don’t remember.”

“What enables you to remember the first and second Saturdays and not remember this Saturday?”
“I just happened to remember the things that I told you about on those Saturdays.”

Questioned very closely as to his visit to the pencil factory on the fourth Saturday in January, the witness stated only that he went there, saw Mr. Frank in his usual place at work. Inquired about Schiff and did not remember how long he stayed.

“Why is it, Mr. Bauer, that you remembered before dinner the minutest details of what took place at the factory on the first and second Saturdays in January, and now since dinner you can’t remember a thing about what took place on the third and fourth Saturday?”
“I have no special reason, Mr. Dorsey. I just undertook to tell you as much as I could remember correctly about the first and second Saturdays.”

“Well, you may come down,” said Mr. Dorsey.


Harry Gottheimer, a traveling salesman for Montag Brothers, and also for the National Pencil company, who resides at the Imperial hotel, was the next witness. He said that generally he makes two trips a year for the National Pencil company, between February 1 and April and between October 11 and November.

Gottheimer testified that he saw Frank at Montag Brothers on the morning of April 26 and stated that Mr. Frank asked him to come over there that afternoon to talk to him on a business matter and that he promised to come.

Attorney Hooper objected on the ground that the statement was self-serving for Frank, but it was allowed to remain in the record.

On cross-examination by Solicitor Dorsey, the witness said that Miss Hattie Hall saw him speak to Frank and that it was some time after 10 o’clock in the morning. He denied that Frank said anything about a baseball engagement with his brother-in-law. The witness declared that the does not belong to the B’nai B’rith.

Emma Bibb, negress, chambermaid for the Schiff family, was called, and testified that about 10:30 on the morning of Memorial day some one whose voice sounded like that of a boy, called over the telephone and told her to tell Mr. Schiff that Mr. Frank wanted him to come to the office at once.


She characterized Herbert Schiff as “hard of waking,” and said that after she waked him he went back to sleep. He was called to the phone again and the same voice repeated the message. He heard the clock strike 11 as she went upstairs to wake Schiff the second time, she said.

Solicitor Dorsey cross-examined the witness. She testified that she has been working for the Schiff family for [one word illegible] years. She said that sometimes Schiff sleeps on the holidays, but he generally sleeps just till she wakes him. [one word illegible] he is “mighty hard of waking.” There was laughter when the solicitor put this question and it was answered.

“Why do you remember about this particular Thanksgiving day?”
“Because it was Memorial day,” answered the witness.

She did not remember what Schiff did on Christmas day or on other holidays about which the solicitor questioned her. The witness steadily declared, despite many questions, that she had talked to no one about what she was going to testify, except Attorney Herbert Haas. She said that Mr. Haas came out to the residence during the first week of the trial and “suspended” her to come to court, and she asked him what for, and he said simply “About the call.” He was the only person who had mentioned it to her, she said.


Annie Nix, negress, maidservant of Mrs. Ursenbach, was the next witness.

“Do you remember Memorial Day, Saturday, April 26?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Do you remember receiving a telephone message from Mr. Frank?”
“Yes, sir, about half past 1 o’clock.”

She continued to testify that Frank asked if Mr. Ursenbach was there, and when she replied no, he asked for Mrs. Ursenbach. She told him they were both out, and Frank then told her to tell Mr. Ursenbach than he, Frank, would be unable to go to the baseball game that afternoon. She said she told Frank she would give Mr. Ursenbach the message if he returned before she left, and that if he did not return she would Mrs. Ursenbach and tell her to tell him. She left before Mr. Ursenbach got home, and she left the message with Mrs. Ursenbach.

Solicitor Dorsey cross-examined the witness.

“How long have you worked at the Ursenbach home?”
“Two years.”

“What time did you leave there that Saturday evening?”

“Some time about 1 o’clock.”

“You answered the doorbell all the time Sunday, didn’t you?”
“I don’t remember.”

“Who was there Sunday?”
“Mr. Marcus and Mrs. Marcus and their son and Mr. Frank and his wife.”

“When did they come?”
“Right after breakfast. Mr. and Mrs. Frank always come about then.”

“What did Frank bring with him that morning?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t see anything.”

“You let him in, didn’t you?”
“No, sir, I didn’t let him in.”


She testified that Frank looked like he always did; that he laughed and chatted with the rest of them, and asked her for a drink of water.

“He seemed even better natured than usual, didn’t he?” asked the solicitor.

“No, sir.”

“Don’t you know he wasn’t there that morning, and that he didn’t come until after 2 o’clock?”

“No, sir, he was there that morning.”

“Didn’t you hear him mention the murder?”
“No, sir.”

“Wasn’t that what they were laughing about?”

“No, sir.”

“Do you put up Mr. Ursenbach’s clothes?”

“Yes, sir, if there’s any laying around I put ‘em up.”


“Did you see his raincoat that Saturday?”
“No, sir, I didn’t notice it.”

“Did Mr. Frank wear a raincoat there?”

“I don’t know, sir. I didn’t see it.”

“When did you know you were going to be subpoenaed to testify?”
“The Monday the trial began.”

“Whom did you tell what you going to swear to?”

“Didn’t anybody ever ask you about it, Mr. Haas, or Mr. Rosser, or Mr. Arnold or anybody?”
“No, sir.”

“Did you get on the stand and swear without telling anybody what you were going to swear to?”
“Nobody never asked me what I was going to swear.”

“You and Minola McKnight are pretty thick, aren’t you?”

“No, sir.”

“Well, you run together, don’t you?”
“No, sir, I don’t run with nobody but myself.”

“Well, you go to her house frequently, don’t you?”

“Sometimes I go to hers, and sometimes she comes up to mine.”

“How far do you live from Minola?”
“About five blocks.”


Attorney Arnold objected to the questions. Solicitor Dorsey argued their admissibility as showing interest on the part of the witness. Attorney Hooper said that it was admissible inasmuch as Judge Roan had allowed other testimony approaching this same point. Attorney Rosser retorted, “I wish we could decide these legal questions without my brother reminding your honor of something you have done already.” Judge Roan finally ordered the questions stricken.

The negress testified that she had been making $4 a week for two years, ever since she commenced working for the Ursenbachs.

“Why, you’ve been talking to Minola today, haven’t you?” demanded the solicitor. “You’ve been talking to her upstairs in the witness room, haven’t you?”
“No, sir, Minola’s not up there today.”

“Well, you spoke to her somewhere today, didn’t you?”
“Yes, sir, I saw her at Mrs. Selig’s. I ate dinner there.”

“Who else spoke to you there?”
“Well, everybody there spoke to me.”

The witness was excused.


Truman McCrary, a negro drayman, the next witness, testified that he did regular hauling for three years or more prior to May 1 for the National Pencil factory. He testified that he hauled for the factory nearly every Saturday up to 12 o’clock, the hour when the factory shut down, and sometimes on Saturday afternoons. The point of his testimony as developed by Attorney Arnold’s questioning was that he never found the front door locked on Saturday afternoons, that he never saw Jim Conley watching or guarding the front door on Saturday afternoons, that he never found Frank’s office closed on Saturday afternoons, and that he always found either Frank or Herbert Schiff or both of them at work in the office on Saturday afternoons. He testified further that he remembered going to the pencil factory on Memorial Day, in the morning about 7:30 o’clock and again just before 12 o’clock, and that he did not see Jim Conley there.

He was cross-examined at considerable length by Solicitor Dorsey, but the examination developed nothing of any consequence, except emphasizing his testimony that on Memorial Day boxes were piled high on the first floor in the front of the building. The solicitor emphasized further the negro’s testimony that he had hauled for the factory on some Saturday afternoons and not on every Saturday afternoon.

Isaac Haas, of 179 Washington street, a manufacturer, with the assistance of Attorney Arnold, put a little humor into the afternoon proceedings. Mr. Haas was called to testify as to the character of the defendant and declared it to be excellent.

Attorney Arnold then said, “It has been testified here that your phone rang Sunday morning after the tragedy. Did it wake you?”
The witness answered that it did not, but that it waked his wife, who called him and took a message.

Attorney Hooper on cross-examination asked “I understand you to say that the telephone did wake you?”
“No. It waked my wife and my wife waked me.”

“There’s a good deal of difference between your wife and the telephone, isn’t there?” asked Mr. Arnold.

“I should remark,” said Mr. Haas, as he left the stand, “A big difference in expense and severity.”


Arthur Pride, colored, was the next witness.

“Which are you, Arthur Pride or Walter Pride?”
“I’s both,” returned the witness. “Some calls me one, an’ some calls me de yuther.”

The negro testified that he had been employed at the factory five years; that from July 12 to January 1 he was in the factory every Saturday afternoon and that he stayed until 4:30 o’clock; and that his duties took him from the first floor to the roof of the building.

The negro declared that he never saw any women call there to see Frank, and that he never saw Jim Conley watching. He said he probably would have seen Conley if Conley had been there. The negro said that the employees often used the back stairs from the metal room to the third floor. He said that the elevator went smoothly, but that if the machinery stopped you could hear it on any floor in the building.

“How long have you known Jim Conley?”
“Three years.”

“What is his reputation for truth and veracity?”
The witness said he did not know what the attorney meant.

“Do you know his character—his general character?”


“Yes, sir, it’s bad,” said the negro. He continued that he would not believe Jim Conley on oath.

Attorney Hooper cross-examined the negro.

“When did you make up your mind that you wouldn’t believe Jim on oath?”
“Four months ago when him and his whole family lied. I wouldn’t believe any on ‘em.”

Answering further questions, the negro said that Jim had sold him a watch for $4.50, and that later had been arrested by the man from whom he bought it on the installment plan. On the promise of Jim and his family to pay him, he let them have the watch back so Jim would not have to go to jail. He declared he had never yet received the $4.50.

“Jim’s not a high class negro like you, is he?”
“I ain’t a high class negro, but I’m different grade from him,” replied the witness. The witness admitted that he had never heard anybody else speak ill of Jim Conley. He said he did not know where the elevator key generally is kept. He swore positively that if the machinery is not running, regardless of what else is going on in the building, the elevator is audible.

Mrs. E. H. Carson, mother of Miss Rebecca Carson and of another young woman who also works in the pencil factory, testified that she has worked in the factory for three years.

“Have you ever seen blood spots on the floor around the ladies’ room?”
“Yes, I’ve seen them.”

“On the Friday before Memorial Day were you in the factory?”
“Yes, but I left about 12:45 o’clock.”

“Were you back there Monday?”


“How long did you stay?”
“Until something after 9 o’clock.”

“Was it Monday or Tuesday that you saw Jim Conley?”
“I saw him Tuesday.”


Mrs. Carson testified she remarked to Jim, “They haven’t got you yet, I see.” She testified that on Wednesday about the same hour she repeated the observation to the negro, and that she saw him again on Thursday and made the same kind of remark. On Thursday, she said, Jim turned around and said, “I ain’t done nothing.” “You know Mr. Frank never did that,” the witness testified she said then to the negro. “And yet they’ve got him.” The negro answered “No, Mr. Frank’s just as innocent as you, and I know you is innocent.”

Mrs. Carson testified she then said to Conley, “When they find the murderer of Mary Phagan, it will be that negro who was sitting down there in the entrance.” When she made this remark, she said, Jim dropped his broom and disappeared and did not finish sweeping.

“Do you know the character of Leo M. Frank?” asked Mr. Arnold.

The witness answered yes, that it was good.

“How long have you known Conley?”
The witness did not know exactly.

“Do you know his character?”
“Just the same as any other negro.”

“What was his reputation for truth and veracity? What did people around the factory say about him?”

“Well, his character wasn’t very good.”

“Would you believe him on oath?”

“No, I wouldn’t.”


Solicitor Dorsey began the cross-examination.

“Were you working there when Mrs. Daisy Hopkins was there?” asked Mr. Dorsey.

“I don’t know.”

Mrs. Hopkins was brought in, and the witness failed to identify her. Mrs. Carson said that she and her daughters, who worked on the fourth floor, saw Frank nearly every day.

“Did you see him Monday?”

“Did you see him Tuesday?”
“Yes, I saw him on the fourth floor.”

In answer to further questions by the solicitor, the witness said Frank came up to the fourth floor between 9 and 11 o’clock and she had a conversation with him.

“What time Tuesday did you have a talk with Conley?”
“Between 9 and 11:30.”

“Then Leo M. Frank and Conley were on your floor between the same hours Tuesday morning, were they?”

“Did you see Frank when he went over to Jim and whispered to him?”
“No, sir.”

“Whom else did Frank talk to?”
“Well, my daughter.”

“What did he say?”


“I was so disturbed. I don’t know what he said, just like I am now. He said he was sorry that the little girl was killed, though, that it was a brutal murder.”

“Did anybody else about the factory tell you they were sorry the little girl was killed?”
“Yes, there were lots of them.”

“When did you see the blood spots in the dressing room?”
“Lord knows I can’t tell you!”

“How big was the biggest spot of blood you ever saw there?”
“As big as my hand.”

“What is there, now, that would cause girls to bleed in there and not on the stairway, for instance?”

“Well, it is dark on the stairs and you couldn’t see it there.”

The witness testified that she had seen blood on the machines, in the aisles, in the toilet rooms, and at various other places at various times. She referred to a little girl who once had been hurt there, and the solicitor asked her to fix the time. The witness was unable to state when it occurred, and solicitor Dorsey called on Herbert Haas for the record of the accidents at the factory. Mr. Haas did not have it. Addressing Frank’s counsel generally, the solicitor said “You promised me, gentlemen, you would have this here when I wanted it.”


Attorney Rosser spoke up. “Well, we’ve had to wait on you for papers and things like that, two or three times.”

“I made a particular request for this, and you assured me I could have it when I wanted it.”

“Let’s quit this fussing,” said Mr. Rosser. “You just quarrel like an old she-bear.”

Mr. Arnold spoke up. “Yes, let’s cut it out gentlemen. We all sound like she-bears.”

The jury went out for a short recess. When it returned the cross-examination of Mrs. Carson was resumed.


“Tell us where you ever saw blood, Mrs. Carson.”

“In the dressing room, around the machines, in the aisles, and in the ladies’ room.”

“You say the biggest spot you ever saw was as large as your hand. Now tell us where you saw that.”

“Near the garbage can on the fourth floor.”

“You had no trouble recognizing that as blood?”
“No, not that spot.”

“Well, how about the others?”
“I was always sure of it in the dressing room and in the aisles.”

“Tell us where was the dirtiest and greatest place you ever saw blood on the fourth floor.”

“Around the sink and in the ladies’ room.”

“How big were those spots?”
“Several spots as big as your finger.”

“Did you know who had been hurt?”

“No, the girls are always mashing and cutting their fingers.”

“What was the worst injury you ever heard of in the factory?”
“I believe the worst one was when a fellow named Carlisle got his arm all torn up.”

“When was that?”
“Soon after I went to the factory.”

“Did you go down to the second floor to see that blood?”
“No, I didn’t go. Several of the girls said they were going down to see it, and asked me to come on, but I told them I didn’t want to see it.”

“What time did you hear the report that blood had been found down there?”
“I don’t remember.”

“Were you there Monday morning?”


“Did you see Jim Conley Monday?”
“No, it was Tuesday morning I saw him.”

“Now it was Wednesday you say you had that conversation with Conley?”
“No, it was Thursday.” And the witness then related again the conversation.

“What time was that?”
“I don’t remember. There’s no clock on the fourth floor.”

“When was the first time you heard that Mrs. White had said she saw a negro sitting at the foot of the stairs?”
“I don’t remember.”

Attorney Arnold asked: “Mrs. Carson, we are going to put every girl on the fourth floor on the witness stand and ask them if they ever went down to Mr. Frank’s office and drank any beer, or did anything like that. Now I’m going to ask you that question.”

“No, sir; certainly not.”

“Yes, Mrs. Carson; I knew you would say that,” said Attorney Arnold. “Now you may come down.”


Miss Mary Burton, forelady of the polishing department of the pencil factory, employed in the factory five years, testified as to the good character of Frank.

Miss Burton said that on the Monday following the tragedy, early in the morning, she met Jim Conley and accused him of the murder, but that he said nothing and walked away. She said she knew Jim Conley’s reputation to be bad, and that she wouldn’t believe him on oath.

Solicitor Dorsey cross-examined the witness.

“You say you suspected Jim Conley as early as Monday, April When did you tell about it?”

“I told Mr. Rosser and Mr. Arnold.”

“Was that before or after Jim was arrested?”

The solicitor asked the witness repeatedly if she knew at the time that Lee and Gant and Frank had been arrested. She said she did.

“Why didn’t you report your suspicion of Conley then?”
“I don’t know,” said the witness.

“You knew the officials or the factory were anxious to find the murderer, didn’t you?”

“Well, give one reason why you didn’t report it.”

“I don’t know why, but I just thought it best not to.”

“What made you suspect Conley?’
“He just looked guilty.”

“Didn’t you tell anybody else about it?”
“Mrs. Denham, Mrs. Johns and Miss McCord heard me when I accused him.”

“Did you accuse Jim before or after the blood discovered?”

“It was blood, was it?”
“I wouldn’t swear it.”

The witness continued that she had seen other stains that looked like that, near the dressing room, but couldn’t say when.

“You say you spoke to Mr. Rosser and Mr. Arnold about this. Was it before Jim was arrested?”
“I don’t know.”

“Was it after the coroner’s inquest?”
“I don’t know.”

“You say you never heard Frank talked about generally?”
“He was always a perfect gentleman toward me.”

“Well, what did the other girls say about him?”

“I don’t remember anything.”

“You mean you’ve never heard him accused of any act of immorality?’

“You never heard of him watching the girls in the dressing room?”

“Nor slapping them as they went by?”

“Did you know Mary Phagan?”

“You never saw Frank talking to her?”



“You never heard of the time, two weeks before her death, that he had her in a corner, and she was begging him and trying to get away from him?”


“Come down.”

Attorney Rosser addressed the court.

“Your Honor understands that it is not necessary for me to repeat objections that have been ruled upon, every time the subject comes up.”

“Yes; there’s no use repeating objections that have been ruled on,” said the court.

Mrs. Dora Small, a machine woman on the fourth floor of the pencil factory, was the next witness. She testified that she was at home all day Memorial Day until 1:15, and then went down town. In answer to a question by Attorney Arnold, she said that she knew Conley, and she replied to another question that on Tuesday she saw him with a newspaper in hand. He worried her to buy an extra edition of the newspaper, she said; and after she had bought it, he bothered her until she gave it to him. She testified later that later she saw him sitting on a box near the elevator reading it and others.

“How was his coat buttoned?” asked Attorney Arnold.

“He had on a Norfolk coat, and it was buttoned up tight, and up at his neck he had a pin in it. Before that he always wore his coat loose with the belt string hanging down.”

“Did you see whether he wore a shirt or not?”

The witness replied that on Tuesday morning she talked with the negro, and he remarked to her, “Mr. Frank’s as innocent as you are,” and added, “God knows I wosn’t near the factory that day.”

“Did he tell you how near the factory he was?” asked Mr. Arnold.

“No, sir.”

“Did you see Frank talking to this negro Conley on Tuesday?”

“No, sir; nor on any other day.”

“How long have you known Frank?”

“Five years.”

In answer to other questions she said his general character is good. “I never met a more thorough gentleman in my life,” she added.

“I am going to ask you a question that we are going to ask all the women on the fourth floor,” said Attorney Arnold. “Have you ever been down in Frank’s office after hours?”
“No, sir.”


He asked the usual character questions then about Conley. In answer to the question as to whether she would believe Conley on oath, Mrs. Small replied: “I don’t know a negro on earth that I’d believe on oath, or any other way.”

Solicitor Dorsey cross-examined the witness. “Would you believe Snowball?” he asked.

“No, I wouldn’t believe any negro.”

“Then you wouldn’t believe Newt Lee, or Pride, or anybody else who’s skin is black? They’re all on the same plane, are they?”

“Do you know Mrs. Daisy Hopkins?”
“No; I do not.”

“You say you’ve never been around there on holidays or Saturday afternoons?”
“Yes, sir, I say that!”

“What is your salary now?”
“$6.50 a week.”

“How long have you been getting that?”
“About four months. I got a 50 cent raise.”

“Then you must have gotten it since the murder?”

“No, it was before the murder.”

“Did you see Mrs. Carson on the fourth floor on Tuesday, April 29?”
“Yes, I see her every day in the year.”

“Was she at work?”

“On Wednesday, did she talk to Conley?”
“Not that I saw.”

Mrs. Small testified that she had seen Conley also every day until his arrest.

Conley also every day until his arrest. She said she had seen Frank talking to Miss Rebecca Carson about 9 o’clock on Tuesday morning, and that he later had O. K’d a ticket for her.

“Where was Conley when Frank was talking to Miss Carson?”

“He was standing near the elevator.”

“When Frank finished talking with Miss Carson, how far toward the elevator did she go with him?”
“She went and got a drink.”

Mrs. Small testified that she didn’t see Frank go toward Conley, and she said that he afterwards came down to the back of the fourth floor, where she was working. She swore that she had not seen Frank when he came up the stairs.


“Was Conley working when Frank came up?”

“He had a trash truck.”

“How many extras did you buy on Tuesday?”

“I bought four before noon.”

“How much does the elevator shake the building when it is running?”

“Anybody can notice it if the machinery is not running.”

“What did you do yesterday afternoon?”
“I worked.”

“How late?”
“Till about 5:20.”

“When did you last consult with the attorneys in this case?”
“I don’t know.”

“Can’t you remember how long?”
“No; I don’t remember the date.”

“How many consultations did you have with them?”

“Didn’t they take a written statement from you yesterday?”
“Yesterday? Why, no.”


“You saw Jim Conley every day at the pencil factory, which was a usual occurrence; and you’ve held only one consultation with the lawyers in this murder case, which was an unusual occurrence. You can remember everything Jim did on a given date and yet you can’t remember even approximately when you consulted with the lawyers. Now why is that?”

“Why, I just don’t remember the date. That’s all.”

“Were you at the factory when Mr. Parrott held a conference with the employees?”


“Who was there?”

“Why, all the hands in the factory.”

“Did you ever go back into the metal room on the second floor?”
“Yes, one day a crowd of us went down there to look at the blood spots.”

“Was Mrs. Carson in the crowd?”

“Are you sure she was in the crowd?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”

“Who else was in the crowd?”
“Why I remember Mrs. Thompson was one of them.”

“What did you see?”
“We didn’t see anything except where the floor had been chipped up, and we saw some white spots that looked like talcum powder where the girls had been powdering their faces.”

“Did you see anything dark under the white spots?”
“No, sir.”

“What makes you say Mrs. Carson went down there?”

“Why, they went back in the back end of the machine room where she worked on the fourth floor, and got her.”

“Don’t you know she didn’t go down there with the crowd?”
“I know she did!”

“Don’t you know she refused to go down there?”
“No, sir, she did not!”

This concluded the cross-examination, and as Mrs. Small gave her final answer there was suppressed laughter in the back of the court.


Miss Julia Fuss, 17 years old, who works on the fourth floor of the pencil factory, was the next witness. Mr. Arnold asked her the usual question as to whether she had ever had been down in Frank’s office for drinks or after work hours, the witness answering “No, sir.” She testified as to Frank’s character, terming it very good.

In answer to questions by Attorney Arnold, she testified that she knew Jim Conley and that she had a talk with him on Tuesday after the murder and on Wednesday after the murder.

She testified that he was sweeping on the fourth floor Tuesday morning, and that on the table beside her machine she had an extra edition of one of the newspapers.

Jim Conley asked her for the paper, she said, and as he read it “he kind of grinned.” On Wednesday morning, she testified, he came by her machine and asked her if the papers had come yet and she told him they had not.

She testified that she asked Jim what he thought of the case and he said he didn’t know what to think of it. She testified that she then asked Jim if he thought Mr. Frank committed the murder, and Jim answered: “No, ma’am; Mr. Frank’s as innocent as the angels in heaven.”

She swore that Conley’s reputation is bad and that she would not believe him on oath.


Solicitor Dorsey cross-examined the witness.

Miss Fuss said that on Tuesday after the murder she went to the second floor, curious to see the blood spots where Mary Phagan was supposed to have been killed. It was a dark spot, she said, red like blood.

“In your best opinion, what was it?”

“Paint,” said the witness.

“How long after the murder did the defense ask you about Frank’s general character?”

“About a week.”

“Did they ask you if you had heard anything against him or if you knew anything [a]gainst him?”

“They asked me if I knew anything against him.”

“Well, have you ever heard anything against him?”
“No, they generally—no, they always spoke good of him.”

“Why was it that you first said ‘generally’ and then said ‘always?’”

“I just made a mistake.”

“Aha!” said the solicitor. “You just made a mistake and caught yourself right quick.”

“I object to that,” said Mr. Rosser. “He insults every woman that comes on this stand.”

Mr. Arnold echoed Mr. Rosser’s objection, and then asked the court to declare the remark improper. Judge Roan ruled that the attorney could ask the witness if she had caught herself in a mistake.


“You never heard of any familiarity of Frank’s with any of the girls, or boys?”

“When was it Jim got the papers from you?”
“On Tuesday and Wednesday after the murder.”

“Did Jim seem nervous then?”
“He always seemed to be nervous or half drunk.”

“Did he arouse your suspicion?”
“Not until he began to read the papers, and grin and comment.”

“Did he ever say anything against Frank?”

“He always stood up to Frank and wouldn’t give him away, would he?”
Attorney Rosser objected to “wouldn’t give him away,” declaring it was a “dirty suggestion.” Judge Roan ruled it out.

“What did he say about Frank?”
“He said he was as innocent as the angels in heaven.”

Solicitor Dorsey brought out from the witness a statement that Frank came to the fourth floor twice on Tuesday morning within a period of 15 minutes, but she declared that he did not talk to Conley either time; that he just came to see if everything was getting on all right.

The witness was excused, and Fred Hellbren was called. He lives at 373 Washington street, and is a clothier. He testified to Frank’s character, terming it good.


Attorney Rosser asked Mrs. Rae Frank, mother of the defendant, to take the witness stand.

“You are the mother of the defendant.”


“Where do you live?”
“Brooklyn, N. Y.”

“How long have you been there?”
“36 years.”

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

“Then you’ve lived in only those two cities?”
“No. I lived three years in Texas, from 1881 to 1884 inclusive.”

“Your son here was born in Brooklyn?”
“No, he was born in Texas.”

“What relation are you to Mr. M. Frank?”
“He is my husband’s brother.”

“Where does he live?”
“Here in Atlanta.”

“Have you seen Mr. M. Frank this year?”
“Yes, I saw him on Sunday, April 27, and Monday, April 28.”

“At the McAlpin hotel, New York.”

“Where is that located?”
“Thirty-second street and Broadway.”


Mr. Rosser took up a letter and started to read it to the witness. Solicitor Dorsey objected. Attorney Rosser said: “We are dealing with what Frank did on April 26, and I went to show this letter, dated April 26, was mailed here, delivered to his uncle in New York, and read there in the presence of this lady.”

Attorney Hooper took the floor, declearing [sic] that the letter was immaterial, that anything in it could be no more than self-serving declaration, and that it was inadmissible.

Mr. Arnold argued, “It’s very important to account for time in this case. The hour from 12 to 1 is very important. We want to show that he wrote this between those hours. We want to show as clearly as possible what he did with every little fragment of time on that day. Suppose he went to a baseball game. That would be admissible to show how his time was spent. As he wrote a letter, we want to show that he took up that much time. It’s small, but important.”

“It might be admissible to show time spent, but the state objects to the contents of the letter,” said Judge Roan.


“Well, the contents are the only thing to show the length of time it took to write it,” said Mr. Arnold.

The letter finally was admitted in evidence, without being read to the jury.

Answering questions by Attorney Rosser, Mrs. Frank identified the handwriting as that of her son, as well as the handwriting on the envelope. She heard the contents before when her sister-in-law read it to her brother-in-law in a New York hotel. Mrs. Frank volunteered the information that one word in it needed explanation. That was “yondef” which is pure Hebrew for holiday, she said.

In cross examination, solicitor Dorsey asked her if she did not also see a telegram sent by her son on that same day. She replied,

“Yes, I have it in my possession, but not with me at the present time.

“I’ll give it to you tomorrow morning.”

Taking up the letter, Mr. Dorsey asked “was this folded exactly as it is now?”
“To the best of my recollection.”

“Do you know what time of day you read it?”
“I don’t know the precise time. It was between 10 and 10:30 o’clock.”

Mr. Rosser tendered the letter in evidence and it was admitted. Mrs. Frank was excused from the stand. Court then adjourned at 5:45 until Saturday morning.


Here is the letter:

“Atlanta, Ga., April 26, 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. Lucile and I are well.

“It is too short a time since you left for anything starting to have developed down here. The opera has Atlanta in its grip, but that ends today. I have heard a rumor that opera will not be given again in a hurry here.

“Today was yondef here, and the thin gray lines of veterans, smaller each year, braved the chilly weather to do honor to their fallen comrades.

“Inclosed 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 new in the factory, etc., 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 Frankfort.

“Much love to you both, in which Lucile joins me.

“I am your affectionate nephew,

(Signed) “LEO M. FRANK.”

* * *

Atlanta Journal, August 16th 1913, “Mrs. Rae Frank Takes Stand in Son’s Defense,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)