Superintendent Frank is Once More Put on Witness Stand

Superintendent Frank is Once More Put on Witness Stand

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

Atlanta Journal

Friday, May 9th, 1913

Leo M. Frank general superintendent of the National Pencil factory, was recalled to the stand. He was questioned regarding the elevator. The coroner wanted to know what kind of a door there is to the shaft on the office floor. The witness replied that it is a heavy door solid, that slides up and down.

“Where was the elevator on Saturday, April 26?” he was asked.

“I didn’t notice.”

“Where was it on Friday night?”

“I didn’t notice.”

“Was the door open on Saturday?”

“I didn’t notice.”

Asked whether it would not be possible for some one to fall into the elevator shaft if the door was open, he replied that there is a bar across the door.

“Where was the elevator after the murder?”

“I can only say it was at the office floor on Sunday morning,” replied the witness.

The coroner reverted to the time-clock. “What time did you take the slip out of the clock?” he asked.

“I took it out, marked the time on it, and handed it to an officer,” replied the witness.

“What officers?”

“I don’t remember.”

Regarding the guests who, his mother-in-law and father-in-law testified, called at their home Saturday evening, the coroner asked him next.

“Do you remember a party at your home on the night of the murder?”


“Why didn’t you tell about it when you were on the stand before?”

“I wasn’t asked.”

“We asked you about whom you saw. Now can you tell us who was there?”

Mr. Frank named them, corroborating what his father-in-law and mother-in-law had testified as to their identity. He didn’t pay much attention to them, said Frank. He merely greeted them and continued his reading.

“Where were you sitting?”

“In the front room.”

“Didn’t the guests have to pass you when they went to the dining room from the front door?”


“When the officers came out Sunday morning to bring you down to the factory, what was said about something to drink?”

“I told my wife I wanted something warm to drink. One of the officers said that something would do me good. The implication was ‘whiskey,’ but I didn’t mean that. What I wanted was a cup of coffee.”

He was asked regarding the telephone call during the night, and repeated that he thought when he got up that he had dreamed of the telephone ringing, and that later when he was told the officers had tried to get him he concluded that the dream was real.

“Did you see the girl’s body?”

“Yes. I walked in, and they turned on the light and I looked at the body, recognizing her as the girl I had paid the day before.”

“When did you hear the name first?”

“I don’t recollect.”

“What time did you get home on Sunday?”

“I don’t remember, but I think it was about 1 o’clock.”

When he telephoned home to his wife Sunday morning he did not give her any of the details of what had happened, said he. “When you went home, did you go into details?”

“No, I merely told them what the detectives found. We didn’t discuss it very much.”

“What topic did you discuss?”

“I don’t remember.”


The witness said that Lemmie Quinn, a foreman in the factory, first told him about the visit to the factory on one of the two days that he spent at police headquarters. He said Quinn remarked: “I was there at the office Saturday.” The witness said he recalled it when Quinn mentioned about the time.

Mr. Frank could not recollect having told Quinn anything about withholding information about that point until his lawyers could pass on it. He had so many visitors, he couldn’t remember a detail like that, he said. He couldn’t remember who made the suggestion about consulting attorneys. He didn’t know whether Quinn knew (when he recalled the visit to mind) whether he had a lawyer. He didn’t remember how long he had counsel at that time.

“When did Quinn mention this visit on Saturday?”

“I don’t remember.”

“How can you lock the door into the dressing room where the blood was found?”

“I don’t know. I suppose with keys. There is a door with a lock, in the partition. A spring in the lock keeps it closed.”

“Is there any way to lock the doors and stop passage on the back stairs?”

“There are doors to the stairs, but I never heard of them being locked recently.”


The witness was asked other questions, whose purport was not evident, about these two doors and how they stood that day, and the locks on them, etc. The fact was brought out that there was only one lavatory on that floor, and Mr. Frank, answering a direct question, said he did not enter it all day to the best of his recollection.

Regarding his telephone conversation with a detective who called him early Sunday morning, Mr. Frank said he didn’t know who it was, but learned later that it was a detective. “I would like to have you come down at once,” he said he was told. He asked what had happened, and was told there had been a tragedy, and they wanted him to identify some one.

“He asked me over the phone if I knew Mary Phagan. I told him I did not. Then he asked me if I hadn’t paid off a little girl who worked in the tipping department Saturday afternoon. I said yes, and he said, ‘We’ll send out after you right away.’”

“Didn’t you say the other day that the first time you heard Mary Phagan’s name was in the automobile going down town?”


“Do you remember whether or not Harry Denham and Arthur White had any lunch with them on the fourth floor?”

“I don’t remember.”

“When you came downstairs to go out to lunch, did you lock the doors leading into the office?”

The witness did not remember. He was asked as to the disposition of the papers he had been working on. He could remember putting them under a paperweight, but could not remember whether or not he closed his desk. The only people in the building when he left there for lunch, said he, were Henry Denham and Arthur White and Mrs. White.


One of the jurors asked him if he had had any trouble that day about the “time” (pay) of one of the girls working in the factory. He said no, but that Darley had noticed a discrepancy in the time of Miss Mattie Smith and had deducted some cash from the envelope.

Another juror asked, “Did you work on the financial sheet only in the afternoon?”


He got together a few papers pertaining to it, said the witness, before he went to lunch. The last thing he did there that afternoon was to balance his cash. “Did Miss Hall (the stenographer) assist you?” “No.” He named again all the people whom he saw about the factory that day. “Do you know Mae Barrett?” asked a juror. Mr. Frank had not called that name. “I never heard of her,” answered the witness. He said she could be employed somewhere in the factory, however, without his knowing it.

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Atlanta Journal, May 9th 1913, “Superintendent Frank is Once More Put on Witness Stand,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)