State Fights Frank’s Alibi

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 14th, 1913

CONLEY ADMITTED MIND WAS BLANK DAY OF CRIME, GIRL SAYS

NEGRO DRUNK DAY OF CRIME, MISS CARSON SWEARS HE TOLD HER

Miss Helen Curran, a pretty girl of 17 years, proved one of the strongest witnesses Thursday for the defense in establishing what will be claimed as an alibi for Leo M. Frank. She testified that she saw Frank at 1:10 o’clock the afternoon Mary Phagan was murdered standing by Jacobs’ Drug Store, Whitehall and Alabama streets, apparently waiting for his car home.

The State fought hard against the “alibi” witnesses.

The defense devoted most of the forenoon session to producing persons who had seen Frank on the day of the tragedy. Miss Curran was probably the most important as she was the only one who professed to have seen Frank immediately after the time he has stated he left the factory.

Others were called who saw him as he arrived home at about 1:20 o’clock, or as he was on his way back to the factory later in the afternoon. It was the purpose of Frank’s lawyers, so far as they could, to account for every minute of his time during the day.

Appreciating that the case of the State against the defendant was hit by Miss Curran’s story, Attorney Frank A. Hooper made a determined effort to confuse or break down the young witness, but failed to shake her in the least.

The significance of the girl’s testimony is apparent in the light of Jim Conley’s story. The negro said he and Frank started to dispose of Mary Phagan’s body at 12:56. Allowing two minutes for Frank to get from the factory to Whitehall and Alabama streets, he would have had to leave the building at 1:08. This would have left but 12 minutes for the two to dispose of the body and do everything else the negro mentioned.

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Steel Workers Enthralled by Leo Frank Trial

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 14th, 1913

There is one class of men to whom death is supposed to hold no horrors. They can not think of it and earn their daily bread. Were the fear of loss of life to enter their brain for one single second during their daily task, they would be as useless as a motorless automobile.

Their pay is high for scorning the grave. They can see one of their companions fall victim to the perils of their calling and go back to work on the same job a few minutes later without a tremor, and encounter those same dangers with footstep firm and their minds only on the work they have to do.

These men are the structural steel workers. They are as picturesque a class as the struggle for dollars has developed. The fascination of their calling is universal. No man can pass the place where a building is slowly reaching its way into the clouds without standing in an awe-struck trance watching these men scamper around between heaven and earth as though they were walking about a place as safe as the quiet walk under the shade trees of Grant Park.

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State’s Sole Aim is to Convict, Defense’s to Clear in Modern Trial

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 14th, 1913

By O. B. KEELER.

Right in the first jump, please understand that (1) this is merely the opinion of a layman, unlearned in the law; that (2) he may be the only layman in existence who feels this way about it; and (3) the Frank trial is not being singled out in the following comment, except as it is a fair example of the great criminal trials of this country.

In following the trial of Leo Frank, two points keep prodding me with increasing fervor.

These are the points:

(1) That the prosecution’s efforts are centered on producing evidence that will convict Leo Frank.

(2) That the efforts of the defense are devoted to producing evidence that will acquit Leo Frank.

Now, having read thus far, you probably are smiling to yourself at the idea that anybody should undertake to write a newspaper story about a great trial, basing it on such an absurdly simple and obvious observation.

State’s Evidence All Damaging.

That (you say) is something every body knows.

That (you say) is taken for granted.

Nevertheless (I say) that doesn’t make it right.

I sat in Judge Roan’s courtroom, right at the edge of the jury box, and I heard the State present its case.

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Defense Slips Load by Putting up Character of Leo Frank as Issue

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 14th, 1913

By JAMES B. NEVIN.

The defense in the Frank case did the expected thing when it boldly and unequivocally put Frank’s character in issue.

It indicated its confidence in the justice of the defendant’s cause in doing that, and it met thus a crisis that it hardly could have successfully overcome otherwise, if it so happen that it does overcome it eventually.

Having taken the initiative in the matter of thrashing out Frank’s character, the State will now be forced to make out an unmistakable case of bad character against Frank, or it is likely that the State’s injection of the sinister charge against him, in addition to the charge of murder, may operate as a boomerang to the State’s great hurt finally.

It is not to be wondered at that the defendant’s mother, tried and racked in spirit and pride as she surely must have been, should have let her feelings overcome her for an instant during the course of Wednesday afternoon’s hearing. I do not suppose it is even remotely possible for any person not a mother to understand all she has gone through.

Her vehement protest against the vile things being said and hinted about her boy—true or untrue, though such things always are untrue in mother love, I take it—serves to illustrate, however, how very vital to the defense now is the establishing of Frank’s good character.

I doubt that anything thus far said to the jury has so profoundly impressed it as the unspeakable thing Conley said of the defendant. The jury is only human, and it can no more dodge impressions than other people can.

Impression Must Be Erased.

The defense is up against the herculean task of removing all of that impression from the mind of the jury—the twelve minds of the jury, indeed—for it will not do to leave even a fraction of Conley’s story undemolished!

Manifestly, therefore, the defense could not, if it would get away altogether from the matter of Frank’s character. It found itself necessarily forced to the other extreme of the situation set up by the State.

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State Wants Wife and Mother Excluded

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 14th, 1913

Call New Witnesses to Complete Alibi

WIFE AND MOTHER OF ACCUSED ARE WARNED AGAINST OUTBREAKS

Nearly a score more of alibi witnesses were to be called by the defense in the Frank trial when court opened Thursday morning. Frank’s attorneys thought that they would not be able to coincide before the early part of next week.

A number of character witnesses also will be called before the defense ends its case in behalf of the factory superintendent.

Solicitor Dorsey, before the jury was brought in, said he wanted to make a request that the mother and wife of Leo M. Frank be excluded from the court as the witnesses have been because of the outbreak of the elder Mrs. Frank Wednesday afternoon.

“I appreciate the feeling of the wife and mother,” he said, “it is a terrible strain on them. I am sorry for them. But I must have protection and I think they should be excluded when we are subjected to outbreaks like that of yesterday.”

Attorney Reuben in reply said:

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State Calls More Witnesses; Defense Builds Up an Alibi

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 13th, 1913

In anticipation of the close of the defense’s case, the State Tuesday afternoon subpenaed a number of new witnesses to be called in the event that Frank’s character was put in issue. It was said that Solicitor Dorsey had prepared against this move by the defense by getting affidavits from many persons who claimed to know the defendant.

An effort by the State to obtain testimony reflecting on the morality of Frank was resisted strongly by the superintendent’s attorneys Tuesday. Solicitor Dorsey failed to get the answers he desired from the witness, Philip Chambers, a 15-year-old office boy, but Attorney Arnold moved that all of the testimony bearing on this matter be ruled out, although the boy had testified favorably to Frank.

The lawyer threatened that he would move for a mistrial if any further effort were made to introduce testimony of the sort which he branded as irrelevant and immaterial, as well as being defamatory, slanderous and highly prejudicial. He was sustained in his objection.

Alibi Being Established.

The defense had progressed considerably in establishing what it proposes to make an iron-clad alibi for Frank on the day of the murder when court adjourned Tuesday.

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Both Sides Aim for Justice in the Trial of Frank

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 13th, 1913

With Judge, Jury and Councillors Performing Duty Well, Square Deal Is Assured.

By Jas B. Nevin.

In considering the Frank trial, particularly with respect to the length of it, and the thoroughgoing exhaustiveness of the hearing, it must be borne in mind that the establishing of justice is the main object of both sides, and that, therefore, patience and poise are absolutely necessary in those who would be fair—fair not only to Frank, but to the State also.

With the average citizen, the home-loving and upright citizen, the Frank trial should be largely an abstract proposition.

As Frank Hooper himself has said, State’s counsel that he is:

“It is not so much a question of convicting Leo Frank, as it is a question of convicting the murderer of Mary Phagan.”

The Solicitor General, Hugh M. Dorsey, is entitled to full and complete praise for the careful and painstaking labor he has put into the case.

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Frank’s Mother Stirs Courtroom

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 13th, 1913

Leaps to Defense of Son at Dorsey’s Question

FRANK’S CLASSMATES AT COLLEGE TELL OF HIS GOOD CHARACTER

A sensation was created in the courtroom during the cross-examination of Ashley Jones by Solicitor Dorsey at the Frank trial when Mrs. Rea [sic] Frank, mother of the defendant, sprang to her feet with a denial of intimations made by the Solicitor reflecting on her son.

“Mr. Jones, you never heard of Frank having girls on his lap in the office?” Dorsey had asked.

“No; nor you neither!” cried Frank’s mother.

“Keep quiet, keep quiet; I am afraid you will have to sit here and listen to this a long time,” said the Solicitor.

Mrs. Frank broke into tears and was assisted from the room, crying: “My God, my God!”

Mother and Wife Set With Bowed Heads.

The Solicitor’s examination of Jones had been of a most sensational nature and during the portion of it leading up to the interruption by Mrs. Frank the mother of the defendant and her daughter sat with lowered heads listening to the questions and answers.

Following the outbreak, Attorney Arnold jumped to his feet and shouted: “Your honor, this is outrageous. We are not responsible for the lies and slanders that cracked-brain extremists have circulated since this murder occurred.”

“I will rule that the Solicitor can not ask anything that he has heard since the murder,” replied Judge Roan. “He can ask on this cross-examination what happened before.”

“Your honor,” returned Solicitor Dorsey, “I am not four-flushing about this. I am going to present a witness to prove the charges.

Attorney Arnold interrupted the speaker.

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People’s Cry for Justice Is Proof Sentiment Still Lives

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 12th, 1913

By L. F. WOODRUFF.

There is as much sentiment in the world to-day as there was in 1861 or 1776 or 1492 or 1066 or any other date that may come to your recollection.

It’s not fashionable to say so, but it’s true. People to-day are too prone to accuse themselves and their neighbors of being worshippers Mammom and declaring that the money-grubbing instinct has crushed out sentiment, patriotism and honesty.

But right now in Atlanta, there is a striking example of the goodness that is man’s to-day, just as much as it has ever been.

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Attacks on Dr. Harris Give Defense Good Day

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 12th, 1913

The defense had what was probably its best day on Monday. Medical experts were on the witness stand the larger part of the day. The purpose of their testimony was to knock down, one after another, the sensational statements of Dr. H. F. Harris, secretary of the State Board of Health. All of the witnesses joined in ridiculing every important theory or conclusion that was reached by the distinguished chemist and physician.

Experts for Defense.

These are the medical experts called by the defense to combat the testimony of Dr. Harris:

Dr. Willis F. Westmoreland, first president of the Georgia State Board of Health, and president of the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Professor George Bachman, demonstrator in physiology at the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons; formerly one of the faculty of the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.

Dr. T. H. Hancock, a specialist in surgical practice.

Dr. J. C. Olmstead, a graduate of Columbia University, and a practitioner in Atlanta for 32 years.

Here is a summary of Dr. Harris’ theories on the death of the Mary Phagan and the consensus of the four medical experts’ opinions in regard to the theories:

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Frank Trial Witness is Sure, At Least, of One Thing—a ‘Good Ragging’

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 12th, 1913

By JAMES B. NEVIN.

Reader, proverbially gentle, if not always so, be glad, be joyful, and be filled with exceeding thankfulness that you have not been summoned, no matter which way, as a witness in the Frank trial!

Of course, there is a large, fat chance that you have been summoned—most everybody has—but be all those nice things aforesaid, if you haven’t.

And even at that, knock on wood.

The trial is young yet—it is not quite three weeks old, three weeks, count ‘em—and there still is time for somebody or other to remember that you may know something or other about something or other that may have something or other to do with the case.

Anyway, if you can’t be glad and all the rest of it, be just as glad and as nearly all the rest of it as you can, while the being is good or in anywise promising.

If you are a witness in the Frank case, you are skating on about the thinnest ice ever—it makes no different whatever whose pond you are skating on.

You are ambrosia and cake to one side and you likewise are gall and wormwood to the other—be very sure of that!

If your wife will have anything at all to do with you, and if the neighbors love you any more, when you get back home, it will be entirely because one side or the other forgot to mention the fact that once upon a time you were a horse thief, or somebody said you were a horse thief, or that you had an uncle who was a horse thief, or some pleasant little thing like that.

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State Charges Premeditated Crime

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 12th, 1913

Defense Forces Dalton to Admit Jail Record

GIRL DENIES STATE’S VERSION OF FRANK’S WORK ON FATAL DAY

Here are the important developments Tuesday in the trial of Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan:

State announces its theory that Frank planned a criminal attack upon Mary Phagan the day before she came to the factory for her money.

The court and chaingang record of C. B. Dalton, the State’s witness who testified that he had seen women in Frank’s office, was shown up by the defense and admitted by Dalton.

Four acquaintances of Dalton testify that they would not believe him under oath and that his reputation for truth and veracity is bad.

C. E. Pollard, expert accountant, testifies that it required him three hours and eleven minutes to compile the financial sheet that the defense claims Frank prepared the afternoon of the murder.

Miss Hattie Hall, stenographer, says that Frank did not work on the financial sheet Saturday morning, the day of the crime.

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Interest Unabated as Dramatic Frank Trial Enters Third Week

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 11th, 1913

By JAMES B. NEVIN.

The third week of the most remarkable murder trial ever known in Georgia opened to-day with no apparent lessening of the acute interest and grim appeal heretofore attaching to it.

The public has come to realize thoroughly and completely that the issue is a battle not only between the State and the defendant, Leo Frank, but between Leo Frank and the negro Jim Conley.

Presumably, the defense will take the entire week rounding out its case and perfecting its undermining of Conley’s story.

If it does get through within the week, it will have employed approximately the same amount of time in telling its story that the State employed in telling the other side.

The first powerful and bewildering shock of Conley’s tale, unanticipated in its full sinister detail, has passed away in a measure, it seems.

It is but the simple truth to say that the day of and the day following Conley’s awful charge, in addition to the one of murder, marked the climax of the State’s case and the zenith of feeling against Frank.

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Grief-Stricken Mother Shows No Vengefulness

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

August 11th, 1913
Atlanta Georgian

By TARLETON COLLIER.

That black-clad woman in the corner of the courtroom—nobody has noticed her much. Things have happened so swiftly in the Frank trial that all eyes are on the rush of events, waiting for a quiver on the face of Leo Frank, watching with morbid gaze the brave faces of Frank’s wife and his mother, studying the passing show that the numerous witnesses present.

And the woman is so unobtrusive, so plainly out of it all. The tears, whose traces are evident on her face, were not shed as a result of this trial. The lines under her eyes are older than two weeks. Her sorrow—and it is plain that she has undergone sorrow—came some time ago. Now, the first poignant pain of it has passed and only a dull ache remains.

All that is plain as she sits in the courtroom in an attitude which bespeaks much of listlessness and resignation. The thoughts that pass in her mind are revealed in that attitude and in her placid face. And the sum of them is this:

No matter what happens, the dull ache will always be there at her heart.

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Deputy Hunting Scalp Of Juror-Ventiloquist

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 11th, 1913

Big Bob Deavors, Deputy Sheriff in charge of the Frank trial jury, marched to the courtroom Monday morning with an aching head and a grim determination to get even with Juror A. H. Henslee, whose elusive voice piloted him against a bedpost late Sunday evening.

Henslee is a ventriloquist of no mean ability, and when the jury has been locked up Sunday his talent has afforded the principal pastime. Yesterday he worked on Deavors, the deputy. He had Bob’s wife calling to him from the street, the hall door and finally from the door leading into another room. It was through this last door that Deavors broke and encountered the head of a bed with the full weight of his big frame.

An impromptu piano concert Sunday afternoon by Juror F. E. Winburn, a stroll under guard late Sunday evening and the feats of ventriloquism broke the monotony of what would have been a listless day.

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Atlanta Georgian, August 11th 1913, “Deputy Hunting Scalp of Juror-Ventriloquist,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Defense Bitterly Attacks Harris

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 11th, 1913

Battle of Medical Experts Waged in Court

EXPERTS TESTIMONY ON CABBAGE TESTS CALLED WILD GUESS

A bitter arraignment of the professional ethics and fairness of Dr. H. F. Harris, secretary of the State Board of Health, and a through-going attack on his theories and conclusions marked the Frank trial Monday afternoon.

Attorney Reuben Arnold make a scathing criticism of Dr. Harris’ methods during his examination of Dr. Willis Westmoreland, a prominent Atlanta physician and surgeon.

Arnold was asking the medical expert his opinion of the ethics of a chemist or physician who would take the organs and the stomach with its contents from a body, make his examination in absolute secrecy and would leave no material on which the other aide in a legal case might make analysis and examinations.

Solicitor Dorsey objected to the question.

Attorney Arnold said, in justifying his question:

“We wish to show that Dr. Harris has violated all the ethics of his profession, as well as the principles of decency and honesty.”

Dr. Westmoreland said he never had heard of such procedure before.

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One Glance at Conley Boosts Darwin Theory

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 10th, 1913

Frank’s Accuser Is Not the Type of Negro White Men Consider Their Friend.

By TARLETON COLLIER.

Jim Conley is a low-browed, thick-lipped, anthropoidal sort of negro. You look at him and your faith in Mr. Darwin’s theory goes up like cotton after a boll-weevil scare.

Here is a burly, short-necked black man. On his upper lip is a scanty mustache of the kind that most negroes fondle with the vain hope that it will grow into a bushy thickness. Conley is the most common African type as to physique.

Never a flash of brightness, never a gleam of wit, never the sparkle of unconscious humor came during the three days Conley was on the stand. Newt Lee made the courtroom laugh. Conley didn’t. He was always deadly earnest.

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Mary Phagan’s Mother to be Spared at Trial

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 10th, 1913

A spectator at the trial of Leo M. Frank for the murder of little Mary Phagan remarked:

“I wonder what the mother of the little girl who was so brutally killed thinks of all this?”
Mrs. J. W. Coleman, the mother, was the first witness called at the beginnig [sic] of the case, now two weeks gone. She was dressed in deep black with a heavy veil about her face. As she pulled back the veil to speak to the jury the expression was calm without a sign of bitterness. And she answered in even tones.

When the Solicitor opened a little suit case and placed before her the clothes of her little girl.

There was a stifled cry. Those who looked saw a face covered with a handkerchief. That was enough. Solicitor Dorsey put no more questions.

For ten days the grind of the court went on. The mother was forgotten for more immediate things.

Friday she was recalled in the midst of expert testimony on the effect of digestion on cabbage. She came and indifferently told how she had cooked the cabbage that made the last meal of little Mary Phagan. Then she said:

“Mr. Dorsey, will you need me any more? I’m so tired. I want to go.”

He told her she could go. And it is very probable she will not appear at this trial again.

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Atlanta Georgian, August 10th 1913, “Mary Phagan’s Mother to be Spared at Trial,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Dalton Sticks Firmly To Story Told on Stand

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 10th, 1913

C. B. Dalton, prominent as a witness in the Frank trial, stuck firmly to the story he told in court when he was confronted Saturday by the letter of Miss Laura Atkinson, No. 30 Ella street, one of the young women mentioned in his sensational testimony. She branded his statement concerning her as false.

He maintained that all he said as a witness was true—that he met her, as he had other girls of the pencil factory, and walked home with her from a restaurant near the plant on Forsyth street.

Dalton was emphatic in his reiteration of every detail of the testimony delivered by him from the witness stand.

Here is Miss Atkinson’s statement, in full, denying Dalton’s testimony:

“Editor The Sunday American: Will you please allow me space to correct a statement made by Mr. C. B. Dalton in his testimony at the Frank trial, and published in your paper yesterday? In answer to a question from Mr. Rosser as to whether he ever went to the pencil factory with any one except Miss Daisy Hopkins, he said yes, he used to go to the Busy Bee and wait for the factory to close to walk home with the girls, and gave my name as one of the girls.

“His statement, as I read it in your paper, impressed me as being intended to convey to the minds of those who heard it, and, of course, all who read it, the idea that I was working at the factory at the time he says he went there, and that he was in the habit of walking home with me. I have no desire to make any derogatory remarks about Mr. Dalton, but in justice to myself and my good name, I certainly do feel it my duty to say that his statement concerning me is false, and he had not the slightest ground whatever for making it and no right to use my name in any way in his testimony.

“I have known him only about six months, and have never been in his company but three times. On two occasions I was at church with a gentleman friend who was also a friend of his and he walked with us from the church to my home, less than three blocks, and one afternoon while out walking met him and he walked with me a distance of about four blocks. That, and a few conversations over the telephone, probably three or four, mark the extent of my acquaintance with him. I worked at the pencil factory exactly two days the second week in July (last month) and did not even see Mr. Dalton on either one of those days. I had never worked there before nor been there, and have not since.

“Will you please state these facts in your paper and clear up any false impression that may have been made on people’s minds concerning me, and the slur I feel has been case on my good name by having him make such a false statement where it would be published broadcast over the country? I will appreciate it and thank you very much if you will correct the statement. Sincerely,

“LAURA ATKINSON.

“No. 30 Ella Street.”

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Atlanta Georgian, August 10th 1913, “Dalton Sticks Firmly To Story Told on Stand,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Phagan Trial Makes Eleven “Widows” But Jurors’ Wives Are Peeresses Also

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 10th, 1913

By L. F. WOODRUFF

Eleven widows were made in Atlanta in a day without the assistance of the Grim Reaper, a trip to Reno, pallbearers or affinity stories in the newspapers.

And there is but one drop of consolation in their cup. When they were made widows they automatically became peeresses, for which privilege many American girls have caused their fathers large sums of good American money and themselves heartache and their pictures to be printed between the story of the rabbit that chased the boa constrictor and the life narrative of Sophie, the Shop Girl, who in a night became a stage star.

They also had the satisfaction of having their husbands officially proclaimed good men and true, which they may have questioned when the pay envelope was brought home with $10 missing and unaccounted for, just as all wives have questioned.

They’ll Be Brides Again.

If there is any balm in it, the widows know that it will not be long before they can doff their weeds and once more don their bridal gowns. Their husbands will return to them just as soon as they have decided whether or not Leo Frank is guilty of the murder of Mary Phagan.

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