Experts Are Here on Finger Prints

Experts Here

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

Atlanta Constitution

Thursday, May 22nd, 1913

Two Investigators Are Added to Wm. J. Burns’ Forces Already in Atlanta—P. A. Flak in City.

The William J. Burns forces in the investigation of the Mary Phagan mystery have been reinforced by two expert investigators who recently arrived in the city and are assisting Chief C. W. Tobie in his work.

Their identity is being withheld. Both began work Wednesday. One is a noted handwriting and finger print expert, and his first object was to examine the notes found beside the girl’s body and to obtain finger prints at and around the scene of discovery.

Chief Tobie visited the negro night watchman, Newt Lee, in the Tower Wednesday morning for an hours’ interview. Although he will not state positively his views, the impression is gained that he believes the negro innocent, in both the actual murder and as an accessory either before or after the crime.

Finger Print Expert Engaged.

P. A. Flak, one of New York’s most successful finger print experts, has been retained by Solicitor General Dorsey to examine prints found upon the victim’s clothing and on the notes written by her slayer. Flak was brought to Atlanta by the Georgia State Banker’ association, the convention of which recently was held in Macon.

He and the solicitor visited the pencil factory Wednesday afternoon. Later they visited the jail, where, it is said, they secured finger prints from both suspects, Frank, the plant superintendent, and the negro watchman. They spent practically the entire day together. Continue Reading →

Tobie is Studying Mary Phagan’s Life

Tobie is Studying

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

Atlanta Constitution

Wednesday, May 21st, 1913

Burns Operative Finds New Theory in Detailed Study of Life of Girl Who Was Murdered.

Investigation into the life of Mary Phagan from the time she was a child until the day upon which she was murdered has been the work for the past several days of C. W. Tobie, the investigator who is preceding William J. Burns in the attempt to find the perpetrator of the crime.

The detective will not reveal his specific reasons for accumulating a record of the girl’s life, but steadily he has been familiarizing himself with every detail which it has been possible to learn. When his chief reaches Atlanta he will have practically every detail in the life of the murdered girl at his finger tips. Tobie states that this is an important part of his criminal investigation.

All of Tuesday morning was spent in interviewing Mrs. James W. Coleman, mother of the dead girl, at her home, 146 Lindsay street. The grief-stricken parent broke into tears before the examination was finished. Tobie learned that on the morning of Mary’s disappearance she had arisen early to help her mother with the day’s housework.

Ironing Sunday Frock.

Up until the time she caught the trolley car for town, shortly after 11 o’clock, she had been ironing a summer frock which she intended wearing to Sunday school the following Sunday. It still lies carefully spread across the chair upon which she had folded it, a cherished memento of her bright young life. Continue Reading →

Finger Print Expert Works With Dorsey to Solve Mystery

Finger Print Expert

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

Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, May 21st, 1913

P. A. Flak, of New York, visits Scene of Crime and Also Takes Finger Prints of Men in the Tower


He is Said to Be Convinced That Negro Is Innocent—Pinkertons Still Busy in Search for Additional Evidence

The employment by Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey of one of the best known finger print experts in the world on the Phagan mystery was Wednesday’s principal development in the sensational case.

P. A. Flak, of New York City, noted criminologist, and a recognized expert on finger prints, was brought to Atlanta by the “Southeastern Banker” and introduced to Mr. Dorsey.

The expert and the prosecuting officer spent the entire day Wednesday in an effort to find the murderer of Mary Phagan through finger prints.

Together they visited the scene of the crime, and also the jail, where they are said to have secured the finger prints of Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the pencil factory, and Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, the two men held by the coroner’s jury.

Finger prints, which may lead to the conviction of the murderer were found on the notes left beside the dead girl’s body, and they were closely examined by Mr. Flak and the solicitor general.

Mr. Flak recently attended a meeting of the Georgia Banker’s association at Macon and consented at the request of representatives of the Southeastern Banker to come here and look into the Phagan mystery. Continue Reading →

Women Declare Phagan Murder Must Be Solved

Women Declare

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

Atlanta Constitution

Tuesday, May 20th, 1913

“Freedom of Murderer Is a Menace to Honor and Life of Every Woman,” Writes Mrs. James Carr.

Optimistic over the prospects for solving the Mary Phagan mystery, C. W. Tobie, chief of the William J. Burns criminal department, told a reporter for The Constitution yesterday morning that he was confident the girl’s murderer would be apprehended and convicted in a surprisingly short while.

“What if Mary Phagan were your child?” is the subject of an eloquent plea made to the women of Atlanta by Mrs. Jane F. Carr for the apprehension of the slyer. Women of all walks of life and classes are uniting in one combined effort to assist in investigation.

Mrs. Carr’s plea is an apt illustration of the widespread sentiment felt by the women of the city. It will be recalled that six prominent women advanced the suggestion to Attorney Felder that Detective Burns be employed, and the fund was started by The Constitution. Women’s clubs and organizations all over Georgia are ready and willing to lead every aid possible.

Women Are Interested.

Mrs. Carr’s letter follows: Continue Reading →

Phagan Case Goes to the Grand Jury in Present Form

Phagan Case

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

Atlanta Journal

Tuesday, May 20th, 1913

Solicitor and Detectives Are Ready With Evidence and Will Present Bills for Jury’s Consideration Friday


This Question Is Being Considered by Solicitor—Another Report That Mary Phagan Was Seen Saturday P. M.

The Fulton county grand jury will commence its investigation of the murder of Mary Phagan on Friday, not Thursday morning, according to an announcement from the solicitor general’s office.

Unless there is an important development before that time, and none is considered likely, the names of only two suspects, Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil factory, and Newt Lee, negro night watchman, will be presented to the grand jury by the solicitor.

The grand jury hearing may consume two or three days, although it is possible that the body will be willing to return either a true bill or a no bill in one or both cases, after hearing only the principal witnesses.

While it has never been the custom of Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey to allow defendants and witnesses for the defendant before a grand jury hearing, it is said to be probable that an effort will be made to introduce witnesses in behalf of Mr. Frank.

Solicitor Dorsey would not be quoted on the matter, but he is said to be looking up the law on the subject in order that he may be ready to combat any effort of Mr. Frank’s counsel or friends to introduce testimony favorable to him. Continue Reading →

Cases Ready Against Lee and Leo Frank

Cases Ready

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

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, May 20th, 1913

Solicitor General Dorsey Declares All Evidence Will Go to the Grand Jury Friday.

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey announced Tuesday morning that the State’s case against Leo M. Frank and Newt Lee in connection with the Phagan murder, would go to the Grand Jury Friday of this week. He said that he could anticipate no new arrest or development that would make it necessary to change this plan.

Mrs. Jane F. Carr, 251 Ponce De-Leon Avenue, in an open letter, asked every woman in Atlanta to contribute to the fund to employ the Burns detective and Mr. Burns himself to work in the Phagan investigation. She appealed to women of every walk in life to give according to their means.

“What if Mary Phagan were your child?” was the subject of her letter.

Felder Asks for Funds.

The Burns fund, after going above the $2,000 mark, slacked considerably. Colonel Thomas B. Felder said this sum would not sufficient if it became necessary for the Burns men to make an exhaustive investigation, and asked the people to contribute liberally to the end that Atlanta’s greatest mystery be satisfactorily cleared. Continue Reading →

Detectives Seek Clue in Writing of Negro Suspect

Detectives Seek Clue in Writing

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

Atlanta Constitution

Monday, May 19th, 1913

Another Employee of the National Pencil Company Now Held at Police Headquarters.


For Hours the New Detective, Col. Thomas B. Felder and Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey Discuss Case.

In the first report of his investigation of the Mary Phagan tragedy, William J. Burns’ agent informs Solicitor General Dorsey that he already has obtained a valuable clue, and that a new phase of the mystery, upon which he is basing his operations, will be productive of early and startling results.

Sunday was a day of vigorous activity in all three sources of investigation of the Phagan mystery. At police headquarters, a new negro suspect was put through the third degree and forced to give specimens of his handwriting. His wife was taken into custody and thoroughly examined by Pinkerton men and police detectives.

The Burns agent and Colonel Thomas B. Felder held an eight-hour conference with the solicitor at the home of Colonel Felder from noon until 8 o’clock last night. The principal object was to thoroughly acquaint the new officer with the situation as it has previously been developed and with the evidence now at hand.

Frank Has Little to Say.

Leo M. Frank, the suspected factory superintendent, and Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, were both seen in their cells in the Tower last night by a Constitution reporter. Frank had only a few words to say. He would not discuss any phase of the case. Lee talked freely, and appeared optimistic of the future.

Frank’s health is holding up exceptionally well. He declares that he now feels no ill effects whatever of the three weeks of imprisonment. His cell was thronged all day Sunday with scores of friends and relatives, many of whom remained from noon until nightfall. Continue Reading →

Burns’ Investigator Outlines His Theory of Phagan Murder

Burns' Investigator

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

Atlanta Journal

Monday, May 19th, 1913

It Coincides In Practically Every Feature With Theory Held by Solicitor Dorsey, Detectives and Pinkertons


He Holds Long Conerence [sic] With Solicitor, Who Has Welcomed Him Into Case, Urged to Contribute to Fund

The theory of the murder of Mary Phagan entertained by the city detectives and outlined in The Journal first on Sunday a week ago is the theory in which C. W. Tobie, manager of the criminal department of the William J. Burns agency, believes.

Mr. Tobie, who has been employed by Attorney Thomas B. Felder, has assumed charge of the investigation of the Phagan case for the Burns’ agency pending the arrival of his chief.

To The Journal Monday morning he outlined his theory of the case in the office of Colonel Felder.

“The Phagan murder is not in my opinion a hopeless or impregnable mystery,” he said, “and I am confident that we will find and convict the guilty man.

“There are several features of the case which I do not care to mention which have not been worked out. I am going right after these ends of the affair, and believe that I will get results.” Continue Reading →

Burns Agent Outlines Phagan Theory

Burns Agent Outlines

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

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, May 19th, 1913

Famous Detective’s Aid, C. W. Tobie, Issues First Statement on Work in Slaying Case.

C. W. Tobie, manager of the criminal department of the W. J. Burns Detective Agency, Monday made public his theory of the murder of Mary Phagan. For the first time the man who is representing Burns in Atlanta’s greatest mystery until the noted detective arrived consented to see reporters.

Tobie’s theory is that Mary Phagan was murdered inside the National Pencil plant, by some one familiar with the premises, and that her body was dragged to the basement for purposes of concealment and probably destruction. He scouted the idea she was killed on the outside and dragged inside, and declared that too much buncombe has been given out by men who have only muddled the waters.

While no new arrests are expected immediately, Tobie declared the mystery is not all impossible of solution, and that the guilty man will be apprehended in due time. Meanwhile, he promised to issue statements telling the progress made from time to time.

Burns Expert’s Theory.

Here is Tobie’s theory as he outlined it to a Georgian reporter today:

Mary Phagan, while in the pencil factory, was approached by some one who made an improper proposal. She resented it and the man asked her to remain silent. She refused, saying she would report the affair to the proper authorities, and the man struck her, hurling her against a machine, the impact causing the skull wound. Continue Reading →