Veneir [sic] is Drawn to Try Leo M. Frank Monday

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 24th, 1913


Says He Has Not Even Been Asked for Postponement, and Sees No Reason Why Trial Should Not Begin On Date Fixed.

Jim Conley, the negro sweeper of the National Pencil Factory, was taken from the police station late Thursday afternoon by Detectives Starnes and Campbell to verify certain of his statements and to point out certain witnesses, who, he told the detectives, would be able to refute the affidavit of W. H. Mincey by showing that he was not at the point where Mincey swears the negro confessed he “had killed a girl” on the afternoon of the murder. The detectives would not divulge the location of the places to be visited.

Judge L. S. Roan, home from Covington, late Thursday, declared to a Georgian reporter that he saw no reason why the trial of Leo M. Frank, accused of the murder of Mary Phagan, should not begin Monday.

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Let the Frank Trial Go On

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 24th, 1913

Leo Frank should be placed on trial Monday for the murder of Mary Phagan.

The crime was committed April 26; Frank was arrested April 28; he was indicted Mary 23 and his trial set for June 30.

At the suggestion of the judge in whose court the trial is to take place, a postponement was agreed on, and the date of the trial moved up to July 28.

Now attempts are being made to secure another postponement. The only reason given to the public is that the weather is hot and it would be disagreeable to hold the trial in the summer.

Of course it is hot, but it isn’t any hotter in the court room than it is in jail.

Both the prosecution and the defense have had ample time to prepare their cases. If Frank is guilty, the State can prove his guilt as well now as later on; if he is innocent, the defense can prove his innocence as well in summer as in winter.

The public has taken a keen interest in the Phagan case and it will demand that the man who killed her be punished, whether that man is Frank or someone else. Furthermore, it is tired of delays.

Public sentiment is where it was on the date first set for Frank’s trial and it will be at the same place if the trial is delayed for a year.

Atlantans are awaiting the trial with open minds. They are not holding themselves up as judges. They know the law is supreme and they want it to take its course. But they want that course taken without seemingly endless delays.

Fight Expected Over Effort to Defer Frank Case

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

Atlanta Journal
July 23, 1913

No Witnesses for Defense Have Been Called for Monday, and Indications Are They Will Not Be


Attorney R. R. Arnold May Go to Covington to Request Judge L. S. Roan to Postpone Case

While the position of the defense of Leo M. Frank has not been announced, Attorney Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold have indicated clearly that they desire to postpone the trial of case from next Monday, when it is set. Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey, on the other hand, has announced the state’s position. He will fight any and every move to postpone the case.

The solicitor general objected, when the case was postponed from June 30, the date he first fixed, and fought to have a date earlier than July 28 when he then saw that postponement was inevitable. Now he is again preparing to fight against further delay.

Deputy Sheriff Plennie Minor was instructed by Judge L. S. Roan, to bring the jury box to Judge John T. Pendleton with the request that he draw the venire for the trial on Thursday morning before the trial judge left to hold court this week in Covington.

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Was Mary Phagan Killed With Bludgeon?

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

Atlanta Journal
July 22nd, 1913


Was Found on May 10 by Two Pinkerton Detectives on the First Floor of the Pencil Factory


It Was Sent to Chemist Outside of State for Examination—Subpenas Issued for State’s Witness

In the possession of the defense of Leo M. Frank is a bloody bludgeon with which it will be claimed at the trial, in all probability, that James Conley, the negro sweeper, struck Mary Phagan over the head while she battled on the first floor of the National Pencil factory for her life.

While it has been known for weeks that the defense of Frank will try to pit the crime on the negro, the claim that any weapon other than the negro’s hands and the cords placed about her neck, were used, is an absolutely new development to the public, although the bloody stick, about an inch in diameter, has been in the possession of the defense since May 10.

It is said that it was found in the factory on that date by two Pinkerton operatives, L. P. Whitfield and W. D. McWorth, who at that time were conducting a systematic search of the factory.

According to the story, which has come to The Journal on excellent authority, on May 9, after city detectives, factory employees, various private sleuths and quite a few curiosity seekers had searched for nearly two weeks without finding any new clues to throw light on the tragedy. Whitefield and McWorth, two of the Pinkerton operatives, who are on the “silent force” never appearing before the public, went to the factory for a new examination of the big building, which was the scene of Atlanta’s most sensational tragedy.

They started on the second floor, where the state maintains that Mary Phagan met her death, and spent the entire day going over that floor.

By the next ddy [sic], May 10, the detectives had reached the third floor of the building. They went back by the boxes upon which Conley says he sat while waiting for instructions from the factory superintendent. Some ten or fifteen feet past the boxes and considerably past the elevator shaft, by a door, and on top of some trash, the Pinkerton men found the bloody bludgeon, right by the spot where the part of a pay envelope with the name Mary Phagan written upon it lay.


Evidently the defense of Frank considers the find of the two sleuths as important, for the story of the stick has been zealously guarded from the public. In addition, presumably to make certain that the fact of the existence of the stick would not reach the public, it was sent out of the state to a famous chemist, who made an anlysis [sic] to determine whether or not the blood on the primitive weapon was that of a human or an animal. The examination is said to have shown it to be the former.

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Grand Jury Defers Action on Conley

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 22nd, 1913


Protest of Solicitor Dorsey Wins

Presents Evidence Showing Indictment of Negro Would Hinder Frank Prosecution.

Here are the important developments of Monday in the Phagan case:

The decision of the Grand Jury of Fulton County not to bring at this time an indictment against James Conley.

The information that there is a strong probability of another postponement of the trial of Leo M. Frank.

The Grand Jury’s refusal to reopen its investigation of the Phagan murder mystery was a decided victory for the Solicitor after that body had overridden his request that no session be called to take up the matter in any of its aspects.

A report that Judge L. S. Roan who will preside at the Frank trial had signified his desire that the case be put off until fall, gave rise to the expectation that another postponement will take place, and that the date probably will be set for some week in September.

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Defense Asks Ruling on Delaying Frank Trial

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 22, 1913

Hearing of Crawford Case May Conflict

Conference Planned to Decide Which Shall Take Precedence. Ready to Draw Venire.

Reuben R. Arnold, of counsel for Leo M. Frank, announced Tuesday that he proposed to seek a conference of the attorneys in the Frank case and in the Crawford will hearing to determine which case should be postponed next Monday, the date set for the beginning of the trial of Frank on the charge of slaying Mary Phagan.

Mr. Arnold, Luther Z. Rosser, chief of counsel for Frank, both also are attorneys in the Crawford will case, and it would be impossible on this account to conduct the two cases simultaneously. The Crawford hearing will resume Wednesday before a special auditor in a branch of the Superior Court, and undoubtedly will be in progress next week if it is not stopped by a postponement.

The will hearing, because of the fact that it already is under way, would have a natural precedence over the Frank trial. This may be waived, however, in order to take up the Phagan mystery.

None of the attorneys for the defense will say that they intend to ask for a postponement of the Frank trial, but the hot weather and the fact that the Crawford case is in progress at this time appear to be combining to bring about such a consummation.

Judge Roan has stated that the case would be called Monday, but he probably will accede to the request for a conference some day this week to discuss the matter.

Court Likely to Accede.

Attorney Arnold will ask that the jurymen be not summoned until a definite decision is reached as to which of the cases is to take precedence.

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The Leo Frank Trial: Closing Arguments, Solicitor Dorsey

Hugh-Dorsey-340x264Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

by Bradford L. Huie

THE AMERICAN MERCURY now presents the final closing arguments by Solicitor Hugh Dorsey (pictured) in the trial of Leo Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan — a powerful summary of the case and a persuasive argument that played a large part in the decision of the jury to find Frank guilty of the crime. It is also riveting reading for modern readers, who have been told — quite falsely — that the case against Frank was a weak one, and told, equally falsely, that “anti-Semitism” was a major motive for the arrest, trial, and conviction of Frank.

Here we present it for the first time on any popular periodical’s Web site. Not until the Mercury began its efforts have these or the other arguments in this case and relevant contemporary articles been presented on a popular Web site in correctly formatted, easy-to-read type with OCR errors removed.  (For background on this case, read our introductory article, our coverage of Week One,  Week Two, Week Three and Week Four of the trial, and my exclusive summary of the evidence against Frank.)



Mr. Dorsey:

Gentlemen of the Jury: This case is not only, as His Honor has told you, important, but it is extraordinary. It is extraordinary as a crime — a most heinous crime, a crime of a demoniac, a crime that has demanded vigorous, earnest and conscientious effort on the part of your detectives, and which demands honest, earnest, conscientious consideration on your part. It is extraordinary because of the prominence, learning, ability, standing of counsel pitted against me. It is extraordinary because of the defendant — it is extraordinary in the manner in which the gentlemen argue it, in the methods they have pursued in its management. Continue Reading →

The Leo Frank Trial: Closing Arguments of Hooper, Arnold, and Rosser


Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

The American Mercury continues its centenary coverage of the trial of Leo Frank for the slaying of Mary Phagan with the closing arguments presented by the prosecution and defense.

by Bradford L. Huie

IT’S A LONG READ — but an essential one for everyone who wants to consider himself well-informed on the Leo Frank case: the closing arguments from indefatigable Fulton County Prosecutor Hugh Dorsey and his assistant Frank Hooper, and from Leo Frank’s brilliantly skilled defense attorneys Reuben Arnold and Luther Rosser. Continue Reading →

100 Years Ago Today: Leo Frank Takes the Stand

Leo-Frank-on-the-Witness-StandOriginally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

In a few days the Mercury will present Week Three of the trial of Leo Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan. Today, on the 100th anniversary of Leo Frank taking the stand in his own defense, we present a digest of opinion and contemporary sources on his statement.

AT THE CLIMAX of the Leo Frank trial, an admission was made by the defendant that amounted to a confession during trial. How many times in the annals of US legal history has this happened? Something very unusual happened during the month-long People v. Leo M. Frank murder trial, held within Georgia’s Fulton County Superior Courthouse in the Summer of 1913. I’m going to show you evidence that Mr. Leo Max Frank inadvertently revealed the solution to the Mary Phagan murder mystery.

Leo Frank

Leo Frank

In addition to being an executive of Atlanta’s National Pencil Company, Leo Frank was also a B’nai B’rith official — president of the 500-member Gate City Lodge in 1912 — and even after his conviction and incarceration Frank was elected lodge president again in 1913. As a direct result of the Leo Frank conviction, the B’nai B’rith founded their well-known and politically powerful “Anti-Defamation League,” or ADL. Continue Reading →

Leo Frank Trial: Week Four

Leo-Frank-closeup-340x264Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

Join The American Mercury as we recount the events of the final week of the trial of Leo Frank (pictured) for the slaying of Mary Phagan.

by Bradford L. Huie

ON THE HEELS of Leo Frank’s astounding unsworn statement to the court, the defense called a number of women who stated that they had never experienced any improper sexual advances on the part of Frank. But the prosecution rebutted that testimony with several rather persuasive female witnesses of its own. These rebuttal witnesses also addressed Frank’s claims that he was so unfamiliar with Mary Phagan that he did not even know her by name. (For background on this case, read our introductory article, our coverage of Week One,  Week Two, and Week Three of the trial, and my exclusive summary of the evidence against Frank.)

Here are the witnesses’ statements, direct from the Brief of Evidence, interspersed with my commentary. The emphasis and paragraphing (for clarity) is mine. The defense recommenced with a large contingent of Frank’s friends, business associates, and employees who would say that Leo Frank was of good character and had not, to their knowledge, made any improper sexual approaches to the girls and women who worked under him: Continue Reading →

The Leo Frank Trial: Week Three

Leo-Frank-suit-portrait_crop-340x264Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

The trial of Leo Frank (pictured) for the murder of Mary Phagan ended its third week 100 years ago today. Join us as we break through the myths surrounding the case and investigate what really happened.

by Bradford L. Huie

AS THE THIRD WEEK of the trial dawned, the prosecution had just made its case that National Pencil Company Superintendent Leo Max Frank had murdered 13-year-old laborer Mary Phagan — and a powerful case it was. Now it was the defense’s turn — and the defense team was a formidable one, the best that money could buy in 1913 Atlanta, led by Reuben Arnold and Luther Rosser. And many would argue that the city’s well-known promoter and attorney Thomas B. Felder was also secretly working for Frank and his friends, along with the two biggest detective agencies in the United States, the Burns agency — sub rosa, under the direction of Felder — and the Pinkertons — openly, cooperating with the police, and under the direction of the National Pencil Company. (For background on this case, read our introductory article, our coverage of Week One and Week Two of the trial, and my exclusive summary of the evidence against Frank.)

As the defense began its parade of witnesses, few suspected that the defendant himself, Leo Frank, would soon take the stand and make an admission so astonishing that it strained belief. Continue Reading →

The Leo Frank Trial: Week Two

jim-conley-340x264Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

The trial of Leo Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan ended its second week 100 years ago today. Join us as we delve into the original documents of the time and learn what the jurors learned.

by Bradford L. Huie

THE EVIDENCE that National Pencil Company Superintendent Leo Frank had murdered 13-year-old child laborer Mary Phagan was mounting up as the second week of Frank’s trial began in Atlanta, and passions were high on both sides as star witness Jim Conley (pictured) took the stand.

The attempt to frame the innocent black  night watchman, Newt Lee, had failed, despite 1) the “death notes” left near the body implicating him, 2) the bloody shirt planted in his trash barrel, and 3) the forged time card supposedly showing that he had left his post for several hours the night the murder was discovered. Although no one of significance suspected Lee at this point, the defense would still try to attack the medical testimony that placed the murder near midday on April 26, and would introduce Lee’s second alleged time card, provided by Frank, purporting to show that Lee had many hours unaccounted for on the night of the 26th and the early morning hours of the 27th of April.

Newt Lee’s testimony of Frank’s peculiar behavior that afternoon and evening was compelling. Another African-American was about to become pivotal in this case: factory sweeper Jim Conley would testify that he had helped Frank by keeping watch while Frank “chatted” with Mary alone in his office, and by assisting Frank in moving her body to the basement after she was accidentally killed. Conley was about to become central to the defense’s case, too — they would allege that Conley was the real killer. (For background on this case, read our introductory article, our coverage of Week One of the trial, and my exclusive summary of the evidence against Frank.) Continue Reading →

The Leo Frank Trial: Week One


Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

100 years ago today the trial of the 20th century ended its first week, shedding brilliant light on the greatest murder mystery of all time: the murder of Mary Phagan. And you are there.

by Bradford L. Huie

THE MOST IMPORTANT testimony in the first week of the trial of National Pencil Company superintendent Leo Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan was that of the night watchman, Newt Lee (pictured, right, in custody), who had discovered 13-year-old Mary’s body in the basement of the pencil factory during his nightly rounds in the early morning darkness of April 27, 1913. Here at the Mercury we are following the events of this history-making trial as they unfolded exactly 100 years ago. We are fortunate indeed that Lee’s entire testimony has survived as part of the Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence, certified as accurate by both the defense and the prosecution during the appeal process. (For background on this case, read our introductory article and my exclusive summary of the evidence against Frank.) Continue Reading →

100 Years Ago Today: The Trial of Leo Frank Begins


Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

Take a journey through time with the American Mercury, and experience the trial of Leo Frank (pictured, in courtroom sketch) for the murder of Mary Phagan just as it happened as revealed in contemporary accounts. The Mercury will be covering this historic trial in capsule form from now until August 26, the 100th anniversary of the rendering of the verdict.

by Bradford L. Huie

THE JEWISH ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE (ADL) — in great contrast to the American Mercury and other independent media — has given hardly any publicity to the 100th anniversary of the murder of Mary Phagan and the arrest and trial of Leo Frank, despite the fact that these events eventually led to the foundation of the ADL. Probably the League is saving its PR blitz for 1915, not only because that is centenary of Leo Frank’s death by lynching (an event possibly of much greater interest to the League’s wealthy donors than the death of Mary Phagan, a mere Gentile factory girl), but also because encouraging the public to read about Frank’s trial might not be good for the ADL — it might well lead to doubts about the received narrative, which posits an obviously innocent Frank persecuted by anti-Semitic Southerners looking for a Jewish scapegoat.

For readers not familiar with the case, a good place to start is Scott Aaron’s summary of the crime, from his The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank, which states in part:

“ON SATURDAY morning at 11:30, April 26, 1913 Mary Phagan ate a poor girl’s lunch of bread and boiled cabbage and said goodbye to her mother for the last time. Dressed for parade-watching (for this was Confederate Memorial Day) in a lavender dress, ribbon-bedecked hat, and parasol, she left her home in hardscrabble working-class Bellwood at 11:45, and caught the streetcar for downtown Atlanta.

“Before the festivities, though, she stopped to see Superintendent Leo M. Frank at the National Pencil Company and pick up from him her $1.20 pay for the one day she had worked there during the previous week….

“Almost no one knew it at the time, but by one o’clock one young life was already over. For her there would never again be parades, or music, or kisses, or flowers, or children, or love. Mary Phagan never left the National Pencil Company alive. Abused, beaten, and strangled by a rough cord pulled so tightly that it had embedded itself deeply in her girlish neck and made her tongue protrude more than an inch from her mouth, Mary Phagan lay dead, dumped in the dirt and shavings of the pencil company basement, her once-bright eyes now sightless and still as she lay before the gaping maw of the furnace where the factory trash was burned.”

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The Murder of Andrei Yushchinsky


A notable aspect about the murder trial of Menachem Mendel Beilis is that it has amazing parallels with the Leo Frank trial, both of which took place in 1913

THIS NEW book is an English translation of G.G. Zamyslovsky’s book Ubiystvo Andryushi Yushchinskago, published in Russia in 1917. It is about the trial of Menachem Mendel Beilis (pictured), who was charged with the ritual murder of Andrei Yushchinsky, a 13-year-old boy, committed in Kiev in an occult rite with other fanatics.

On March 12, 1911, in Kiev, then part of Russia, on the grounds of a brick factory owned by a Jewish merchant named Zaitsev was found the body of a brutally murdered — and almost completely bloodless — 13-year-old student of the Kyiv-Sophia Religious School, Andrey Yushchinsky. On the teenager’s body the forensic doctors counted 50 stab wounds. Officials assigned to the case, including Minister of Justice Shcheglovitov, believed that the child had been ritually murdered by Beilis.

This was one of the most high-profile cases in pre-revolutionary Tsarist Russia. Like the Leo Frank case, wealthy Jews and press barons gave it worldwide publicity, characterizing the prosecution of Beilis as a case of “anti-Semitism.”

product_thumbnailGeorgy Georgiyevich Zamyslovsky was a well-respected member of the Russian State Duma (analogous to the Senate in the U.S.), and also an attorney. He served as a civil prosecutor (or “civil plaintiff”) in this case. Zamyslovsky has done us a great service by reproducing sections from the authentic transcript and even documents of the pre-trial investigation (testimonials, on-site examinations, etc.), items that have long disappeared into the Bolshevik tophet (a burning rubbish heap in the Valley of Hinnom south of Jerusalem where Semites were believed to have conducted human sacrifices). For example, Pranaitis’ opinion was taken from his pre-trial testimony, not from the testimony he gave in court. This book was ordered destroyed by the Bolsheviks and is extremely rare.

Beilis was defended by a powerful legal team. Despite the investigators’ and prosecutors’ strong belief in his guilt, Beilis was acquitted (so much for those evil “anti-Semitic” Russians and Ukrainians!). He died in 1934 in New York. He is buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Queens, the same cemetery where convicted Jewish sex killer Leo Frank — also tried in 1913 — is buried. There are two other amazing parallels between the Beilis and Frank trials, too: Frank’s victim, Mary Phagan, was, like young Andrey Yushchinsky, also 13 years old — the exact age at which the Jewish religion teaches that childhood ends and adulthood begins — and Beilis, like Frank, was also a factory superintendent.

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Source: JRBooksOnline