The Crime: Mary Phagan’s Death by Strangling

Mary_Phaganby Scott Aaron
and the editors of

ON SATURDAY morning at 11:30AM, April 26, 1913 Mary Phagan (pictured) 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. She had been laid off for most of that week because the material needed for the tipping department in the metal room, where she worked, had been late in arriving. Continue Reading →