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


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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Many Discrepancies Between Conley’s Testimony and His Testimony Given to Detectives

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

Atlanta Journal
August 4th, 1913

Negro Swore Previously That He Never Saw Mary Phagan Enter Factory—Many Other Changes in Story—Fourth Time He’s Changed Narrative

James Conley’s story as he told it on the witness stand Monday morning differs in many important details from the story he told to the detectives in his famous affidavit of confession.

In that affidavit he said that by appointment he met Frank at the corner of Forsyth and Nelson streets the day of the murder, and that he first went to the factory on that day when he followed Frank back there.

He now says that he went to the factory early Saturday morning, April 26, and after remaining there for some time in hiding he went away, meeting Frank at Forsyth and Nelson streets at about 10:30 and later following him back to the factory.

This change in the negro’s recital has evidently been made since he learned that – some of the incidents he described in his affidavit occurred during the early morning and before he said he came to the factory from Nelson and Forsyth streets.

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Fixing Hour of Girl’s Death Through Aid of Modern Science The Prosecution’s Greatest Aid

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 3rd, 1913

By Britt Craig.

When Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan, related a simple story on the witness stand the first day of the Frank trial of the slain child’s frugal meal of cabbage and biscuit which she ate upon leaving home that fateful day, she paved the way for the most thrilling development thus far in the entire case.

Her story was as devoid of thrills as any yet told. It was an ordinary recitation of a common meal and told in the mother’s plain, simple manner. Had she not broke into tears her connection would have been completely devoid of interest, except for the fact that she was Mary Phagan’s mother.

But her statement of the meal the murdered child had eaten, prepared an opening for the startling testimony of Dr. Roy F. Harris, the state chemist, who testified that the cabbage found in the stomach, and which Mrs. Coleman stated the child had eaten at the noon meal, indicated that she had met her death within 45 minutes after eating.

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Audio Book: The Frank Case, part 3

WE ARE proud to present today, on the 107th anniversary of the foul murder of Mary Phagan, the third and concluding part of our audio version of an extremely rare contemporary book on the murder and the trial of Leo Frank, her killer, entitled The Frank Case — read by Vanessa Neubauer.

It becomes obvious in this concluding segment that this is a pro-Leo Frank book. Not only is Frank’s very odd unsworn statement (in which he literally spent hours going over every irrelevant detail of his company’s financial statement, and which obviously did not make a good impression on the jury) praised to the skies, but long extracts from it are quoted — some of them twice!

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Audio Book: The Frank Case, part 2

A photograph of Leo Frank, as published in The Frank Case

THE AMERICAN MERCURY now presents the second part (of three parts) of our audio version of what is probably the most hard-to-find book on the murder of Mary Phagan and the trial of Leo Frank — 1913’s anonymously published The Frank Case — read by Vanessa Neubauer.

The Frank Case: Inside Story of Georgia’s Greatest Murder Mystery now continues as we get into the detailed story of the trial itself.

One very interesting thing strikes me about this section of the book. Even though the book, I find, is moderately pro-Frank, what it reveals about the atmosphere surrounding the trial tends to strongly disprove the modern “Frank was railroaded by anti-Semitic Southern Whites” theory.

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Audio Book: The Frank Case, part 1

The cover of the book on which our new audio book is based

THE AMERICAN MERCURY is proud to present the first part of our audio version of a rare, almost-suppressed book on the murder of Mary Phagan and the trial of Leo Frank, 1913’s The Frank Case — published almost immediately after the events it details took place, when they were fresh in the minds of Atlantans. Only one original copy is known to survive, though there are rumors of others. This book is also unique as it is the earliest known book published about the case.

Its full title is The Frank Case: Inside Story of Georgia’s Greatest Murder Mystery. It was published anonymously. It highlights the events leading up to the trial and aftermath surrounding the April 26th, 1913, murder of Mary Phagan by her sweatshop boss, the superintendent of the National Pencil Company, Leo M. Frank. The book strives to maintain neutrality and includes a dramatically-rendered history of this sensational crime.

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William Gheesling, Embalmer, Tells of Wounds on Girl’s Body

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 1st, 1913

William Gheesling, the undertaker who embalmed Mary Phagan’s body, was next called in.

“What is your business?” queried Solicitor Dorsey.

“I am an embalmer.”

“How long have you been in that advice?”

“Fifteen years, or more.”

“Did you see the body of Mary Phagan?”

“Yes, I first saw it at 15 minutes to 4 on the morning of April 27.”

“Where was it?”

“In the basement of the National Pencil factory.”

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Frank’s Story of His Moves on Day of Crime

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

Accused Superintendent’s Story Is Unbroken by Any Save a Negro

Leo M. Frank’s sworn statement of his whereabouts each hour on the day of April 26, when Mary Phagan met her death, is of unusual interest in the case, especially since no witness except Conley had been found, at least as far as the public knows, who can break his story.

Frank’s statement of his whereabouts as given at the coroner’s inquest, when he was under oath, follows:


7 o’clock a. m.—Arose and dressed at home.

8—Left home for the factory office.

8:20—Arrived at the factory office.

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Chronological Story of Developments in the Mary Phagan Murder Mystery

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

April 27—The dead body of Mary Phagan is found in basement of National Pencil factory at 3 a. m. by Newt Lee, the negro night-watchman. Police hold Lee, who yater [sic] in the day re-enacts discovery of the remains before city detectives.

April 27—Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the Pencil factory, called from bed to view Mary Phagan’s body at

April 27—Arthur Mullinax arrested on information given the police by E. L. Sentell, who declared he saw the murdered girl in the former’s company at 1220 o’clock on the morning of the murder.

April 28—Coroner Donehoo empanels in metal room on second floor and blood splotched on the floor lead police to believe the girl was killed there.

April 28—Coroner Donehoo empanels jury for inquest, it meets, views body and scene of crime and adjourns.

April 28—The largest crowd that ever viewed a body in Atlanta sees Mary Phagan’s remains at [t]he undertaking chapel.

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Phagan Case of Peculiar And Enthralling Interest

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

Atlanta Georgian (Hearst’s Sunday American)
July 27th, 1913

As Leo Frank faces to-day the ordeal decreed by law that for man’s life, man’s life shall pay, interest in his case that has held Atlanta, Georgia and the South enthralled for three months has diminished not a whit since the Sunday morning the body of the little factory girl was found.

Wise judges of news, men who are paid thousands of dollars each year for their knowledge of the fickleness of the public, men who can time to the second the period when interest dies in one thing before the public eye to be born anew in another, have for years contended that no single item of news can sustain its interest longer than one brief week.

And yet for three months the public has read of Mary Phagan’s death and the quest for her slayer and their demand for this news has been insatiable.

That the vaunted insight of these news experts is as shallow as the mirror reflection of a beauty of the stage is the thought that common logic first presents.

The insight of these experts has not been at fault. On the contrary, it has been sustained. For in the mystery veiling the death of Mary Phagan and the trial of Leo Frank as her slayer, a more varied array of things that interest, thrill, horrify, shock and make men think is presented than in any one case developed since typesetting machines made the modern newspaper possible.

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Chapter 5 in Phagan Case

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 26th, 1913

The Negro Conley’s Confession That He Was Frank’s Accomplice and Events Leading Up to Trial.

Chapter VI.

“He (Leo Frank) told me that he had picked up a girl back there and had let her fall, and that her head had hit against something—he didn’t what it was—and for me to move her, and I hollered and told him the girl was dead.”

With this startling accusation Jim Conley introduced his third confession. Under the rack of a merciless third degree, continued through the long afternoon of May 29, he weakened or became desperate toward the last and came out with his remarkable affidavit, which laid the responsibility for the killing of Mary Phagan directly upon the shoulders of the young factory superintendent.

Either it was all true or all false. If it were true, the negro simply had wilted under the ceaseless fire of the detectives’ questions and had decided to own up to his share in the crime and to seek to protect Frank no longer. If it were false, Conley, driven to bay, had, as a forlorn hope of saving his own neck, concocted the marvelous tale to thrust the suspicion of guilt upon the innocent Frank.

Defense Attacks Confession.

The latter is the theory of Frank’s lawyers, and they will advance it and bring evidence to support it and argue in its favor with all the ability at their command when the trial, set for next Monday, is under way.

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Third Chapter in Phagan Mystery

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 24th, 1913

Arrests of Suspects in the Factory Slaying. Sensation as Leo Frank, Manager Was Taken Into Custody.


Everything that occurred, trivial or important, during those first few days after the body of little Mary Phagan was discovered in the pencil factory basement took on a dramatic aspect. The people were keyed to so high a pitch by the revolting crime that for for a time it seemed to require only a spark to fire them to violent deeds.

Let a strange person so much as appear at the police station to confer with Chief of Detectives Lanford and wild rumors spread about the whole city like magic. Let one of the detectives drop a careless remark and in a flash everyone mysteriously understood that a complete confession had been made to the police by the murderer.

So it was a sinister reception that the first catch in the detectives’ dragnet received from the group of angry men when he was hurried to police headquarters Sunday night of the day after the factory girl had been slain.

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Second Chapter in Phagan Mystery

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 23rd, 1913

The Discovery of the Body of the Slain Factory Girl and Start of Hunt for Slayer.


His heart pounding in superstitious fright, Newt Lee, the night watchman, forced himself to approach the strange object on the pile of debris in the pencil factory basement. A step nearer and he could make out what appeared to be a human foot. He recoiled and was on the point of precipitate flight.

But he must look closer, he thought. Perhaps, after all, it was only the ghastly prank of some of the factory employees who had manufactured a rude effigy and placed it there to scare him.

Determinedly he walked closer and thrust his lantern out over the mysterious object. He shrieked. Before his horrified eyes the shaky and uncertain light of his lantern disclosed the body of a little girl.

Grimed, bloody and mutilated the body lay on the flat of its back, as the terrified negro remembered it afterward, although the police, coming a few minutes later, found the body on its face, one arm drawn slightly up under the body and the other stretched full length at the side.

Discrepancy Not Explained.

This strange discrepancy never has been explained to the public except by the possibility that Lee, in his terror, was mistaken in the position he believed the body was in when he discovered it. Conley, telling his remarkable story three weeks later, said that he dumped the girl’s body face downward on the trash pile where it later was come upon by Lee.

Lee was to oappalled [sic] by his grewsome find to make a close investigation. He only saw that it was a little white girl and that she had been murdered. With frightened steps he hurried to the ladder at the other end of the basement. He was in a panic. He scuttled up the ladder and dropped the trap door over it. He felt a bit relieved away from the blackness of the basement and the awful thing that it contained.

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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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Story of Phagan Case by Chapters

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 22nd, 1913

Slaying of Factory Girl, South’s Most Baffling Crime Mystery, Reviewed in Detail.


Will the veil of mystery be lifted when the curtain rises next Monday on another scene in Atlanta’s darkest tragedy?

A vast audience, shocked by the horror of Mary Phagan’s fate on a Saturday of last April and held through the succeeding weeks in the thrall of the baffling crime drama, in keen suspense awaits this question’s answer.

Will Fulton County’s Solicitor General be able to point his finger at Leo M. Frank and exclaim, “That is the man who strangled Mary Phagan!” backing his damning accusation with such abundance of evidence that there can remain no shadow of doubt?

Or will Luther Rosser, certain to be a towering and masterful factor in the titanic struggle that is to be staged, unmask his strength, bring to bear the secret evidence that has been in his possession for weeks, beat down every bulwark of suspicion that the State has erected about its prisoner and, as a dramatic finale, assail the negro, Jim Conley, cowering in the witness stand, with a ranking volley of questions that will leave the negro man shaken and terrified, a confession of the crime upon his lips?

Whole State Stirred.

All of Atlanta—most of the State—is hanging with the most intense interest on the outcome.

No other crime ever stirred Georgia to its depths as has the slaying of the little factory girl.

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Will Not Indict Jim Conley Now, Jury’s Decision

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

The Atlanta Journal

Monday, July 21, 1913

Solicitor Dorsey Makes Brief Announcement to This Effect After Grand Jury Session Lasting Over an Hour


Solicitor Dorsey Will Now Concentrate Efforts Against Having Frank Jury Drawing From Grand Jury List

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey has for a second time blocked an attempt by members of the grand jury to indict James Conley, the negro sweeper, who confessed complicity in the Mary Phagan murder.

The grand jurymen who had called a meeting over the protest of the solicitor to consider taking up a bill against the negro listened to the prosecuting official for more than an hour Monday morning, and then authorized him to announce that the matter will not be taken up at this time.


The solicitor wrote out his statement, which is as follows:

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Grand Jury Meets to Consider Conley Case

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Monday, July 21, 1913

Protest of Solicitor Will Be Heeded

Foreman Declares Inquisitorial Body Will Not Ride “Roughshod” Over Dorsey.

With Solicitor Dorsey reaffirming his certainty that Jim Conley will not be indicted before the tral [sic] of Leo M. Frank and declaring that he will fight with all his vigor any movement in that direction, the Grand Jury members gathered in the Thrower Building Monday morning in response to the call of Foreman Beatie to decide whether they will reopen their investigation of the Phagan murder mystery.

A strong probability that no action would be taken during the day arose when it became known that there were only eighteen of the grand jurors in the city, a bare quorum. In the event that all of the eighteen did not appear, there still was the opportunity to go out and summon talesmen at random to serve on the Grand Jury, but no statement was made as to whether this legal privilege would be exercised.

No Witnesses Called.

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Alan Dershowitz’s Introduction to Dinnerstein’s The Leo Frank Case


By Alan M. Dershowitz

The trial, conviction, death sentence and its commutation and eventual lynching of Leo Frank during the second decade of the twentieth century, constitute a major episode not only in American legal history, but also in the development of American political institutions. The Knights of Mary Phagan, formed to avenge the murder of the young factory worker for which Frank was convicted, became an important component of the twentieth century resurrection of the Ku Klux Klan. The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith was founded in reaction to the anti-Semitism generated – or at least disclosed – by the Frank case.

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Audio Book – The Leo Frank Case: The Lynching of a Guilty Man, part 29

by Philip St. Raymond
for The American Mercury

WITH THIS audio recording, “Leo Frank Case Timeline,” we come to the final section of this important book. In combination with last week’s section setting forth the dramatis personae of this tragic, gripping tale, the listener can put the entire case in proper perspective. And over all these chapters, what an education the listener has received! — in factual accuracy and understanding of the real power vectors involved, far beyond anything even graduate-level courses in American universities, still shamefully wedded to the obviously false ADL/Jewish narrative, can offer on the subject.

In this, the twenty-ninth and last audio segment of this ground-breaking work originally published by the Nation of Islam, part of their series called The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, we begin with the historical context of the times and conclude with the publication of this book, tracing every major event in the case in chronological order. The story of the murder of Mary Phagan and the trials and lynching of Leo Frank is an important story — a story of a murder and a subsequent power struggle — that has affected the fate of black people, white people, and Jews in the United States. It is a story the final chapter of which has yet to be written. This book, if it reaches the people it should reach, will itself shape that final chapter.

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Audio Book – The Leo Frank Case: The Lynching of a Guilty Man, part 28

Here we see Mary Phagan’s mother and sisters, looking somber sometime after their beloved Mary was killed.

by Philip St. Raymond
for The American Mercury

THE TITLE of this section of the book — “Who’s Who in the Leo Frank Case” — might sound like it’s describing a dry, lifeless list of names. But it is not. This is a most valuable and interesting piece for every serious student of the Leo Frank case. It puts all the players into perspective, with brief but significant details about the role of each. It makes an excellent refresher as we near the end of the book. Most striking to me was the fact that, early on in the case, so many Jews — even Jews close to Leo Frank — considered him guilty of the murder of Mary Phagan.

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