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


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.

Continue Reading →

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.

* * *

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

Mrs. Coleman Tells of Cooking Cabbage for Dr. H. F. Harris

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 7th, 1913

Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan, followed Dr. Harris to the stand. She told of cooking an amount of cabbage at the chemists request for his experiments with the four men.

She stated that it had been ground finely as she had prepared it on the day of Mary’s last meal and had boiled it for an hour. She remained on the stand but for a few minutes and was asked but a few questions by either the state or defense.

She was asked to describe Mary’s pocketbook answering that she had already given a description when she first went upon the stand at the opening of the trial.

* * *

Atlanta Constitution, August 7th 1913, “Mrs. Coleman Tells of Cooking Cabbage for Dr. H. F. Harris,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Judge Roan Decides Conley’s Testimony Must Stand

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

Attorney William M. Smith, who clashed in the court room Tuesday with Attorneys for Leo M. Frank, who didn’t want him to consult with client until Conley had finished his testimony.

Atlanta Journal
August 7th, 1913

Defense Asks Mistrial When Crowd in the Court Applauds Announcement of the Decision

Judge Roan, However, Refuses to Stop Trial—Dr. Harris on Stand During Afternoon and Again Asserts that Mary Phagan Suffered Violence Just Before Death—Dalton Called to Corroborate Conley But Court Adjourns Before He Testifies

Dr. H. F. Harris, secretary of the state board of health, was the first witness called for the Wednesday afternoon session after the jury was called into the room. The direct examination under Solicitor Dorsey was resumed.

Dr. Harris again asserted very positively that Mary Phagan had suffered violence of some kind immediately preceding her death, and explained in detail his reasons for reaching this conclusion.

The secretary of the state board of health was excused from the witness stand at 5 o’clock before his cross-examination had been finished. He was very weak, he said in response to the court’s inquiry, and was permitted to stop his testimony, which was resumed Thursday. Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan, was the last witness examined before adjournment.

C. B. Dalton, mentioned by Conley, as having visited the factory in company with two women, was called just before court adjourned but did not testify.

Great excitement prevailed in the court room Wednesday afternoon when Judge L. S. Roan announced his decision to reverse himself on his ruling of Tuesday, striking out parts of Conley’s testimony. From the spectators gallery the crowd cheered the decision, but quieted down after Attorney Arnold, for the defense, made a motion to clear the room. Judge Roan refused to clear the court of spectators but warned the spectators not to repeat the demonstration. Attorney Arnold then moved for a mistrial, in this he was also overruled by the judge.

Judge Roan, in his ruling, held that all of Conley’s testimony would remain in the record of the case and that Solicitor Dorsey would be allowed to introduce witnesses to corroborate the negro’s charges against Frank’s conduct in his presence. As to allowing the Epps boy to testify as to what Mary Phagan told him regarding her fears of Frank, the judge held that inadmissible and the newsie will not be recalled.

When court reconvened at 2 o’clock, Solicitor Dorsey resumed his argument. The solicitor renewed his contention, citing authorities to back it up, that as a general rule failure to make objection to incompetent evidence at the time of introduction is a waiver of that right.

In this instance, said he, the court should hold that the defense had waived the right to object. In case of doubt as to the relevancy of evidence, said he, it should be left to the jury for that body to determined its weight.

The solicitor said that he cited several Georgia cases, among them some very old decisions. The solicitor stated that no fixed rule can be observed regarding the introduction of evidence of acts similar to the crime charged. The law says simply, says he, there must be some logical connection which proves or tends to prove the other. It must be one of a system of mutually dependent crimes, said he.

“I intend to show,” said he, “that this crime was one of a system of mutually dependent crimes.”

The solicitor contended that he had the right to introduce evidence of transactions which serve to illustrate the state of mind of the defendant or his intention or purpose.

“The fact,” he said, “that they are simply crimes, does not make them inadmissible.”


The solicitor asked if he should proceed with argument on his second proposition—involving his right to enter testimony corroborative of Conley’s. Judge Roan told him to proceed with that argument.

While the solicitor argued Attorney Rosser sat in the witness’ chair, lolling back, with his legs crossed, rubbing his head.

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →

Resume of Week’s Evidence Shows Little Progress Made

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 3rd, 1913

Place and Time of the Murder Only Big Facts Brought Out in the Mass of Evidence.

One week of the battle Leo M. Frank, accused of the murder of Mary Phagan in the factory of the National Pencil company, for his life has elapsed, and his fate is yet a question for future developments to decide.

The first week of the trial has been markedly free from sensations.

The two big facts that the week’s evidence would seem to show are that Mary Phagan was murdered in the second floor of the pencil factory, and that she was murdered within one hour after she ate her breakfast at home shortly after 11 o’clock.

The principal features of the week’s evidence are as follows:

Mary’s Mother Testifies.

The examination of witnesses began with the most pathetic scene in the whole week, when Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of the murdered girl, took the stand.

Continue Reading →

Mrs. Coleman Is Recalled To Identify Mary’s Handbag

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 31st, 1913

Mrs. J. W. Coleman was recalled to the stand for only a moment’s interrogation regarding the mesh handbag which she carried with her upon leaving home on the day of the tragedy.

Attorney Rosser asked,

“What kind of bag did Mary carry with her that day?”

“A mesh bag.”

The solicitor asked that she describe its size and shape. Her description was that of an ordinary mesh bag, unornamented and manufactured of silver.

She also identified the handkerchief and parasol as having belonged to the slain child.

Rosser Riddles One of the State’s Chief Witnesses

Solicitor Dorsey is shown in a characteristic attitude as he questions the state’s witnesses. To his right the defendant, Leo M. Frank, is shown.

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

Atlanta Journal
July 31st, 1913

Detective John Black “Goes to Pieces” Under Rapid-Fire Cross-Questioning of Frank’s Attorney at Afternoon Session

Action characterized the Wednesday afternoon session of the Frank trial, and it was the first time the tedious proceedings had taken on life enough to attract more than passing interest.

This action came in the fierce and merciless cross-examination of Detective John Black by Attorney Rosser, leading counsel for the defense. Black has taken a prominent part in the investigation of the Phagan murder, and it was expected that he would prove one of the state’s principal witnesses, but before Mr. Rosser had finished with him he went all to pieces and admitted that he was hopelessly confused.

There were only two witnesses at the afternoon session—Detective Black and J. M. Gantt, the former shipping clerk at the pencil factory. Gantt was on the stand but about twenty minutes and the only two important points in his testimony were assertions that Frank knew Mary Phagan and that Frank seemed to be frightened and very nervous when the witness saw him at the pencil factory door on the evening of the murder.

Continue Reading →

Mother and Daughter in Tears As Clothing of Mary Phagan Is Exhibited in Courtroom

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 30th, 1913

Solicitor Dorsey stood before Detective Starnes at the witness box yesterday afternoon and held to view a lavender frock with a bit of pink ribbon at each shoulder. In the hand that was lowered at his side he held a wee slipper.

“Do you recognize this dress?” he put to the witness.

“I do.”

“To whom did it belong?”

“To Mary Phagan, the girl who was killed in the National Pencil factory.”

Continue Reading →

Trial of Leo M. Frank on Charge of Murder Begins; Mrs. Coleman, George Epps and Newt Lee on Stand

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 29th, 1913


Trial Adjourns for the Day While Lee Is on the Stand, and His Cross-Questioning Will Be Resumed Today.


Jury Is Quickly Secured and Mrs. Coleman, Mother of the Murdered Girl, Is First Witness to Take Stand.

With a swiftness which was gratifying to counsel for the defense, the solicitor general and a large crowd of interested spectators, the trial of Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan on April 26, in the building of the National Pencil factory, was gotten under way Monday.

When the hour of adjournment for the day had arrived, the jury had been selected and three witnesses had been examined. Newt Lee, the nightwatchman who discovered the dead body of Mary Phagan in the basement of the National Pencil factory, and who gave the first news of the crime to the police, was still on the stand, undergoing rigid cross-examination by Luther Z. Rosser, attorney for Frank.

Continue Reading →

Mother’s Sorrow and Newsie’s Wit Play on Emotions at Frank Trial

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

Atlanta Journal
July 29th, 1913

Each of First Three Witnesses In Case Shows Distinct Personality and Entirely Different Side of Human Nature, Some Character Studies

Three of the witnesses who testified Monday afternoon at the Frank trial were more distinct as personalities than the characters you could see portrayed in any theater, except that very tragic one of a criminal court room.

Much testimony and such individuality as that of these witnesses, has kept the court room crowded by at least 200 people during every minute of the Frank trial—crowded with well dressed men who lean forward in their seats, intent on every detail of the trial, every question that the attorneys ask, every answer that the witnesses give.

They are first attracted to the court room by different reasons for curiosity: but they remain because of their common interest in “character.” In having a glimpse of distinct personalities, in seeing the stubbornness with which Newt Lee adheres to his testimony while lawyers try to confound him.


Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan, was first of the three witnesses who testified Monday afternoon. She spoke in a low voice, telling of how her daughter had left home on the day of the murder, and she seemed to have finished her testimony, when a court officer drew forth a suitcase which had been hidden behind several chairs.

Continue Reading →

Lawyers Hammer Lee for Two Hours at Monday Afternoon Session

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

Atlanta Journal
July 29th, 1913

Negro Nightwatchman Who Found Mary Phagan’s Body in National Pencil Factory on Stand—Girl’s Mother and Newsboy Examined

Newt Lee, the negro nightwatchman who found Mary Phagan’s body in the pencil factory basement, was hammered by the defense for over two hours, on the witness stand Monday afternoon.

Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of the murdered child, and George W. Epps, a playmate who came to town with her on the fatal day, testified in that order. Mrs. Coleman being the first witness called to the stand when the trial started.

Newt Lee was the third witness. The testimony of the others had been brief, under direct and cross-examination. Newt Lee’s direct testimony was not extensive, but his evidence under cross-examination by Attorney Luther Rosser filled out the rest of the afternoon, and he still was on the stand under cross-examination when court recessed for the night.

At 3 o’clock court re-convened.

The jury, which had lunched in a downtown restaurant under guard of two deputy sheriffs, and then had been locked in its room, entered court.

Leo M. Frank, the accused, re-entered court and resumed his seat between his wife and his mother.

Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan, the murdered girl, was called as the first witness. She took the stand at 3:05 o’clock.

Continue Reading →

Mary Phagan’s Mother Testifies

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 28th, 1913

Newt Lee Repeats His Story in Court Room

Negro Watchman Swears Frank Acted Oddly Day of Crime

Here are the important developments in the trial of Leo M. Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan.

Jury chosen at 1:30 p. m.

Mrs. Coleman, girl’s mother, takes stand after recess, at 3:15, and tells of Mary leaving for the factory 11:45 a. m. on April 26.

George W. Epps, boy companion of Mary Phagan, repeats his story that he had an engagement to meet her on the afternoon of the fatal day.

Newt Lee, night watchman at the factory, begins his story of the finding of the body and subsequent developments.

Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of murdered Mary Phagan, was the first witness for the prosecution at the trial of Leo Frank Monday afternoon. After answering several questions she broke down completely when the solicitor exhibited the little lavender skirt worn by her daughter when she last saw her alive. She covered her face with a fan and for several minutes could not answer a question.

The first question asked her was:

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →

Frank Hooper Aids Phagan Prosecution

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, June 15, 1913

Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey Announces His Associate in Big Case.

Just before leaving yesterday afternoon for New York, Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey announced that Attorney Frank A. Hooper would be associated with him in the prosecution growing out of the murder of Mary Phagan.

Saying that Mr. Hooper was his personal choice, Dorsey also stated that Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Coleman, parents of the victim, had been consulted and had directed him to employ such counsel as he desired and that his choice of Mr. Hooper satisfied the Colemans.

Attorney Hooper has been a well-known figure at the Atlanta bar for four years. Shortly after coming to this city, he was associated with ex-Governor Joseph M. Terrell, with whom he was connected until the governor’s death. He was for twelve years the solicitor general of the southwestern judicial circuit at Americus, Ga.

Among many notable cases with which he played a conspicuous part were the Childers trial in Americus and the famous Cain murder case in Cordele. He was counsel for the defense in each case. He will be in charge of the solicitor’s affairs which relate to the Phagan case during Mr. Dorsey’s absence on his present trip.

* * *

The Atlanta Constitution, June 15th 1913, “Frank Hooper Aids Phagan Prosecution,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Felder’s Charges of Graft Rotten

George Gentry.

George Gentry.

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

Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, May 25th, 1913

Lanford Declares No Printable Words Can Be Found to Describe Lawyer’s Attack.

“As for Tom Felder’s charges of graft in the police or detective departments,” said Chief Lanford last night, “they are as rotten as we have shown his character to be. There is no printable words that might be used to describe them. All Atlanta knows they are untrue, unfounded and are but the explosions of a distorted brain—a brain deformed by years of treachery, and they call him ‘Colonel’ Felder.

“He directs most of his charges of corruption toward the detective department,” the accused official continued. “There’s a reason. The detective department is responsible for trapping him into the dictagraph [sic] conspiracy. The police department has done but little damage to him and to show him up in his true colors. He should not worry over uniformed men. It’s the detective department that has prodded him.

Police Have Special Squad.

“To anyone who is acquainted with depar[t]mental operations, it is a known fact that the detectives have nothing whatever to do with the enforcement of laws pertaining to disorderly houses. The sleuths could not afford to take a chance in such cases. The police have a special squad to attend to this duty. Felder says he has seen a graft list of the detective department, in which are contained the names of lewd resorts under protection of the detective department.

“How absurd this all is. I gave him credit for having at least brains enough to know something of the workings of the police. The detectives have not the slightest opportunity to graft from disorderly houses in case such a condition was in existence. This alone is sufficient to prove that his charges are without foundation. Continue Reading →

Coleman Affidavit Which Police Say Felder Wanted

Coleman Affidavit

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

Atlanta Constitution

Saturday, May 24th, 1913

State of Georgia, Fulton County: The affiant, J. W. Coleman and wife, citizens of Atlanta, Ga., who reside at 146 Lindsay street.

The affiant is the stepfather of Mary Phagan, deceased, the child who was foully murdered by a hellish brute on April 26, 1913.

The affiant is in the employ of the City of Atlanta in the Sanitary department.

The affiant, while at the police station during the coroner’s inquest, the exact day he does not remember, was approached by a man somewhat under the influence of liquor, and said to the affiant, “I am working for the law firm of T. B. Felder, and I would like to have you go to his office, as he wants to see you, and I advise you to employ him.” Affiant said, “No, I won’t go to his office.” The Piker then said, “will you talk to Colonel Felder if I bring him here?” whereupon the affiant agreed to see him. He went off and came back in a few minutes with Felder. Colonel Felder then said, “I want you to employ me to prosecute this case, it will not cost you a cent, as certain people have promised to pay me my fee, but I have go to have your consent to the employment before I can get into the coroner’s jury.” The affiant told him he did not want to employ him and did not want to have anything to do with him, as the affiant did not know him and had never seen him before that day, and affiant did not employ him, nor did the affiant’s wife employ him, and the only information the affiant ever had that he was employed was what he read in the newspapers.

Affiant has many good neighbors, and he appreciates their sympathy for him and his broken-hearted wife, but he cannot see how they would come to employ Colonel Felder without his knowledge or consent.

A man met the affiant on the street and offered him one dollar to go upon the fee of this astute counsel, but he declined to accept it and told the party he had not employed Felder.

Affiant is thoroughly satisfied with the great work done by Chief of Police Beavers and Chief of Detectives Lanford and the able men working under them, as he believes, as thousands of others do in Atlanta, that they have the real murderer in jail, and the affiant cannot reconcile himself to the conduct of Colonel Felder, who is posing as a prosecuting attorney, and wanting $5,000 from the people of the city as set out in the afternoon’s papers, to bring a noted detective here, and according to the press of the city, large amounts have been subscribed by people the affiant does not believe are anxious to prosecute the men under arrest. 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 →

T. B. Felder Repudiates Report of Activity for Frank

TB Felder

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

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, May 21st, 1913

Stories That He Was Retained by Prisoner’s Friends Silly, He Declares.

Mystery piles up upon mystery in the Phagan case.

Colonel Thomas B. Felder was asked Wednesday afternoon by The Georgian to reply to rumors circulating on the street, all making the general charge that he had been retained by friends of Leo Frank, prisoner in the Phagan case, and that his object in bringing the great detective, William J. Burns, here, was not to aid the prosecution.

Colonel Felder said:

“Any stories to that effect are silly and ridiculous—if nothing worse. Anybody who knows me or Mr. Burns knows that we would not lend ourselves to any scheme to block justice. Mr. Burns in hunting down a criminal can not be stopped. He could have made a million dollars by listening to the importunities of friends of the McNamaras in the dynamiting cases, but he is above price.”

Loath to Discuss Rumors.

Mr. Felder said that he was loath to discuss the rumors on the street because he wanted to avoid injecting into the case any issues that might impede a speedy solution of the mystery.

He stated also that he had never said he was retained by the family of the dead girl, but that a committee of citizens had been the moving spirits in getting him to take hold and using his influence to bring Burns’ talents to bear on the case. Continue Reading →

Mother Thinks Police Are Doing Their Best

Mary Phagan's mother, Fannie Phagan Coleman (center), with her family in Atlanta, 1902. She holds Mary (right) and another child. Mary Phagan's older sister, Ollie Mae, stands at front left.

Mary Phagan’s mother, Fannie Phagan Coleman (center), with her family in Atlanta, 1902. She holds Mary (right) and another child. Mary Phagan’s older sister, Ollie Mae, stands at front left.

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

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, May 13th, 1913

Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of little 14-year-old Mary Phagan, prostrated with grief for sixteen days following the tragic slaying of her child, took up her household duties Tuesday for the first time, resigned to the calamity that has befallen her home, and relying on the law to avenge the death of her child.

“It was such a beautiful morning,” said Mrs. Coleman to a Georgian reporter, “and I have been able to rest now for three nights, so I felt like doing my work again. My house has been in such a turmoil since this dreadful tragedy. I feel I am helpless and have resigned myself to the sad lot that has befallen us. All we can do is wait, and waiting is a hard task.

No Complaint of Police.

“Don’t misunderstand me, I am complaining about what the officers are doing. It is far better to go slow and be sure that we are doing right than to hurry and make a mistake. I believe that the police and the solicitor are doing everything they can to find the guilty man. They ought to do it; such a crime ought to be punished. But I do not want them to make a mistake.

“I heard that feeling was very strong last week, but I am glad that no hasty action was taken. It might have been all wrong, and I think I would have been grieved as much as anybody.

“We have made many inquiries among our friends and acquaintances and have not found one who saw Mary after 12 o’clock Saturday, when she went to the factory to get her pay. So much seems to depend on that point, and if anyone did see her, he certainly ought to tell about it. It does look like if Mary were on the streets Saturday afternoon, as many friends as we have, some of them would have seen her. We do not believe she ever left the factory.” Continue Reading →