Mother of Frank Denounces Solicitor Dorsey in Court

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 14th, 1913


Solicitor Dorsey Was Cross-Examining Ashley Jones, a Witness Who Had Been Testifying to the Good Character of the Prisoner, and Had Just Asked Him if He Had Not Heard of Frank Taking Liberties With Little Girls Out at Druid Hills Some Time Ago.


Large Part of Wednesday’s Testimony Was Consumed in an Effort on Part of the State to Break Down the Testimony Given by Lemmie Quinn—Dr. William K. Owen Takes the Stand in Afternoon to Tell How Story of Conley Was Reenacted at National Pencil Company Factory.

There was one brief dramatic moment in the Frank trial Wednesday—so dramatic and full of heart interest that spectators were stirred as they have not been since the trial began.

Solicitor Dorsey was cross-questioning Ashley Jones, a character witness for Frank. He asked him if he had not heard of Frank taking liberties with little girls out at Druid Hills.

“No, and you never did—you dog!” exclaimed Mrs. Rae Frank, mother of the accused young man, as she partially rose from her seat and faced Solicitor Dorsey.

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Court Stirred by Outburst From Leo Frank’s Mother

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

Atlanta Journal
August 14th, 1913

Defense Character Witness Is Used by Solicitor to Get Suggestions Before Jury

Solicitor Mentions Names of Many Persons, Who Will Probably be Put Up in Rebuttal to Attack Frank’s Conduct as Related to Woman Employes of Factory—Mrs. Rae Frank, Mother of the Accused, Creates a Sensation Shouting at the Solicitor.

Court adjourned at 5:40 until 9 o’clock Thursday morning.

The trial of Leo M. Frank took another sensational turn Wednesday afternoon when Solicitor Dorsey began, through his questions to John Ashley Jones, put up as a character witness by the defense, a vigorous attack upon the character of Frank. The solicitor hurled one sensational question at the witness after the other.

“You’ve never heard L. T. Coursey and Miss Myrtis Cator tell about Frank walking into the dressing room?” shouted the solicitor.

“You never heard how he tried to put his arms around Miss Myrtis Cator?”
“You never heard about his looking at poor little Gordie Jackson?”
“You didn’t hear of what he tried to do to Luis McDonald and Rachel Prater, did you?”
“And you didn’t know about Mrs. Pearl Dodson hitting him with a monkey wrench?”
To all of these questions the witness answered in the negative. The solicitor proceeded with others, asking the witness if he had ever talked to Mrs. G. D. Dunnegan and Marian Dunnegan or to Mrs. Wingard, of 45 Mills street.

It is inferred that the solicitor expects to put up the persons mentioned to testify in rebuttal against Frank’s good character.

Mr. Dorsey drew from Mr. Jones, who is an insurance agent, the admission that he had written to the grand jury, urging an indictment of Jim Conley. Mr. Jones said he did so because his insurance company had written a policy for Frank and before issuing it had made a thorough investigation of his character and found it to be good.

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State Wants Wife and Mother Excluded

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 14th, 1913

Call New Witnesses to Complete Alibi


Nearly a score more of alibi witnesses were to be called by the defense in the Frank trial when court opened Thursday morning. Frank’s attorneys thought that they would not be able to coincide before the early part of next week.

A number of character witnesses also will be called before the defense ends its case in behalf of the factory superintendent.

Solicitor Dorsey, before the jury was brought in, said he wanted to make a request that the mother and wife of Leo M. Frank be excluded from the court as the witnesses have been because of the outbreak of the elder Mrs. Frank Wednesday afternoon.

“I appreciate the feeling of the wife and mother,” he said, “it is a terrible strain on them. I am sorry for them. But I must have protection and I think they should be excluded when we are subjected to outbreaks like that of yesterday.”

Attorney Reuben in reply said:

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Frank’s Mother Stirs Courtroom

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 13th, 1913

Leaps to Defense of Son at Dorsey’s Question


A sensation was created in the courtroom during the cross-examination of Ashley Jones by Solicitor Dorsey at the Frank trial when Mrs. Rea [sic] Frank, mother of the defendant, sprang to her feet with a denial of intimations made by the Solicitor reflecting on her son.

“Mr. Jones, you never heard of Frank having girls on his lap in the office?” Dorsey had asked.

“No; nor you neither!” cried Frank’s mother.

“Keep quiet, keep quiet; I am afraid you will have to sit here and listen to this a long time,” said the Solicitor.

Mrs. Frank broke into tears and was assisted from the room, crying: “My God, my God!”

Mother and Wife Set With Bowed Heads.

The Solicitor’s examination of Jones had been of a most sensational nature and during the portion of it leading up to the interruption by Mrs. Frank the mother of the defendant and her daughter sat with lowered heads listening to the questions and answers.

Following the outbreak, Attorney Arnold jumped to his feet and shouted: “Your honor, this is outrageous. We are not responsible for the lies and slanders that cracked-brain extremists have circulated since this murder occurred.”

“I will rule that the Solicitor can not ask anything that he has heard since the murder,” replied Judge Roan. “He can ask on this cross-examination what happened before.”

“Your honor,” returned Solicitor Dorsey, “I am not four-flushing about this. I am going to present a witness to prove the charges.

Attorney Arnold interrupted the speaker.

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Ordeal is Borne with Reserve by Franks

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

Wife and Mother of the Accused Pencil Factory Superintendent Sit Calmly Through Trial.


Women are brought into a court room, as all the world knows, for one of two purposes. Their presence may have a moral effect in softening the heart of a juror, particularly if they be young, pretty or wistful of countenance. Or they may be there on the affectionate mission of cheering and encouraging a beloved defendant.

Two women sat with Leo Frank through all the hot, weary days of last week. Their object was the one or the other. Which?

A study of these women was the answer. Everybody studied them. Everybody knew that love and trust inspired them. Whether Frank be innocent or guilty, to his credit be it said that he is loved by the women closest to him.

His mother was one of the two, a woman on whose face was written plainly the story of a life in which there was much of grief, much of the tenderest joy, much of loving and being loved.

Tragedy in Mother’s Face.

Her eyes were sad. Her features never lost their tragic composure. But it was plain that smiles had come often to her in the course of her life. The face is common to mothers.

The other woman was his wife, a robust, wholesome young woman. Her face was the placid face of one whose life has been pleasant. No unhappy event had come to mar a single feature. None of the troubles that had been the mother’s had come to her until this calamity.

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Trial is No Ordeal for Me, Says Frank’s Mother

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

Atlanta Journal
July 30th, 1913

She Declares Her Confidence in Son’s Innocence Makes It Easy for Her

“My son never looked stronger than at this moment,” said Mrs. Ray Frank, of Brooklyn, Wednesday morning. “The trial isn’t telling upon him because he isn’t worrying. He is confident because of his innocence and because of his certainty of an acquittal.

“Neither his wife nor myself is anxious. Of course, we feel the heat and it is tiring to sit here in the court room throughout the day. But, like my son, we are not afraid. Why should we be? We know that he is innocent and we know that, because of this fact, he will be acquitted.

“I, his mother, know that he is free from all guilt of the charge upon which he is being tried, and that this trial can have only one result—his acquittal.

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Frank’s Mother Pitiful Figure of the Trial

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 30th, 1913

Defendant Perfect in Poise, His Wife Picture of Contemptuous Confidence.


Arm akimbo; glasses firmly set, changing position seldom, Leo M. Frank sits through his trial with his thoughts in Kamchatka, Terra del Fuego, or the Antipodes, so far as the spectators in the courtroom can judge.

He may realize that if the twelve men he faces decide that he is guilty of the murder of Mary Phagan, the decree of earthly court will be that his sole hope of the future will be an appeal to the Court on High. His mind may constantly carry the impression of the likelihood of the solemn reading of the death warrant, the awful march to the death chamber, the sight of the all terrifying gibbet, the dreadful ascension of its steel stairs, the few words of religious consolation—and then the drop.

Frank’s Face a Mask.

But if he does realize these things, his face is as completely masked against emotion as that of a skilled poker player.

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Negro’s Affidavit Not Given Much Credence

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

Atlanta Journal

Thursday, June 5th, 1913

Even the City Detectives, It Is Said, Attach Very Little Importance to Document

Very little importance, it is said, is attached by the city detectives to the sensational and incoherent affidavit of Minola McKnight, the negro cook at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Emil Selig, 68 East Georgia avenue, where Leo M. Frank, the pencil factory superintendent, and his wife reside.

Attorney Luther Rosser, chief counsel for the indicted superintendent, read the affidavit with apparent amusement. He had no comment to make, but it was evident that Mr. Rosser did not regard the affidavit seriously.

Mr. and Mrs. Selig and Mrs. Frank read the affidavit in The Journal, and although they would make no statement for publication, they appeared to view the negro woman’s testimony as absurd and ridiculous on the face of it.

But little of the cook’s testimony, even should she stick to her story until the day of the trial, will be admissible in court. It is largely alleged hearsay evidence and, therefore, barred.

The woman, in her affidavit, swears that Frank came home to lunch on the Saturday of the Mary Phagan murder, about 1:30; that he did not eat anything and that he remained only about ten minutes. If the negress knows of her own knowledge that this is true she can so testify in court. However, Mr. Selig, Frank’s father-in-law, will swear as he did before the coroner’s inquest, that Frank ate lunch with him and afterwards lay down on a lounge for a nap. Mrs. Selig will reiterate her testimony at the inquest, which was to the effect that Frank came home about 1:30 o’clock and that she and her daughter, Mrs. Frank, were dressed and ready to go to a grand opera matinee; that soon after his arrival they left.

The McKnight woman, in her affidavit, declares that some time on Sunday she overheard Mrs. Frank tell her mother, Mrs. Selig, that Frank came home drunk the night before, that he was very restless and acted queerly; that he told her (Mrs. Frank) that he was in trouble and begged her to get his pistol in order that he might kill himself. Continue Reading →

Mother Here to Aid Frank in Trial


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

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, June 5th, 1913

With the time when Leo M. Frank will go on trial for the murder of Mary Phagan rapidly approaching, perhaps no greater reinforcement to the accused pencil factory superintendent in facing his ordeal has been made than that in the person of his mother, who is now in Atlanta at the Selig home.

Mrs. Frank came on from Brooklyn, where she makes her home, and where Frank himself formerly resided. She will remain until after the trial.

A woman of considerable age, Mrs. Frank has shown wonderful bravery in coming to share her son’s burden.

Stands by Son.

Mrs. Frank has taken her place in the Selig household as the pillar of cheerfulness and hope, friends of the family declare. Her unbounded confidence in the ultimate release of her son, despite the horrible accusations made against him, is said to have prove the saving grace of the stricken household.

Since her arrival the mother has thrown aside every interest except that centered in her son. She reads everything that is obtainable regarding the Phagan case and is as well posted on it as anyone of the many who have followed the local reports of the mystery since its start.

Mrs. Frank has visited her son and at the of her son’s parents-in-law comforted them and their daughter.

Mrs. Frank is a woman of rare intelligence and understanding. She has introduced many variations into the Selig home to draw off the monotony of discussion, which has paralyzed all else in the family. Continue Reading →