Detective Harry Scott’s Hunch — Thrilling Story of How it Secured James Conley’s Confession

Caption reads: Detective Harry Scott (in Panama hat), of the Pinkertons, who played the hunch that Jim Conley, the negro, knew something of the girl’s murder. The accompanying figure is Detective John Black, of police headquarters, whose work in co-operation with the Pinkerton man did much to solve the crime. Great dependence will be put in their testimony at the coming trial of Leo Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan.

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, July 13, 1913

By Britt Craig.

Have you ever had a hunch that there wasn’t anybody around the table that held a higher hand than your Jacks over tens and consequently you shoved a ‘blue’ to the mahogany with the result that every hostile hand went to the discard?

Have you ever had a hunch that it was going to rain and you pulled in the rugs and took the clothes off the line and let down the windows just in time to see the elements express themselves in a downpour?

Have you ever had a hunch of any kind—one of those real, undeniable inner promptings that chases round and round in your bonnet and worries the life out of you and invariably forces you to do something that you really intended doing but about which you were sorely undecided?

If you’re human, you have.

Detective Harry Scott had one about Jim Conley, the negro sweeper in the Phagan mystery. It was one of those irresistible hunches that buzzes about like a June bug. He took it for its word with the result that he found the key that is predicted to unlock the secret of Atlanta’s most hideous murder.

Detectives are very normal beings. They have hunches like the weakest of us. They’re superstitious, too. You can’t find a single one that will walk under a ladder or fail to knock wood when he brags about himself.

A hunch is one of the most common of human afflictions. It is the very essence of a frailty that affects every normal somebody. The very fact that it is a weakness requires a nerve of steel and backbone of similar fortitude to play one to the limit like Detective Scott played his.

Good detectives, like genius, are utterly human. Genius frequently stalks about in its shirt sleeves without a shave and wearing suspenders. It has been known to chew tobacco and cuss volubly. Sometimes, it has a red nose and a thirst. It can sleep as contentedly on Decatur street as on Peachtree.

Detectives Very Human.

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Mincey’s Story Jolts Police to Activity

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Friday, July 11, 1913

*Editor’s Note: The following column ran in the final edition of the Georgian with the title “Georgian’s Story Stirs Officials to Action,” and contains the following bracketed text in lieu of the first two paragraphs and preceding sub-headline.

[Mincey Affidavit Leads to Another Cross-Examination of Phagan Case Suspect.

[As a result of the publication by The Georgian exclusively Thursday of the sensational affidavit of W.H. Mincey, the insurance agent, which declared that Jim Conley had confessed on the afternoon of the Phagan murder, that he had killed a little girl, the negro sweeper was again put on the grill late Friday afternoon. The cross-examination was conducted by Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey personally at the police station and was attended by utmost secrecy.

[Conley was taken into the Police Commissioners’ room on the second floor of the station house by a circuitous route to avoid being seen. In the room awaiting him were the Solicitor, his assistant, Frank J. Hooper, and Chief of Detectives Lanford. The negro was questioned for more than an hour. The result of the inquiry was not made known.

[That Mincey’s affidavit is of the utmost importance became obvious with this latest move by the prosecution. Undoubtedly its startling accusations, directing guilt at the negro, have shown themselves to the State to have foundation of more strength than Mr. Dorsey and his colleagues have so far cared to admit.]

Steps Taken Immediately to Discredit Affidavit Published Exclusively in The Georgian.

The Georgian’s exclusive publication of the sensational details of the W.H. Mincey affidavit, in which Jim Conley was alleged to have confessed to the killing of a girl the afternoon that Mary Phagan was slain, created a big stir Friday in police circles and immediate efforts were made to discredit the accusations against the negro.

Detectives set out at once on a still hunt for Mincey. Lines were thrown out to produce witnesses who would swear that Mincey’s word was not to be depended upon. The detective force, which virtually had been resting on its oars in the Phagan case for several weeks, was galvanized into action by the startling charges made in the affidavit of Mincey, which was first made public by The Georgian.

Police Deny Being Told.

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Slaying Charge for Conley Is Expected

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Friday, July 11, 1913

Speedy Indictment of Negro Is Likely Following Publication of Mincey Affidavit.

The speedy indictment of Jim Conley on the charge of murdering Mary Phagan was the strong possibility discussed in court circles Friday following the sensational turn given the strangling mystery by The Georgian’s publication Thursday of the accusation of William H. Mincey, an insurance solicitor, that he had heard the negro boast on the afternoon of the crime of killing a girl.

For nearly two months a self-confessed accessory after the fact of the murder of the little factory girl, Conley has been allowed to go without an attempt at bringing an indictment against him. The startling new evidence which indicates most strongly, if the credibility of the defense’s witness can be established, that Conley was not the accessory after the fact, but the actual principal in the crime, is expected to result in a thorough investigation by the Grand Jury of all the rumors and stories which have been in circulation of the negro’s connection with the pencil factory tragedy.

Counsel Relies on Mincey.

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Agent Claims Conley Confessed to Murder

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

The Atlanta Journal

Friday, July 11, 1913

Detectives Deny That Mincey Told Them of Alleged Confession of Negro

In the possession of the attorneys for the defense of Leo M. Frank is an affidavit of William H. Mincey, formerly an insurance agent working in Atlanta, who declares that the negro, James Conley, while drunk on the afternoon of April 26, admitted and even boasted to him that he had killed a girl that day.

The admission is alleged by Mincey’s affidavit to have been made when he met Conley, whom he knew, in the negro quarter, and attempted to sell him insurance.

The negro became enraged, the affidavit recites, and told him (Mincey) that he (Conley) didn’t want to have to kill another person that day, as he had already killed a little girl.

The affidavit is said to further recite that Mincey offered, a day or two after the killing of Mary Phagan, his information to the city police, who refused to consider it. The affidavit is also said to recite that Mincey visited Conley at police headquarters and there again definitely identified him as the man who boasted on April 26 of having killed the girl.

N. A. Lanford, chief of the city detectives, and Harry Scott, of the Pinkertons, who has been working on the case, declare that they first heard of Mincey on the day of Conley’s second confession of complicity.

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Conley Not Right Man, Says Mincey

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Friday, July 11, 1913

Insurance Man Who Made Affidavit Says Conversation Was With Some Other Negro—Saw Conley at Station.

It was disclosed Thursday afternoon that William H. Mincey, the insurance agent who has made an affidavit to the effect that Jim Conley on the date of the Phagan murder drunkenly admitted that he had slain a girl had appeared at police headquarters during Conley’s grilling and had positively failed to identify the negro.

This was told a Constitution reporter by Detective Harry Scott of the Pinkertons and Detective Chief Newport Lanford. The insurance agent, they declared, had come to the police station while Conley was being cross-examined and had asked to see the prisoner.

He wanted to see if he could identify Conley as the negro whom he had seen drunk at the corner of Electric and Carter streets on the afternoon of Saturday, April 26. He was admitted to Conley’s presence. After asking the negro a number of questions pertaining to a conversation he had held with the black encountered at Electric and Carter streets, Mincey, the detectives assert, declared he could not identify the suspect.

He’s not the man I saw, Lanford and Scott say the insurance man declared.

Conley was asked by Mincey on that date if he had not talked with him about the issuance of a life insurance policy. Conley denied having ever seen the man. Mincey, the detectives say, was positive in his declaration that Conley was not the negro with whom he had held the conversation.

Did Not Approach Detectives

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No Finger Prints Found by Expert on Phagan Envelope

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

The Atlanta Journal

Thursday, July 10, 1913

Examination of Portion of Slain Girl’s Pay Envelope Fails to Throw Any Light on the Murder Mystery


Fight for Release of Newt Lee on Habeas Corpus Resumed and Hearing Will Be Given Saturday Morning

That the murderer of Mary Phagan can never be identified by finger prints on the pay envelope found in the factory, and the “re-setting” of Newt Lee’s habeas corpus for 10 o’clock. Saturday morning, were two important developments of the sensational murder mystery Thursday.

According to Attorney Bernard L. Chappell, of Graham & Chappell, counsel for the negro night watchman, fifty witnesses among them the negro James Conley, confessed accomplice, and Leo M. Frank, accused of the crime, will be subpenaed for the habeas corpus hearing.

It is known that the solicitor general, Hugh M. Dorsey, will oppose the release from the Tower of Lee on the ground that he is a material witness.

Counsel for Frank will take no part in the fight to secure the release of Lee, but Attorney Reuben R. Arnold stated when the case was postponed that he would oppose any effort to bring Frank into the court for the habeas corpus hearing.

It is said that the counsel for Frank will oppose bringing him to the court on the ground that it is not lawful to force a defendant to give any testimony which relates to or bears on the crime for which he is to be tried.

This, as a result, will prevent the much talked of meeting of Frank and Conley.

According to the attorney for Lee, subpenas will be issued to the many detectives who have worked on the case, to the solicitor general and to the foreman of the grand jury that failed to indict Lee.


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Mary Phagan Pay Envelope Found

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

The Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, July 9, 1913


Finding of Portion of Salary Envelope Bearing Victim’s Name Expected to Strengthen Defense’s Contention


Find Was Made by Pinkertons Just Three Weeks After the Murder, but Was Kept a Secret Until Wednesday.

The pay envelope, which was the quest of Mary Phagan’s visit to the National Pencil factory on April 26, when she met her death, has been found.

At least enough of the envelope to definitely identify it is in the hands of the authorities.

The upper corner of the pay envelope, bearing the name of the victim of the sensational murder mystery, was found on the first floor of the factory by Pinkerton detectives three weeks after the commission of the crime.

While attorneys for the defense and the prosecution have known of the find for weeks, the fact only became public Wednesday.

The corner of the pay envelope was found on the first floor of the factory, behind a radiator, about 15 feet from the stairway and about 8 feet from the place, where James Conley, the negro sweeper, says he sat for more than an hour on the day of the tragedy.

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New Frank Evidence Held by Dorsey

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Friday, June 27, 1913

Solicitor Closely Guards Data of Which City Detectives Have No Knowledge.

New activity was injected into the Phagan case Friday when James Conley, negro sweeper at the National Pencil Factory, was removed secretly from his cell in police station and closely questioned by Frank Hooper, who will aid Solicitor Dorsey in the prosecution of Leo Frank.

The move was surrounded with the utmost secrecy. The negro was taken from his cell by Detective Starnes, and behind locked doors questioned anew in the room used by the Police Commissioners. He had been in for many minutes before the action became known.

Mr. Hooper asked Conley various new questions, and after the quizzing was over hurried away from the police station.

Dorsey Has New Evidence.

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Col. Felder Ridicules Idea of Grand Jury Investigation of City Detectives’ Charges


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

Atlanta Journal

Tuesday, May 27th, 1913

Declares Chief Beavers Is Only Bluffing, and That if All the Allegations Made by the Police Were True, It Wouldn’t Be a Case for the Grand Jury, as He Has Violated No Law in Seeking Evidence of Corruption In Police Department


He Expects the Solicitor’s Co-operation — James Conley Is Identified by Mrs. Arthur White as the Negro She Saw Lurking Near the Elevator of the Pencil Factory on Day of the Tragedy—“This Is H— of a Family Row and No Place for a Stranger,” Says Tobie

Colonel Thomas B. Felder Tuesday ridiculed the statement of Police Chief James L. Beavers that he would insist upon the grand jury making a searching investigation of the charges against Colonel Felder and also the countercharges published by the latter against the police and detective departments.

Colonel Felder appeared to be very much amused while discussing Chief Beavers’ declaration, which he branded as bluff and bluster. “I don’t believe Beavers has the least idea of going b[e]fore the grand jury,” he said, “but even should he do so there is nothing for the grand jury t[o] consider.

“If all the charges which the police and detectives have made against me were true no law has been violated. I have a perfect right to seek truthful evidence from whatever source I may choose.

“If the grand jury cares to investigate my charges against the police and detective departments I will have no hesitancy in supplying it with a list of the disorderly houses and gambling places which are operated in Atlanta without police interference, and an amazingly long list it will be, too.

“Why, there are more houses of an immoral character in the territory between the Baptist Tabernacle and the governor’s mansion than ever existed in the old segregated district, and places of this kind are scattered throughout the city, no section being immune from them. Continue Reading →

Pinkerton Man Says Frank is Guilty

Pinkerton Man Says Frank GuiltyAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, May 26th, 1913

Pencil Factory Owners Told Him Not to Shield Superintendent, Scott Declares.

Harry Scott, assistant superintendent of the Pinkertons, announced Monday his belief that Leo M. Frank was responsible for the slaying of 14-year-old Mary Phagan April 26. He added that his agency had been working on this theory from the time its services were engaged by officials of the National Pencil Company, two days after the crime.

Scott previously had said the Pinkertons were on the case to find the guilty man, even though it might be Frank. His latest statement is believed to have been prompted by the attack on the Pinkertons by Colonel Thomas B. Felder.

Mr. Scott declared he not only believed Frank responsible for the killing, but that he proposed to lay his evidence before the court and assist in the prosecution of the factory superintendent. He is in possession, he said, of considerable evidence which has not been made public.

Soon after the investigation was undertaken, Scott says he went to the men employing him and asked if he was supposed to protect Frank. He said if he was he would have to throw up the job. He was told, he said, that he had been engaged to find the guilty man, whoever he might be. It was on this assurance the Pinkertons continued the investigation, according to Scott.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, May 26th 1913, “Pinkerton Man Says Frank is Guilty,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Frank is Guilty, Says Pinkerton

sept_harry-scottAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution

Monday, May 26th, 1913

Sufficient Evidence Found to Convict Him, Declares Man Hired by the National Pencil Company.

Announcing that he had secured evidence sufficient to convict his employer Harry Scott, assistant superintendent of the Pinkertons, who has been retained by the National Pencil company since the second day of the Phagan tragedy, said to a reporter for The Constitution Sunday night that it was his intention to help prosecute the suspected superintendent.

Scott has been in command of the Pinkerton forces working on the investigation. His employment came about in answer to a telephone call from Frank on Monday morning following the murder. He was engaged, he states, for the sole purpose of finding the murderer.

Scott’s Connection With Case.

His connection with the case was explained once before when he was called to the stand at the coroner’s inquest. The Constitution Sunday morning published an exclusive story explaining that although Scott was employed by Frank’s defense, and although reports of the Pinkertons daily progress were submitted to the prisoner’s counsel he was working on the theory that Frank was guilty. Continue Reading →

“I Have No Proof of Bribery in Phagan Case,” Says Chief

I have no ProofAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Monday, May 26th, 1913

Chief Detective Declares He Has No Direct Evidence of Attempt to Influence Witnesses, as Published


His Statement That He Wrote Notes at Frank’s Dictation a Disturbing Element—Search for Evidence Continues

Chief of Detectives Lanford positively denied to The Journal Monday afternoon that he has secured any proof of efforts to bribe witnesses in the Phagan case proper.

The official made this statement, when questioned about the numerous rumors and reports of bribery of witnesses, some of which have been published and given general circulation.

Chief Lanford states that he is in possession of no affidavits relating to attempts to bribe Phagan witnesses, nor has he proof of any sort, he says, which would show that friends of the man indicted for the murder or anyone else, had sought to bribe any witness.

Chief Lanford says, however, that he personally believes that efforts to influence witnesses have been made, and that he is vigorously probing the rumors.

The indictment of Leo M. Frank, on a charge of murdering Mary Phagan has not halted the several investigations of the case. Monday morning neither the city detectives, the Pinkertons nor the Burns forces ceased their efforts to unearth new and cumulative evidence in the case.

The principal efforts of the detectives are now as they have been since from the beginning, directed towards securing evidence to building up the state case against the factory superintendent. Continue Reading →

New Witnesses in Phagan Case Found by Police

New Witnesses

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

Atlanta Constitution

Monday, May 26th, 1913

Reported Two Telephone Operators Will Swear to Conversations Held Over the Pencil Factory’s Line.


A. S. Colyar Confers With Chief Beavers on Bribery Allegations—Case Now in Its Infancy, Says Chief.

With the entire city aroused over the recent sensational Felder bribery charges and counter charges of graft and corruption in the police department, investigation of the Mary Phagan mystery continues. Police headquarters was elated Sunday over the progress and over new developments which have arisen.

New testimony has been given by girl telephone operators relative to conversations which were held over the pencil factory’s line on the night of the tragedy, Chief Lanford says. Secrecy shrouds the nature of the alleged conversations. No one acquainted with the evidence will talk. It is hinted to be the strongest yet secured.

No one acquainted with the evidence will talk. It is hinted to be the strongest yet unearthed.

Coupled with this development comes the rumor of a telephone call reported to have been made on the Friday morning preceding the murder, in which Mary Phagan is said to have been instructed to come to the pencil factory Friday afternoon to obtain her pay envelope. Detectives will neither deny nod [sic] admit that the rumor has been confirmed.

Phone Message to Pope.

J. B. Pope, of Bellwood avenue, a county policeman and neighbor of the slain girl, to whom the rumored telephone message was made, could not be reached last night by The Constitution. Mrs. Pope says she knows nothing of the report, but says numerous calls came to her home for Mary Phagan and members of her family. Continue Reading →

C. W. Tobie, Burns’ Agent, Tells of the Conferences He Held With A. S. Colyar

CW Tobie

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

Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, May 25th, 1913

following affidavit concerning his connection with the Phagan case and with A. S. Colyar.

Georgia, Fulton County—Personally appeared before the undersigned, an officer authorized by law to administer oaths, C. W. Tobie, who, first, being duly sworn, deposes and says:

That he is a citizen of Chicago, with offices in the First National Bank building of that city, and that he is manager of the criminal department, west, of the William J. Burns National Detective agency; that he has occupied this position for the past ten months; that he has been connected with the William J. Burns National Detective agency, as manager of the Kansas City, Mo., branch office, since May, 1910; that for a year prior to that time he was connected with the Tilletson Detective agency, correspondents of the William J. Burns National Detective agency; that prior to that time deponent was connected with the Pinkerton National Detective agency for a period of nine years; that he severed his connection with the Pinkerton National Detective agency in May, 1909.

Charge Is False.

Deponent says, on oath, that the statement that he was discharged by said agency is utterly, absolutely and deliberately false; that he resigned from said agency, and not under compulsion, but of his own volition. Continue Reading →

Chief Lanford Calls Felder’s Charges False

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

Atlanta Journal

Sunday, May 25th, 1913

Denies That Police Have Suppressed Evidence in the Phagan Mystery

Chief of Detectives Newport Lanford when apprised of Colonel Felder’s statement as issued Saturday afternoon to the effect that the police had plotted to protect and shield the slayers of Mary Phagan, pronounced the charges as absurd as they were false.

In replying to Colonel Felder’s assertion that Chief Lanofor[d] and some of the men on the detective force hda [sic] leagued themselves with the Pinkertons to suppress evidence in the Phagan case the minute Leo M. Frank and Newt Lee were placed under arrest, Chief Lanford said:

“The people of Atlanta themselves can judge just how much evidence we have suppressed on Frank and Lee from the result of the Phagan investigation thus far. Our efforts have been to find the slayer of Mary Phagan at any event and we believe that we have succeeded.

“The mere fact that my men worked with the Pinkertons spells nothing sinister. The Pinkertons are employed by the National Pencil company, it is true, but they are obligated only to find the murderer of Mary Phagan. Like the city detective department the Pinkertons believe they have succeeded.

“At any event, no matter what Tom Felder may charge against this or any other department of the police, future developments in the Phagan case will vindicate utterly the position of the police.


On Colonel Felder’s accusation that the affidavit of J. W. Coleman, imputed to repudiate Felder’s employment in the case, was forced from Coleman by Chief Lanford, the head of the detectives said: Continue Reading →

Frame-Up Aimed at Burns’ Men, Says Tobie

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

Atlanta Georgian

Saturday, May 24th, 1913

Denouncing A. S. Colyar as an “eagle-beaked crook,” W. C. Tobie, the Burns detective who is here making an investigation of the Phagan case, declared on Saturday that the charges of bribery and double-dealing brought against Felder were a frame-up concocted by the Pinkerton Detective Agency and the Atlanta Police Department, with these three ends in view:

To discredit the Burns Agency.

To drive the Burns Agency from the State of Georgia.

To discredit Colonel Felder because he employed Burns men.

Tobie charges also that Colyar was used as the “capper” in the frame-up. He declares that Colyar tried to induce him to be a party to a fake frame-up on the Police Department and the Pinkertons, and that Colyar invited him to attend the conference at the Williams House No. 2 between Colonel Felder, G. C. February [sic] and Colyar. He declares that Colyar told him he had affidavits that proved crookedness and graft in the Police Department and that he heard Colyar, on last Sunday, offer to sell the evidence to Colonel Felder for a stipulated sum. He declares also that Colyar said he wanted to get even with the police because they had arrested him once.

Tobie’s Complete Statement.

Mr. Tobie’s complete statement, in which he outlines the position of the Burns Agency in the squabble, follows: Continue Reading →

Dictograph Record Used Against Felder

Dictograph Record

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

Atlanta Georgian

Friday, May 23rd, 1913

The Georgian on Wednesday published an exclusive story that Colonel Thomas B. Felder was involved in the Phagan murder case in a manner that would at least require a very explicit explanation.

Developments Friday would seem to indicate that the police officials intend to bring the whole matter before the Grand Jury for a thorough investigation of Felder’s attitude for attempted bribery.

He is accused by A. S. Colyar, Jr., of offering G. C. February [sic], Chief Clerk to Newport Lanford, $1,000 for an affidavit made by J. W. Coleman and wife denying that they had engaged Felder in the Phagan case.

Chief of Detectives Lanford, in commenting on the charges made against Colonel Felder, said:

“Premature publication of this matter has so upset my plans that at this time I can not sayy [sic] what action I will take. Justice has been thwarted. I will have to think the situation over. I shall not arrest Colonel Felder at present.” Continue Reading →

Finger Print Expert Works With Dorsey to Solve Mystery

Finger Print Expert

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

Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, May 21st, 1913

P. A. Flak, of New York, visits Scene of Crime and Also Takes Finger Prints of Men in the Tower


He is Said to Be Convinced That Negro Is Innocent—Pinkertons Still Busy in Search for Additional Evidence

The employment by Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey of one of the best known finger print experts in the world on the Phagan mystery was Wednesday’s principal development in the sensational case.

P. A. Flak, of New York City, noted criminologist, and a recognized expert on finger prints, was brought to Atlanta by the “Southeastern Banker” and introduced to Mr. Dorsey.

The expert and the prosecuting officer spent the entire day Wednesday in an effort to find the murderer of Mary Phagan through finger prints.

Together they visited the scene of the crime, and also the jail, where they are said to have secured the finger prints of Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the pencil factory, and Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, the two men held by the coroner’s jury.

Finger prints, which may lead to the conviction of the murderer were found on the notes left beside the dead girl’s body, and they were closely examined by Mr. Flak and the solicitor general.

Mr. Flak recently attended a meeting of the Georgia Banker’s association at Macon and consented at the request of representatives of the Southeastern Banker to come here and look into the Phagan mystery. Continue Reading →

Detectives Seek Clue in Writing of Negro Suspect

Detectives Seek Clue in Writing

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

Atlanta Constitution

Monday, May 19th, 1913

Another Employee of the National Pencil Company Now Held at Police Headquarters.


For Hours the New Detective, Col. Thomas B. Felder and Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey Discuss Case.

In the first report of his investigation of the Mary Phagan tragedy, William J. Burns’ agent informs Solicitor General Dorsey that he already has obtained a valuable clue, and that a new phase of the mystery, upon which he is basing his operations, will be productive of early and startling results.

Sunday was a day of vigorous activity in all three sources of investigation of the Phagan mystery. At police headquarters, a new negro suspect was put through the third degree and forced to give specimens of his handwriting. His wife was taken into custody and thoroughly examined by Pinkerton men and police detectives.

The Burns agent and Colonel Thomas B. Felder held an eight-hour conference with the solicitor at the home of Colonel Felder from noon until 8 o’clock last night. The principal object was to thoroughly acquaint the new officer with the situation as it has previously been developed and with the evidence now at hand.

Frank Has Little to Say.

Leo M. Frank, the suspected factory superintendent, and Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, were both seen in their cells in the Tower last night by a Constitution reporter. Frank had only a few words to say. He would not discuss any phase of the case. Lee talked freely, and appeared optimistic of the future.

Frank’s health is holding up exceptionally well. He declares that he now feels no ill effects whatever of the three weeks of imprisonment. His cell was thronged all day Sunday with scores of friends and relatives, many of whom remained from noon until nightfall. Continue Reading →

Rumor That Frank Married in Brooklyn Not True, Says Eagle

Rumor That Frank Married in Brooklyn

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

Atlanta Journal

Monday, May 12th, 1913

At Request of The Journal, One of Numerous Reports About Man Held in Phagan Case Is Investigated


Solicitor’s “Famous” Detective Has Left City-Character Witnesses Not Likely to Be Used

At the request of The Atlanta Journal, the Brooklyn Eagle, one of the most conservative and reliable newspapers in the whole country, has investigated the most serious of numerous rumors which are being persistently circulated about the character of Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil company, who is held in connection with the death of Mary Phagan. That report was to the effect that Mr. Frank, contrary to his sworn testimony before the coroner’s inquest that he had never married but once, namely in Atlanta, about two years ago, married while a resident of Brooklyn, N. Y. The rumor has been persistently circulated in various forms.

The Brooklyn Eagle’s investigation of this rumor is to the effect that Mr. Frank was never married in Brooklyn. His mother, now residing in Brooklyn, says the Eagle declares Mr. Frank married in Atlanta and Atlanta only, and there is no record in Brooklyn to the contrary. This report from a reliable newspaper is given to the public in accordance with The Journal’s policy to print all of the facts and nothing but the facts in connection with this case.

Attorneys declared Monday that even if witnesses who could attack Mr. Frank’s character could be found that they would not be allowed to testify in court should Mr. Frank ever face a jury. The state is never allowed to put the character of a defendant in issue and no past misconduct, however grievous or even if it is a matter of court record, is admitted in evidence unless the defense first makes a point of the character of the man on trial. This is seldom done in criminal cases. Continue Reading →