Attacks on Dr. Harris Give Defense Good Day

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 12th, 1913

The defense had what was probably its best day on Monday. Medical experts were on the witness stand the larger part of the day. The purpose of their testimony was to knock down, one after another, the sensational statements of Dr. H. F. Harris, secretary of the State Board of Health. All of the witnesses joined in ridiculing every important theory or conclusion that was reached by the distinguished chemist and physician.

Experts for Defense.

These are the medical experts called by the defense to combat the testimony of Dr. Harris:

Dr. Willis F. Westmoreland, first president of the Georgia State Board of Health, and president of the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Professor George Bachman, demonstrator in physiology at the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons; formerly one of the faculty of the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.

Dr. T. H. Hancock, a specialist in surgical practice.

Dr. J. C. Olmstead, a graduate of Columbia University, and a practitioner in Atlanta for 32 years.

Here is a summary of Dr. Harris’ theories on the death of the Mary Phagan and the consensus of the four medical experts’ opinions in regard to the theories:

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Many Experts Called by Defense to Answer Dr. H. F. Harris

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

Atlanta Journal
August 11th, 1913


Professor of Physiology at Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons Declares Dr. Harris Is the Only Doctor He Knows Who Would Undertake to Express the Opinion That Dr. Harris Did in Reference to Mary Phagan’s Death


Herbert G. Schiff, Frank’s Young Assistant, Was Under Cross-Examination Several Hours Monday—He Said He Had Never Heard Complaint That Factory Clock Ran Five Minutes Fast and Denied That Frank Had Objected to His Firing Conley

Only two witnesses were examined at the Monday morning session of the trial of Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan. They were Herbert G. Schiff, assistant superintendent of the factory, who was under cross-examination the greater part of the morning, and Dr. George Bachman, professor of physiology in the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Bachman declared that Dr. H. F. Harris was the only physician he ever heard of who would express such an opinion as Dr. Harris had given from the witness stand previously. He said that an opinion as to the length of time that food had been in the stomach under most any circumstances would be but a hazardous guess, and that it would be utterly impossible to determine how long since food had been eaten by a post-mortem examination made nine or ten days after death of a body that had been embalmed. The embalming fluid, he declared, would add seriously to the difficulties of forming a correct opinion. The sum and substance of Dr. Bachman’s testimony was that it was impossible to fix the time of little Mary Phagan’s death by any analysis or examination of the food that was found in her stomach.

Dr. Bachman was not asked to testify in reference to Dr. Harris’ declaration that Mary Phagan had suffered violence prior to her death, but it is probable that some of the experts who follow him will be asked in reference to this feature of the case.

Dr. T. H. Hancock, of the Atlanta hospital and part owner of that infirmary, was called by the defense as its first witness after the resumption of court Monday afternoon.

Dr. Hancock testified regarding a thorough physical examination which he made of Leo M. Frank, the accused, certifying that in every way so far as he could determine Frank is like other men in his physique.

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