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Trial and Lynching of Leo Frank: Topics in Chronicling America

This guide provides resources on the topic of the "trial and lynching of Leo Frank" found in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.

Introduction

Sketch of Leo M. Frank and Mary Phagan, March 12, 1914, The Day Book (Chicago, Illinois), Noon Edition, Image 2. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Convicted of the April 1913 murder of 13-year-old factory worker Mary Phagan in Atlanta, Georgia, Jewish-American businessman Leo Frank appeals his conviction for the next two years. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually rejects Frank's final appeal in April 1915. On August 17, 1915 a mob of men abduct and lynch Leo Frank near Marietta, Georgia. Leo Frank's case energized the press, resulting in nationwide coverage of the trial and Frank's eventual death. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.

Timeline

April 26, 1913 Employed by the National Pencil Company in Atlanta, Georgia, thirteen year-old Mary Phagan walks to the factory to retrieve her paycheck.
April 27, 1913 Police in Fulton County, Georgia receive report of a dead body, later identified as that of Mary Phagan, in the basement of the factory.
April 29, 1913 Leo Frank is arrested and charged with the murder of Mary Phagan.
August 1913 After a three-week trial, Leo Frank is convicted of the murder of Mary Phagan and is sentenced to be hanged.
April 19, 1915 Following a series of appeals, the Supreme Court rejects Leo Frank's final murder conviction appeal in a 7-2 vote.
August 16, 1915 Residents of Mary Phagan's hometown kidnap Leo Frank from the state prison and lynch him.