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Topics in Chronicling America - The Trial and Lynching of Leo Frank

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

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.
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Important Dates:

  • 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: In 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 in a 7-2 vote rejects Leo Frank’s final murder conviction appeal.
  • August 16, 1915: Residents of Mary Phagan’s hometown kidnap Leo Frank from the state prison and lynch him.

Suggested Search Terms:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Leo Frank, Mary Phagan, Jim Conley, Hugh Dorsey, John Slaton.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  March 25, 2013
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