Leo Frank papers
New Search | Return to Search Results

Leo Frank papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30305. 404.814.4040. reference@atlantahistorycenter.com
Creator: Frank, Leo, 1884-1915
Title: Leo Frank papers
Dates: 1912-1916, undated
Quantity: 4.88 Linear feet (eight document cases, one oversize box)
Identification: ahc.MSS91

Biographical/Historical Note

Leo Max Frank (1884-1915) was born to Rudolph and Rachel Frank in Cuero, Texas. The family moved to Brooklyn, New York, in 1884. Leo Frank graduated from Cornell University's College of Engineering in 1907. The following year, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to work at the National Pencil Company. In 1910, Frank married Lucille Selig, the youngest daughter of a distinguished Jewish family in Atlanta. On April 27, 1913, Mary Phagan, a child laborer, was found murdered at the National Pencil Company's factory on South Forsyth Street in Atlanta. Frank was arrested two days later, and indicted by a grand jury on May 23, 1913. His trial began on July 28, 1913, and in less than a month he was convicted of Phagan's murder and sentenced to death. Georgia governor John Slaton commuted Frank's sentence to life imprisonment on June 22, 1915, and moved him to Milledgeville State Penitentiary, a minimum security work camp. This decision prompted a well-organized group to kidnap Frank from the penitentiary and transport him to Marietta, Georgia, on August 16, 1915, where they beat and lynched him. After Frank's death the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith, a national Jewish fraternity, formed the Jewish Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith which today exists as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). In 1982, the ADL petitioned the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles to pardon Frank based on new evidence, but the board denied the request. In March 1986, the board reversed their decision and granted the pardon. The board refused to confirm Frank's innocence, but granted the pardon based on the state's failure to protect Frank and to convict his killers.


Scope and Content Note

This collection primarily consists of correspondence. There are letters of sympathy and support sent to Leo Frank and Lucille Selig Frank throughout his incarceration and after his death. Letters to the Franks are often written by many of the same people and share similar content. Also included is correspondence from members of the Frank and Selig families, from Frank's attorneys, from newspaper publishers and reporters, and to Governor Slaton on behalf of Leo Frank. In addition, the collection contains the Franks' financial records, documents and newspaper clippings about Leo Frank's legal case, and membership documents for religious and professional organizations.


Arrangement

This collection is organized into four series: I. Letters of sympathy and support; II. Family correspondence; III. Legal and public relations correspondence; and IV. Miscellaneous. Folders are arranged either alphabetically or chronologically.


Index Terms

Alexander, Henry A., (Henry Aaron), 1874-1967
Atlanta (Ga.)--History
Atlanta (Ga.)--Politics and government
Capital punishment--Georgia
Connolly, C. P., (Christopher Powell), 1863-1935
Frank, Leo, 1884-1915
Frank, Lucille Selig
Fulton County (Ga.)--History
Jews--Georgia--Atlanta
Slaton, John M.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Leo Frank papers, MSS 91, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1968 with subsequent additions.

Description Control

This collection was re-processed in 2012.


Restrictions

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.


Container List

 

Series I: Letters of sympathy and support, 1912-1914

This series contains letters of sympathy and support written to Leo Frank. Although some of the letters were written to Frank by friends, the majority of the letters are from strangers across the United States. Many correspondents sent multiple letters to both Leo Frank and Lucille Frank (in Series II). The letters are arranged chronologically. Letters of note include a letter suggesting Frank hire a “trumpet medium” to call the spirit of Mary Phagan; several letters urging Frank’s lawyers to poison Jim Conley, another suspect in Mary Phagan's murder, so that he would confess; and letters urging Frank to convert to Christian Science.

Box

Fldr

11Letters, 1912 View online.
2Letters, 1913 View online.
3Letters, 1914 January - June View online.
4Letters, 1914 July - September View online.
5Letters, 1914 October - November View online.
6Letters, 1914 December 1 - December 15 View online.
7Letters, 1914 December 16 - December 24 View online.
8Letters, 1914 December 25 - December 28 View online.

Box

Fldr

21Letters, 1914 December 29 - December 31 View online.
2Letters, 1915 January - May View online.
3Letters, 1915 June 1 - June 21 View online.
4Letters, 1915 June 22 - June 30 View online.
5Letters, 1915 July View online.
6Letters, 1915 August - December View online.
7Letters and gift cards to Leo Frank, undated View online.
 

Series II: Family correspondence, 1914-1916

This series contains the correspondence of Leo Frank; his wife, Lucille; his parents, Rachel and Rudolph Frank; his mother-in-law, Josephine Selig; and several other relatives of Leo and Lucille Frank. The letters are arranged alphabetically according to surname then chronologically. Lucille Frank’s correspondence consists of sympathy letters similar to those found in Series I and her personal letters. Rachel and Rudolph Frank corresponded with Leo Frank almost every day and the collection includes their letters to him. Notable letters include Leo Frank’s description of his experience at the State Penitentiary in Milledgeville, Georgia; several letters to Lucille Frank offering information about Mary Phagan or Jim Conley, another murder suspect; and letters from family to Lucille Frank immediately after Leo Frank's death.

Box

Fldr

31Bennet, Hannah and Barney, 1914 September - 1915 January
2Frank, Leo, 1914 October - 1915 August View online.
3Frank, Lucille, 1914 December 21 - December 31 View online.
4Frank, Lucille, 1915 January 15 - April 30 View online.
5Frank, Lucille, 1915 May 1 - May 14 View online.
6Frank, Lucille, 1915 May 15 - May 31 View online.
7Frank, Lucille, 1915 June 1 - June 11 View online.

Box

Fldr

41Frank, Lucille, 1915 June 12 - June 30 View online.
2Frank, Lucille, 1915 July 1 - July 19 View online.
3Frank, Lucille, 1915 July 20 - July 31 View online.
4Frank, Lucille, 1915 August 1 - August 17 View online.
5Frank, Lucille, 1915 August 18 - August 20 View online.
6Frank, Lucille, 1915 August 21 - August 24 View online.
7Frank, Lucille, 1915 August 25 - August 31 View online.
8Frank, Lucille, 1915 September 1 - October 24 View online.
9Frank, Lucille, 1915 December 6 - December 18 View online.

Box

Fldr

51Frank, Lucille, 1916 January 1 - February 8 View online.
2Frank, Lucille, undated View online.
3Frank, May, 1914 December
4Frank, Rachel and Rudolph, 1914 August - September View online.
5Frank, Rachel and Rudolph, 1914 October - December View online.
6Frank, Rachel and Rudolph, 1915 View online.
7Jacobs, Amelia, 1914 December
8Jacobs, Bertha and Charles, 1914 September - 1915 November
9Levy, Maurice and Sarah, 1914 September - 1915, undated
10Marcus, Harold and Allen, 1914 July
11Marcus, Sara Selig, 1914 August - 1915 August, undated
12Michaels, Bud, 1914 November - 1915 November
13Michaels, Emma, 1915 July-August
14Oppenheim, Samson, 1914 December
15Selig, Josephine, 1915 July - August
16Selig, Josephine, 1913 May - 1915 November
17Selig, Montifiore, 1914 December, 1915 July
18Selig, Samson, 1914 December, 1915 July
19Stern, Marian Frank, 1914 July, October
20Stern, Otto, 1914 October - December
21Ursenbach, Charles, 1914 August - 1915 July
22Ursenbach, Rosalind Selig, 1915 July
 

Series III: Legal and public relations correspondence, 1914-1915

This series contains correspondence between Leo Frank and his attorneys, Herbert Haas and Henry Alexander; between the Franks and various businessmen, writers, and publishers; and copies of letters and petitions sent to Governor Slaton to urge him to commute Leo Frank’s sentence. Notable correspondents include C. P. Connolly from Collier’s Weekly; Walter Greenebaum, a prominent New York banker; and A.D. Lasher of the firm Lord and Thomas, considered the father of modern advertising. The letters to Governor Slaton were sent from across the United States including a letter by George Hays, the Governor of Arkansas. The letters are arranged alphabetically then chronologically.

Box

Fldr

61Alexander, Henry, 1914 September 5 - 1915 July 30
2Benson, Berry, 1914 September 15 - December 21
3Clark, Sam and Jim Jam Jems, 1914 September 1 - September 14
4Connolly, C.P., 1914 October 20 - 1915 May
5Greenebaum, Walter, 1915 May 1 - May 14
6Greenebaum, Walter, 1915 May 15 - June 8
7Gonikman, L. and The Warheit, 1914 December, 1915 June
8Haas, Herbert, 1914 December 24 - 1915 August
9Henry Romeike, Inc., 1914 November 26 - November 30
10Lasher, A.D., 1914 August 17 - 1915 July 6
11Slaton, John M., 1914 November - June 17 View online.
12Slaton, John M., 1915 January - August View online.
13Starr, Linton and The Atlanta Journal, 1914 November - 1915 July
 

Series IV: Miscellaneous, 1908 - 1916, undated

This series includes newspaper articles regarding Leo Frank’s imprisonment and legal case from various newspapers: The Atlanta Journal, The New York Times, The Atlanta Constitution, Chicago Journal, Atlanta Georgian, Hearst’s Sunday American, Kansas City Star, The Jewish Spectator, and The Augusta Chronicle. The series also includes Leo and Lucille Frank’s financial records; membership documents from Jewish organizations and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Leo Frank’s personal chess notebook, and spiritual literature.

Box

Fldr

71Envelopes - Frank, Leo, undated
2Envelopes - Frank, Leo, undated
3Financial - Frank, Leo - trip to Germany, 1908
4Financial - Frank, Lucille and Leo, 1909-1916
5Financial - Frank, Lucille - personal accounts, 1913-1915
6Financial - J. P. Allen & Co., 1914-1916
7Financial - William Lycett & Co., 1900-1910
8Financial - M. Rich & Bros. Co., 1914-1916
9Legal case - photograph of "Murder Note", undated
10Legal case - poetry written about Leo Frank case, undated
11Legal case - writ of habeas corpus, 1914
12Organization membership - Jewish organizations, 1910 - 1914, undated
13Organization membership - The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1914
14Literature - Frank, Leo - chess notes and The Scattered Nation, undated
15Literature - spirituals sent to and collected by the Franks, 1914 - 1915, undated

Box

Fldr

81Publications regarding the Leo Frank case, undated
2Newspaper clippings - The Atlanta Journal, 1914 February 17
3Newspaper clippings - News Herald, 1914 March 6
4Newspaper clippings - The Atlanta Journal, 1914 April 17
5Newspaper clippings - The New York Times, 1914 May 2
6Newspaper clippings - The Atlanta Constitution, 1914 May 6
7Newspaper clippings - Chicago Journal, 1914 December 11
8Newspaper clippings, 1914 November - December
9Newspaper clippings - The New York Times, 1915 June 16
10Newspaper clippings, 1915 May 4 - September 15
11Newspaper clippings, 1915 September 16 - 29
12Newspaper clippings, undated
13Newspaper clippings, undated

Box

Fldr

MSS OS Box 5.281Newspaper clippings - The Atlanta Constitution, 1913 May 10, 1914 March 5 - October 3

Box

Fldr

OS MSS Box 5.282Newspaper clippings - The Atlanta Journal, 1914 February 22 - 1915 June 21
3Newspaper clippings - Atlanta Georgian, 1914 March 4 - May 2
4Newspaper clippings - Hearst's Sunday American, 1914 May 3 - August 1
5Newspaper clippings, 1914 October 28 - 1915 February 7
6Newspaper clippings - Collier's Weekly, 1914 December 26
7Newspaper clippings - Kansas City Star and New York American, 1915 January
8Newspaper clippings, 1915 May 4 - September 15
9Newspaper clippings - The Jewish Spectator, 1915 June 25
10Newspaper clippings - Watson's Magazine, 1915 August
11Newspaper clippings - Augusta Chronicle, 1915 September 13 - September 29
12Newspaper clippings, 1915 September 16 - September 29