Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note


Conditions of Access and Use

Related Material

Administrative Information

Search Terms

Box and Folder Listing

Series A. General Files. 1913-1965, Undated.

A Finding Aid to the Leo M. Frank Papers. 1913-1965 (bulk: 1913-1915).

Manuscript Collection No. 237


Repository: The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
Creator: Frank, Leo, 1884-1915
Title: Leo M. Frank Papers.
Dates: 1913-1965
Bulk Dates: 1913-1915
Quantity: 2.5 linear feet (6 Hollinger boxes)
Abstract: The Leo M. Frank Collection consists of newsclippings, magazine articles, pamphlets, and testimonial reports dealing with the murder-conviction, repercussions, and subsequent lynching of Leo Frank in Atlanta, Georgia. The records are organized into a single series, with correspondence and legal reports followed by press clippings.
Collection Number: MS-237
Language: Collection material in English.

Biographical Sketch

Leo Frank was born in Cuero, Texas in 1884 but was raised in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Brooklyn Public Schools, the Pratt Institute, and in 1906, graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. His first job was in Massachusetts, but soon thereafter he moved back to Brooklyn and was trained as a mechanical engineer.

In 1907, Frank moved to Atlanta, Georgia to take a position as a supervisor at the National Pencil Company, owned by his uncle. In 1910, he married Lucille Selig, daughter of a prominent Jewish family. He was an active and respected member of the Jewish community and in 1912 became president of his local B'nai B'rith chapter.

Mary Phagan, a fourteen year old employee, was found dead in the basement of the National Pencil factory on 27 April 1913. Frank was arrested the next day and subsequently found guilty of Phagan's murder. The trial lasted for nearly two months. Numerous protests throughout the trial protested that this was a case of prejudice and anti-Semitism.

The trial was eventually appealed to the Supreme Court who rejected Frank's final appeal. Georgia governor John Slaton, who believed Frank to be innocent, commuted Frank's sentence to a life term on 21 June 1915. An angry mob later removed Frank from the jail and lynched him on 17 August 1915.

Scope and Content Note

Collection consisting of correspondence, reports, articles and recollections describing the conviction and subsequent lynching of Frank, 1913-1915; together with materials pertaining to Leonard Dinnerstein's book, The Leo Frank Case, 1963-1965.


These records are organized into a single series, with press clippings/reports followed by correspondence and legal reports.

Conditions of Access and Use

Terms of Access and Use

The Leo M. Frank Papers are open to all users. The original manuscript collection is available in the Barrows-Loebelson Reading Room of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.

Property and Literary Rights

Hebrew Benevolent Congregation and Leonard Dinnerstein, by the act of donating the Leo Max Frank Papers to the American Jewish Archives, assigned all property rights to the American Jewish Archives. Literary rights are retained by specific creators of materials.

Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives. For more information see the American Jewish Archives copyright information webpage.

Related Material

Frank, Leo M. "Antisemitism and the Leo M. Frank Murder Case." Undated memorandum of the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith Organization prepared by Dewitt Roberts. Small Collections.

Frank, Leo M. Correspondence of Rabbi David Marx with Louis Marshall and Anna Carroll Moore re: Frank case and his death. Small Collections

Frank, Leo M. Correspondence with Herbert G. Schiff. 1913-1915. Small Collections.

Frank, Leo M. Final Galleys of A Little Girl is Dead by Harry Golden. 1965. Small Collections.

Frank, Leo M. Interview with McLellan Smith, newspaper reporter who covered Frank's trial. Conducted by Leonard Dinnerstein. C-1308-1309.

Frank, Leo M. Letter to Benjamen Wildauer written on the day of the lynching. August 1915. Small Collections.

Frank, Leo M. Letter to William Baur, detailing his arrival at Georgia State Prison. June 1915. Small Collections.

Frank, Leo M. Louis Marshall's brief in the Supreme Court concerning the Leo M. Frank Case. Small Collections.

Frank, Leo M. "Murder of Mary Phagan." 1988. Videotape No. 63.

Frank, Leo M. Nearprint Biographies.

Frank, Leo M. Picture Collection.

Administrative Information

Alternative Forms of Collection

The Leo M. Frank Papers include microfilm. The microfilm may be a duplicate of the collection or include different materials. See MF-2822 to MF-2825. Microfilm is available through inter-library loan.

Preferred Citation

Footnotes and bibliographic references should refer to the Leo Max Frank Papers and the American Jewish Archives. A suggestion for at least the first citation is as follows:

[Description], [Date], Box #, Folder #. MS-237. Leo M. Frank Papers. American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.


The Leo Max Frank Papers were received from the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, Atlanta, Georgia, in 1960 and Leonard Dinnerstein, New York, New York, in 1967.

Processing Information

Processed by American Jewish Archives staff.

Box and Folder Listing

Series A. General Files. 1913-1965, Undated.
Box Folder
1 1 Affidavits [Pinkerton Detective Agency]. May 1913.
1 2 Testimony Recorded at the National Pencil Company. 30 June 1913.
1 3 Testimony in the Leo Frank Case. 1913, Undated.
1 4 Trial Papers. 1913, 1915, Undated.
1 5 Grounds for Motion for a New Trial; Fulton County Superior Court. July 1913.
1 6 Correspondence to or by Various Lawyers. 1914-1915.
1 7 Correspondence Regarding the Leo Frank Case. 1913-1915.
1 8 Handbill - Protest Meeting. 26 October 1913.
1 9 Letters to Governor Slaton. 1915.
1 10 Flyer - In Defense of Trial by Jury. 5 June 1915.
1 11 Documents Concerning Mary Phagan's Mother's Lawsuit Against the National Pencil Company. 1914-1916.
1 12 Wise, Stephen S. The Case of Leo Frank: A Last Appeal. May 1915.
1 13 Liquidation of the National Pencil Company. 1916.
1 14 Anti-semitic "Reminder" Card. Undated
1 15 Background Information - The Leo Frank Case. Undated.
1 16 Partial Document Concerning Newspaper Coverage of the Leo Frank Case. Undated.
1 17 Various Papers about the Leo Frank Case. 1961, 1963-1965.
1 18 Miscellaneous Items. .Undated
Box Folder
2 1 Newsclippings. May-December 1913.
2 2 Newsclippings. February 1914.
2 3 Newsclippings. March 1914.
2 4 Newsclippings. April 1914.
2 5 Newsclippings. May 1914.
2 6 Newsclippings. May-June 1914.
2 7-11 Newsclippings. December 1914.
Box Folder
3 1 Newsclippings. December 1914.
3 2 Newsclippings. January 1915.
3 3 Newsclippings. January-February 1915.
3 4 Newsclippings. March 1915.
3 5 Newsclippings. April 1915.
3 6-10 Newsclippings. June 1915.
Box Folder
4 1-8 Newsclippings. June 1915.
Box Folder
5 1-2 Newsclippings. July 1915.
5 3-9 Newsclippings. August 1915.
Box Folder
6 1 Newsclippings. Undated.
6 2-3 Newsclippings. Undated.
6 4 Photographs. Undated.
6 5 Articles. 1915, Undated.
6 6 Leonard Dinnerstein Dissertation Correspondence. 1963-1965.

Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the AJA's online catalog.

Persons and Families

Dinnerstein, Leonard
Frank, Leo, -- 1884-1915


Jews -- Georgia -- Atlanta
Lynching -- Georgia -- Atlanta

Genres and Forms