Link: Dinnerstein, Leonard. “Leo M. Frank and the American Jewish Community.” American Jewish Archive Journal, November 1968, Volume 20, Number 2.
Leonard Dinnerstein’s judicial hate crime hoax and racist anti-Gentile blood libel was manufactured in 1968 and perpetuated as popular culture for more than four decades (and repeated by people like Abraham Foxman who published an Op Ed on his ADL.org website, August 18, 2005, claiming furious mobs of Southerners were shouting “hang the Jew” or “kill the Jew” outside the trial’s courtroom):
Beyond the main testimony, the jurors had little more on which to base their decision than hearsay, rumors, and unsubstantiated accusations. Yet most members of the public were thoroughly convinced of the defendant’s guilt and made their voices heard, The intense summer heat necessitated that the courtroom windows be left open, and remarks from the crowds could be heard easily by those inside. “Crack the Jew’s neck!” – “Lynch him!” – were some of the epithets emerging from the more boisterous. Threats were also made “against the jury that they would be lynched if they did not hang that ‘damned sheeny.’ “
(Leonard Dinnerstein, American Jewish Archives, November, 1968, p. 110)
The Leo Frank Case (1968) is the first book version of Leonard Dinnerstein’s 1966 dissertation on the subject. Leonard Dinnerstein (retired) was Emeritus professor and director of Judaic Studies at the University of Arizona. In 1965, he was a recipient of the Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Fund for Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships in Jewish Studies. What does this say about Jewish scholarship and academic research in terms of Jewish activism?
Digital copy of the Leonard Dinnerstein 1966 PhD Dissertation at Columbia University (political science) on the Leo Frank case thesis in PDF: https://www.leofrank.org/library/dissertation-thesis/leonard-dinnerstein-dissertation-leo-frank-case-1966.pdf.
Purchase a copy of each edition of The Leo Frank Case by Leonard Dinnerstein, on www.Amazon.com and cross reference them with each other (what did he change in his revised editions?), along with all the articles Dinnerstein has written about the case (available online); then compare them against the official Leo Frank legal records of trial and appeals. What can we conclude about Dinnerstein’s integrity as to the facts of the Frank-Phagan affair? The short answer version is on the American Mercury: The Leo Frank Case: A Pseudo-History by Eliot Dashfield.
PDF 2: Dinnerstein, Leonard. “The Fate of Leo Frank.” American Heritage Magazine, October 1996.
Other Topics Related to Leonard Dinnerstein’s Version of the Leo Frank Case:
1. Cohen, Mark. “Who Really Solved the Murder of Mary Phagan?” Leo Frank.
Book Review of Leonard Dinnerstein’s The Leo Frank Case
Forty years of pseudo-academic research culminated in perfection, resulting in a politically correct masterpiece of pseudo-history, July 25, 2011
Review of The Leo Frank Case by Dr. Leonard Dinnerstein, PhD:
In 1963, nearly fifty years after the most sensational criminal case in the annals of Southern jurisprudence initially became a national cause celebre for American Jewry — dividing the citizenry of the United States along sectarian lines — an Ivy League graduate student named Leonard Dinnerstein (born May 5, 1934) became engaged in conducting academic thesis research about this case. Three years later in 1966, Dinnerstein completed his PhD dissertation on the Leo Frank case for political science department of Columbia University, and his thesis became the impetus of his book The Leo Frank Case (first edition, 1968). And since 1968, the book has undergone numerous tweaks, additions, and revisions, as he’s republished numerous editions over the years that ensued. Forty years later, his latest edition (as of this review posting), retelling this case that refuses to gather dust is the culmination of nearly fifty years of research into the Leo Frank epic saga.
This 1991 edition of Dinnerstein’s revisionist monograph on the Leo Frank case is another shameless embarrassment to American academic standards of scholarly research, because Leonard Dinnerstein verifiably omitted 99% of the 1,800 page official Leo M. Frank Georgia Legal Records that encompasses the 1913 summer trial and State Supreme Court Appeals from 1913 through 1914. These legal records fortunately survived in their entirety into the 21st century and provide a digest of the trial transcript and exhibits.
If anyone wants another example showing the educational system of America has reached its nadir and is infested with activist academics with racist agendas to perpetuate Jewish-Gentile culture wars, then students of law and history should study the primary sources of the Leo Frank case and then cross-reference them with every edition (1968 to 2008) of Leonard Dinnerstein’s The Leo Frank Case. It indisputably reveals he spent more than forty years of his life making an abject mockery of Southern legal history and jurisprudence.
Readability of the Book: one or two stars out of five.
Dinnerstein lacks the eloquence of a wordsmith, producing flat cardboard colored social history. His prose is formulated in stale, dated writing styles. Moreover, if it weren’t for the fascinating subject, this book would probably be boring to read, given Dinnerstein’s overwhelmingly bland syntax.
Historical Honesty, Integrity, and Reliability of the Facts: one star out of five.
Given how many decades Leonard Dinnerstein spent studying this case (nearly half a century), the sheer number of conspicuous errors, misquotes, mistakes, fabrications, misrepresentations, frauds, deception, falsifications, and shameless omissions made in every edition of The Leo Frank Case from 1968 through 2008 seems almost incomprehensible. Going even further back and closely examining Dinnerstein’s 1966 PhD dissertation reveals early on that his central thesis was based upon paranoid pathological obsessions with assuming *non-existent* widespread anti-Semitism as the primary reason Leo Frank was indicted and convicted. Dinnerstein believes the Leo Frank conviction was an anti-Semitic outburst that erupted from “anti-Semitic Southern culture,” despite the consensus among Jewish and Gentile historians that anti-Semitism was virtually non-existent in the South. Moreover, given the fact Jews were considered an integral part of European-American culture in the South, being a German-Jew more likely helped Leo Frank than hurt him (see: The Jew Accused: Three Anti-Semitic Affairs 1894-1915, Lindemann, 1992).
Dinnerstein goes to unbelievable lengths in his book to obfuscate the 1,800 pages of legal files that survived into the 21st century from the Georgia Supreme Court, records that showed to what criminal extent Leo Frank’s friends and legal defense team (including Governor John Marshall Slaton) were willing to go, tricking witnesses into perjuring themselves, signing false affidavits, and retracting their trial testimony. After omitting all the incriminating evidence against Leo Frank from his book, Dinnerstein then claims Frank was innocent, despite the fact that every level of the United States legal system from 1913 to 1986 did not disturb the guilty verdict of the trial jury. Moreover, if the presiding judge Leonard Strickland Roan had any doubts about Leo Frank’s guilt, he could have given him a new trial when the defense petitioned him on more than one hundred grounds. In fact, nothing in the defense team’s petitions for a new trial or appeals ever mentions a single incident of anti-Semitism, making most of Dinnerstein’s manufactured claims about anti-Semitic conspiracies nothing more than maudlin, tawdry hate crime hoaxes.
The question that arises concerning the May 24, 1913, indictment rendered against Leo Frank: What compelled twenty-one grand jurors (with several Jewish members amongst them) to vote unanimously against Frank (when only twelve votes were needed to indict)? Was it the compelling facts, testimony, and evidence presented to them or some kind of anti-Semitic blood-libel conspiracies?
We can’t answer this question from Dinnerstein’s overly simplistic book, because he intentionally obfuscates and omits nearly the entire Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence (1913) and Coroner’s Inquest Testimony. He also doesn’t tell his audience who testified during the grand jury hearings. So readers have no choice but to find out for themselves by looking back in the records to discover the testimonies of these particular witnesses at the coroner’s inquest and then later, after the grand jury, what these people testified during the Leo Frank trial.
Let me explain in detail why this book is quackery at its finest:
Dinnerstein uses his agitprop hate-propaganda book to invoke the age-old racist blood-libel canards against whites, this time against European-American Southerners, indicting them all as part of a vast anti-Semitic UFO conspiracy to indict and convict Leo Frank “without evidence,” but with rumors and hearsay. Moreover, he accuses the “unscrupulous” and “ambitious” prosecutor, the solicitor general Hugh Dorsey (1871 – 1948), of knowingly playing along with the public in clamoring to “frame” and thus ostensibly committing anti-Semitic murder of an “innocent” Jew, for the long-term purpose of advancing his own political career in Atlanta. Dinnerstein is suggesting that one of Georgia’s most progressive statesmen, a man who openly advocated against vigilante lynching (when it was dangerous and politically unpopular to do so), knowingly murdered an innocent Jew as a stepping stone to become governor.
What Dinnerstein failed to mention is Hugh Dorsey became close friends and roommates with the famous Jewish-American lawyer Henry Alexander during law school while they were students and that after graduation Dorsey had numerous Jewish law partners and associates he worked with throughout the course of his life. The charge of anti-Semitism and anti-Semite has become the racial epithet of spineless cowards, who use it as a smear to stifle open discussion about political, legal, or social issues concerning Jews.
Dinnerstein has spent his entire academic career writing about the evils of anti-Jewish racism, but has spewed his own disgusting blood-libel racism against European-Americans for over forty years in edition after edition of The Leo Frank Case (1968 to 2008). There seems to an infinite supply of people who denounce anti-Jewish racism, but usually when you scratch the surface of these people, underneath you find out that deep down these denouncers themselves are prejudiced against others. Dinnerstein is no exception and hides his own racism behind the tribal obsession of blame. Yet ignorance, racism, and prejudice are wrong no matter who the perpetrator or victim is.
Were the Georgia Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court anti-Semitic when their majority decisions were against Leo Frank? Was the Georgia Supreme Court anti-Semitic when they stated affirmatively the evidence presented at the Leo Frank trial sustained his conviction?
This is what makes every edition of The Leo Frank Case by Leonard Dinnerstein so disappointing: In order to maintain his position of politically correct racism directed against European-American Southerners, it necessitated the most relevant facts, evidence, and testimony of the Leo Frank trial being surreptitiously expunged or distorted. Do we really want activist professors like this teaching our children and college students? Ones who will go to the most extreme lengths to deceive their readers and students? Absolutely not.
Dinnerstein’s myopic weltanschauung about Jewish-Gentile relations first revealed itself in his 1966 PhD thesis, indicating that he lacks the neutrality and intellect of a dispassionate researcher, one who can look back on history with new, penetrating, and lucid eyes to unlock its sociological and historical mysteries. However, these shortcomings of Leonard Dinnerstein guaranteed he would have a bright future in the politically charged world of ivory tower academia. Indeed, some forty years later, the 2008 edition of The Leo Frank Case confirms Dinnerstein lived up to every measure of his potential as an academic pseudo-historian amongst America’s politically correct intelligentsia. Here’s why: Dinnerstein’s book was central in shaping the popular culture myths surrounding the Leo Frank case over the last half a century. By first transforming the well-documented true crime legal case about a sadistic child molester into a semi-fictionalized social-history morality tale about Gentile anti-Semitism and wrongful conviction, it then became another cultural weapon in the un-American arsenal to agitate against and demoralize black and white Americans for their role in putting away a Jewish serial pedophile, rapist, and child killer.
Leonard Dinnerstein’s Hate Crime Hoax
Dinnerstein perpetuates a judicial hate crime hoax that mobs of angry people were screaming racist anti-Semitic death threats at the jury through the courtroom windows. See: “Leo Frank and the American Jewish Community” from the American Jewish Archive Journal, 1968, volume 20, number 2. None of Leo Frank’s voluminous appeals ever mentioned this incident, nor do any of the local Atlanta newspapers that had teams of reporters inside and outside the courtroom.
Evidence of Racist Dishonesty
In the prestigious American Jewish Archive Journal (1968), volume 20, number 2, Dinnerstein published an article about the Frank case, claiming mobs of revelers outside the courtroom were shouting into the open windows during the Leo Frank trial, “Crack the Jew’s Neck!” and “Lynch Him!” and that people were making open death threats against the trial jury that they would be individually or collectively lynched if they didn’t lynch the “damn sheeny.” But none of the three major Atlanta newspapers (Constitution, Journal, and Georgian)–who had teams of reporters documenting feint-by-feint the events in the courtroom, while other journalists’ teams of the same newspapers were milling around outside the Fulton County Superior Courthouse–ever reported these incidents. Are we to believe that newspapers and reporters, intensely competing against each other and looking to advance their careers and readership, wouldn’t mention such incidents? Never were these alleged vociferous death threats ever reported by anyone, including the judge, jury, spectators, media, police, prosecution, or defense. During the two years of Frank’s appeals, none of these alleged anti-Semitic death threats were ever reported by the defense in the unabridged three thousand pages of official Leo Frank legal records that fortunately survived into the 21st century — this despite the fact Reuben Arnold played the race card, claiming during his closing arguments that Frank was tried only because he was a Jew. The patently false accusations that European-American Southerners, on more than one occasion, openly terrorized the jury during the trial in full public view, forcing them with unequivocal death threats, into convicting Leo Frank, is an unforgivable racist blood libel and hate crime hoax created by Leonard Dinnerstein. If these things had actually happened, the national media would have gone into foaming at the mouth rabid frenzies, and we would have never heard the end of it, even today.
The Mary Phagan Murder Investigation
Just minutes past noon on Confederate Memorial Day, Saturday, April 26, 1913, Mary Phagan entered the National Pencil Company to collect her pay envelope of $1.20. She normally earned $4.05 a week, but for only clocking sixteen hours, her pay was significantly reduced. She had been temporarily laid off on Monday, April 21, 1913, because of a shortage of brass sheet metal used to make tubular eraser holders attached at the end of pencils. Phagan worked at the rear of the second floor in the metal room, and her workstation was next to the bathroom entryway. Phagan was a “tipper,” inserting rubber erasers into the brass tubes of pencils for 7 and 4/11 cents an hour during a typical fifty-five-hour, six-day workweek, since the Spring of 1912.
* * *
Only moments after using the racially segregated “Negro Toilet,” Newton “Newt” Lee discovered the dead body of Mary Anne Phagan in the basement of the National Pencil Company (NPCo) at about 3:15 a.m., on Sunday, April 27, 1913. Lee shoe shuffled to the cellar ladder, shimmied up the rungs to the first-floor lobby, and then hustled up the stairs to Leo Frank’s second-floor office, where the only working phone in the building was located. Seizing its mouth piece, dialing, and asking the operator to connect him with the police, Lee then reported the incident to Sergeant W. F. Anderson, night shift call officer for the Atlanta Police Station, who took the call at 3:24 a.m. Lee also attempted for eight minutes to contact Leo Frank by phone, but no one answered at the Selig residence. The police arrived at the NPCo factory fifteen minutes later in a Ford Model-T.
The police later remarked that they remembered looking through the glass and seeing Lee coming down the staircase with his smoky lantern bobbing as he descended. Moments later, they entered the factory lobby and climbed through the narrow scuttle, descending fourteen feet down a pitched wooden ladder to the cellar. With Newt leading the way, together they walked more than one hundred feet to the rear of the stygian basement. When they came upon Mary Phagan in a filthy state, lying on her side, face encrusted with dirt, she appeared to have been dragged. Looking closer at the grisly scene, they noticed a long 1/8 inch cord made into a makeshift noose, taut around her neck, sunk flesh deep. Phagan’s dress appeared ripped midsagittally, and bloodied underwear were still attached to her body, torn open across the crotch up to the right seam. Nearby, two peculiar handwritten notes were discovered scattered on the floor with a contrived message.
The notes, later dubbed “death notes or murder notes,” described the Negro killer as the tall, dark, and slim night witch, exactly describing the demographic information of Newton “Newt” Lee, who was the tall, slim, and dark-complected night watchman for National Pencil Company only three weeks. The “death notes” essentially accused Newton Lee (colloquially called the Night watch) of raping Mary Phagan.
Lee was an old, bald, and married African-American security guard with years of graveyard shift experience and no criminal record to boot, but if the incriminating notes stood up to a grand and petit jury, Newt Lee would hang by the neck until dead as prescribed by law.
What made the notes so unusual was how they were written in a contrived manner, as if little Mary Phagan created them and addressed them to her mother, while she was in the midst of being sexually molested by Newt Lee. In the Old South, where the “purity and honor of white Southern womanhood” was considered the most precious and sacred thing on Earth, if a Negro even whistled or “wild talked” at or jostled a white woman, there was a dangerous risk of lynching. Out of nearly 3,500 lynchings in American history, the majority of victims were Negroes. Hugh Dorsey used his political influence and clout to openly advocate against lynching, even when it was unpopular to do so. Dorsey’s effort helped to put this practice in morbid decline.
In 1913, Leo Frank was no ambitious upstart. He was an established and prominent leader of Atlanta’s Jewish community, president of the local B’nai B’rith (1912 to 1914), and nearly five-year veteran factory superintendent of the well-known National Pencil Company (NPCo).
After trying all night long, the police finally got Leo Frank on the phone at dawn and informed him they needed to speak with him face to face.
On Sunday morning, April 27, 1913, Leo Frank was escorted by police to P. J. Bloomfield’s mortuary to identify the victim. Leo Frank claimed he wasn’t sure, that he would have to check his accounting and payroll ledgers to verify. The Atlanta police drove Leo Frank to the NPCo, and together they all went up to his second floor window front office and reviewed his accounting books. The police specifically wanted Leo Frank to examine his payroll book to try to pinpoint at what specific time Mary Phagan appeared in his office to collect her pay. After eyeballing his payroll logbook, Leo Frank told the police Phagan had arrived in his office on Saturday, April 26, 1913, at some time around 12:03 p.m.
Leo Frank then took out Newt Lee’s time card from the clock and eyeballed it, telling the police it was punched perfectly every half hour between 6:00 p.m. on April 26, 1913, to 3:00 a.m. on April 27, 1913. The information given to the police gave the indication that Newt Lee had generally performed in accordance with what was expected of his duties during his security shift. Since Leo Frank was not under suspicion at the time, he was allowed to go home.
The next day Leo Frank was called down to the station house early Monday morning, where he made a deposition to the police at 8:30 a.m., April 28, 1913. In an interrogation room at the Atlanta police station, Leo Frank had two of Georgia’s most powerful lawyers representing him, Herbert Haas and Luther Z. Rosser.
Leo Frank specifically said Mary Phagan came into his second-floor office on April 26, 1913, between “12:05 p.m. and 12:10 p.m., maybe 12:07 p.m.” The significance of the Phagan arrival time would be revealed at the trial, because Leo Frank precisely nailed the time Mary Phagan was in his possession at 12:07 p.m. (Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence, State’s Exhibit B, April 28, 1913), but the day before he said 12:03 p.m. Leo Frank would change the Phagan arrival time at least three separate times.
On Monday morning, April 28, 1913, Leo Frank also told the police that he made a mistake concerning Newt Lee’s time card that became Defendant’s Exhibit A. In contradiction to his statement on Sunday, April 27, 1913, when he had reported in front of police that Lee’s time card was punched perfectly every half hour, but after closer inspection, the night watchman had actually missed four half-hour punches, leaving open four hours of unaccounted for time. This conflicting new information added even greater suspicion upon Newt Lee, who was already prime suspect. It was the coup de grace — the deathblow — upon Newt Lee after Leo Frank made this revelation, but it turned out the next day to be an overzealous blunder that forever changed the tide against him.
While interrogated, Leo Frank had a flash of brilliance. He stood up and disrobed for the police. They inspected his body, and it was a genius segue to get them to visit his home for the purpose of inspecting his laundry. Leo Frank had adroitly plucked himself out of the spider’s web and persuaded the spiders to take him home where they inspected his hamper. Ah, that most delicate feint and subtle engram of a hint for the police to check the Negro’s shack on 68 Henderson St. And on Tuesday morning, April 29, 1913, at 9:00 a.m. sharp, with a skeleton key, they did.
On Monday morning, April 28, 1913, at 6:35 a.m., Robert Paul Barret found bloody hair tangled around the iron handle of his bench lathe (Coroner’s Inquest, May 1913). It was located against the south wall of the metal room. Moments later, one of the child laborers, Magnolia Kennedy, discovered what looked like a 5 inch wide fan-shaped blood spatter stain crowned with droplets on the floor near the bathroom’s door, and she immediately told Barret. Instead of cleaning up the bloodstain on the floor with soapy warm water and a brush, someone had smeared a white powder lubricant over it, known as haskolene.
The metal room forensic discoveries were critical, because it meant Mary Phagan might not have been initially killed in the basement where she was dumped, but in the metal room on the second floor. The police were able to come to this conclusion because the drag marks on Phagan’s face showed no sign of bleeding or healing under a magnifying glass; thus she had already been quite dead when she was dragged from the bottom of the elevator shaft in the cellar. The police measured 140 feet from the drag marks beginning at the basement’s elevator shaft to the rear where she was found.
After Leo Frank was arrested on Tuesday, April 29, 1913, at 11:35 a.m., he swore to the police for 3.5 months that he did not leave his office on April 26, 1913, from high noon to 12:45 p.m. During the coroner’s inquest on May 5 and 8, 1913, Leo Frank swore under oath that he had never left his office during the noon hour on April 26, 1913, except to go upstairs at a quarter to one o’clock.
A breakthrough in the Mary Phagan murder mystery occurred on Saturday, May 3, 1913, as Atlanta police accidentally bumped into fourteen-year-old Monteen Stover at the National Pencil Company. At that moment, Stover was a former employee of the NPCo and present with her stepmother, who was terrified and livid because of some circumstances that occurred one week earlier. Monteen Stover had failed to retrieve her pay envelope the week before on April 26, 1913. When the police asked Stover what time she arrived at the factory, she said she entered Leo Frank’s office at 12:05 p.m. and found it empty, so she waited for five minutes and left at 12:10 p.m. because she thought the factory was empty. When asked how she knew what time it was, Stover reminded the police about the wall clock in Leo Frank’s office.
On Sunday, May 4, 1913, armed with new contradictory timeline information from Monteen Stover, Detective John Black and Pinkerton Detective Harry Scott approached Leo Frank in his jail cell to test his murder alibi and asked him if he had been in his office every minute from high noon to 12:45 p.m. on April 26, 1913. Leo Frank responded with the word “yes.” The question was restated — were you in your office every minute between twelve noon and 12:35 p.m. on April 26, 1913? Leo Frank again said, “Yes.”
Detectives considered it a major breakthrough in the Mary Phagan murder investigation, because the contradiction resulting in Monteen Stover’s factory arrival time suggested that Leo Frank might have gone with Mary Phagan back to the metal room before 12:05 p.m. on April 26, 1913. The mystery was narrowing, but then Leo Frank widened it the next day by changing the time of Phagan’s arrival yet again.
On Monday, May 5, 1913, Leo Frank told the coroner and his six-man jury that Mary Phagan had come to his office between 12:10 p.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, 1913. This contradicted his deposition to police on Monday, April 28, 1913, that Phagan arrived between 12:05 p.m. and 12:10 p.m., maybe 12:07 p.m., as well as his Sunday, April 27, 1913, statement that Mary Phagan entered his office at 12:03 p.m. The coroner and his jury unanimously voted to bind Leo Frank over for murder to the grand jury.
After a two-week investigation into the Phagan murder, Leo Frank was unanimously indicted by twenty-one grand jurymen, including several Jewish members, on Saturday, May 24, 1913. This places serious doubt on Dinnerstein’s supposition that Leo Frank was indicted and convicted because of anti-Semitism. For insight into what was stated at the grand jury hearings, one can get a good idea by reading the Leo Frank trial transcript recorded in the three major competing Atlanta newspapers at the time.
Leo Frank’s twenty-nine-day trial began on July 28, 1913 and ended on August 25, 1913. The testimony segment concluded on August 21, 1913, when the closing arguments commenced.
The Solution to the Murder of Mary Phagan
Leo Frank made his newfangled revelation at his trial on August 18, 1913, at 2:46 p.m., explaining why Monteen Stover had found his office empty on April 26, 1913, between 12:05 p.m. and 12:10 p.m. Leo Frank told the judge and jury that his office was unoccupied because he might have “unconsciously” gone the bathroom in the metal room during this time.
This astonishing admission was most significant, not only because the only set of bathrooms that existed on the second floor were located in the metal room (Defendant’s Exhibit 61, State’s Exhibit A), but also because the bathroom area in the metal room was the place Jim Conley testified finding Mary Phagan dead, after Leo Frank privately (allegedly) confessed to committing the violent assault because Phagan refused to have sex with him.
The “death notes” have Mary Phagan going to “make water” in the only place possible she could have gone, namely the metal room bathroom on the second floor. There was no bathroom accessible on the first floor when the Clarke Woodenware Company departed on January 17, 1913. The large office space on the first floor had been locked since January, and Mary Phagan would likely not have gone all the way down into the dark gloomy basement and walked all the way to the rear in the pitch-black darkness to use the racially segregated “Negro toilet.”
Everything kept pointing to the second floor metal room, and Leo Frank would do more than just make his incriminating statement on August 18, 1913. He would sustain this statement on March 9, 1914, in an authorized jailhouse interview published in the Atlanta Constitution.
Did Leo Frank confess the murder of Mary Phagan to his wife Lucille Selig?
What Dinnerstein does not provide you with is the complete specifics of what the Selig cook Minola McKnight revealed to the police on June 3, 1913, about the second alleged (hearsay) murder confession of Leo Frank, one that occurred at the Selig residence on the evening of April 26, 1913. At 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, 1913, one drunk Leo Frank allegedly confessed to his wife Lucille S. Frank what he had done at the factory that afternoon (see: Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence, State’s Exhibit J, June 3, 1913). Frank told his wife he didn’t know why he would murder and asked for his pistol to shoot himself. He also made Lucille sleep on the floor. It likely explains why Lucille did not visit her husband in jail for two weeks after his arrest on Tuesday, April 29, 1913. It also explains why the grave site #1 reserved for Lucille S. Frank (Official Real Estate Location ID: 1-E-41-1035-01), located to the immediate left of Leo Frank’s grave at the Mount Carmel Cemetery, is still empty according to staff and their records at the front office there as of 2012.
When all was said and done, isn’t it odd the wife of Leo Frank who stood by her husband during his capital murder trial and appeals is not buried next to him? Isn’t it a trifle odd that her cremated ashes were not dispersed near him at the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Queens, NYC?
State’s Exhibit J would be sustained by Lucille Selig Frank when she requested cremation in her magistrate notarized 1954 last will and testament (available at the government probate office, 2012). According to Lucille Selig’s grandnephew retired in St. Petersburg, Florida, she requested to her family before passing away that the ashes be spread in an Atlanta park, but a local ordinance prevented it. So she was instead buried in an unmarked grave between the tombstones of her beloved parents in the Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta (Oney, 2003, 2004).
Leonard Dinnerstein vs. Every Level of the United States System of Justice
Leonard Dinnerstein (February 23, 2008, Tucson, Arizona), concluding in the final words of his introductory “Preface to Revised Edition” states, “I have no doubts: [Leo] Frank was innocent.” This statement sets the underlying tone of his book that goes against the majority decisions of every level within the United States legal system, where more than a dozen experienced judges — infinitely more qualified than Dinnerstein to sift the evidence — reviewed the Leo Frank trial testimony, affidavits, facts, and weighing them all in context, came to the correct conclusion, sustaining the fairness of the trial and leaving verdict undisturbed.
If an academic professor was subpoenaed to testify at a criminal trial involving a twenty-nine-year-old man accused of bludgeoning, raping, and strangling a thirteen-year-old girl, and this academic professor witness knowingly falsified and withheld evidence about the defendant, that’s called perjury. If the witness provided perjured testimony and it was later proven so beyond a reasonable doubt, that witness-perjurer would likely find themselves incarcerated in prison for a number of years, but when an academic pseudo-scholar spends forty years of his life muddling facts, withholding evidence, fraudulently manipulating official legal records and falsifying testimony of a real criminal case, he is called “historian” by academia and popular culture.
I have read nearly everything ever written by Leonard Dinnerstein, not just his blandly written books, but his numerous magazine, journal, and news articles. When I purchased every edition of Leonard Dinnerstein’s books, I took the time to read, cross-reference, and compare his works against the sources he cites in his bibliographies. The only conclusion I am able to come to is that Dinnerstein shows an unrelenting pattern of inventing facts, misquoting, lying, aggrandizing, befogging, embellishing, overstating, and oversimplifying incidents in all his books. Dinnerstein’s books, which are supposedly nonfiction and inappropriately labeled as such, are filled with falsely convincing pseudo-pedantic analysis and research.
The Leo Frank Case by Leonard Dinnerstein is a perfect example of how to artificially create popular-culture social history, by writing a book that is easy to read but not historically accurate when checked against primary sources. You would think someone who spent nearly a lifetime studying the case and putting out numerous editions of his book would at least try to offer some kind of honest and accurate portrayal of this pivotal era from the annals of U.S. history. What we have instead is the neurotic paranoid persecution rendition of history by a long-time tribally quixotic professor, one who made his career working within the cognitive and intellectual confines of the anti-Semitism lobby.
For people who have carefully studied the three major Atlanta newspapers (Georgian, Constitution, and Journal) through the years 1913 to 1915, covering the Leo Frank case in detailed accounts, and then cross-referencing them with official legal records of the Leo Frank trial and appeals, Leonard Dinnerstein’s book is a colossal let down, failure, and disgrace to 20th and 21st century historiography. Dinnerstein’s poorly researched books belong in the ash bin of history.
I find it truly astonishing the number of tenured college professors (Dinnerstein is now retired) who write with an air of authority, but knowingly make things up, and use flawed research, most of which does not measure up to even minimum academic standards of what constitutes reliable sources.
Leo Frank Helped the Police Uncover Jim Conley Wrote the Murder Notes?
Leonard Dinnerstein, in a video interview segment, during the Leo Frank documentary The People vs. Leo Frank (2009), makes authoritative statements regarding the interrogation of Jim Conley by the Atlanta police (May 1913) as they break him down in one of the docudrama scenes.
Leonard Dinnerstein states to director Ben Loeterman:
They [The Atlanta Police] asked him [Jim Conley] about the [Mary Phagan death] notes, he [Jim Conley] said, “I cant read and write.” That happened to come up in a conversation, between the [Atlanta] police and [Leo] Frank, and [Leo] Frank said, “Of course he [Jim Conley] can write. I know he [Jim Conley] can write. He [Jim Conley] used to borrow money from me [(Leo Frank)], and sign promissory notes,” so [Jim] Conley had not been completely honest with the police (People v. Leo Frank, 2009).
This Dinnerstein segment is available on either YouTube, or one can review it on the docudrama People v. Leo Frank by Jewish-American director Ben Loeterman (available on Amazon.com).
Leonard Dinnerstein lied during this interview, a lie that is easily verified by the Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence and Leo Frank Georgia Supreme Court records, 1913 and 1914.
Leo Frank was arrested by Atlanta police on Tuesday, April 29, 1913, at 11:35 a.m., and Jim Conley was arrested on Thursday, May 1, 1913. Leo Frank never informed the police that he knew Jim Conley could read and write on a semi-literate level until it was weeks too late. It was Harry Scott who got the tip Jim Conley could read and write from a detective who spoke to a pawnbroker, not Leo Frank, who concealed the fact he managed Jim Conley’s handwritten pawnshop contracts. On May 18, 1913, after 2.5 weeks of interrogating Jim Conley — using the third-degree method (good cop vs. bad cop) — Atlanta police finally began to break Jim Conley down, and he finally admitted he wrote the Mary Phagan “Death Notes.” But Conley revealed it was at the behest of Leo Frank, who was trying to frame his Negro night watchman Newt Lee. With each successive interrogation after that, Atlanta police finally got approximately what chain of events that likely had occurred in the shuttered National Pencil Company on Saturday, April 26, 1913. Leo Frank was given, on several occasions, the opportunity to confront Jim Conley face-to-face, but he refused, even with his high-powered lawyers present.
One hundred seventy employees worked under Leo Frank at the National Pencil Company in 1913, and eight of them were African-Americans, but Frank kept quiet about the fact that Conley could read and write for more than two weeks, even though Jim Conley — working as a roustabout at the factory — had done written inventory stock work for Frank.
Why did Leo Frank withhold this evidence that Jim Conley could read and write?
After Leo Frank was arrested, he never said a word to the Atlanta police about it, despite the fact Frank would take out small payments from Conley’s weekly wages and pay down the pawnshop owner’s contracts. Leo Frank allowed Jim Conley to run a shady side business out of the National Pencil Company, wheeling and dealing pocket watches under questionable circumstances. Conley even ripped off fellow co-worker, Mr. Arthur Pride, who testified about it at the Leo Frank trial, but you would never know that reading Dinnerstein’s books or magazine articles on the Frank case.
Another Leonard Dinnerstein Fraud and Hoax
Also, for nearly fifty years, Leonard Dinnerstein perpetuates one of the biggest known frauds in Leo Frank case history:
Dinnerstein references claims that do not stand up to even minimal scrutiny and openly supports the 1964 Pierre van Paassen’s Leo Frank hoax that there were in existence, in 1922, photographic X-rays at the courthouse archived from 1913, showing Leo Frank’s teeth indentures and X-ray photographs of bite marks on Mary Phagan’s neck and shoulder that did not correspondingly match Frank’s dental fingerprint.
The 1964 excerpt from To Number Our Days (available on Amazon.com) discusses the case of Leo Frank and Pierre van Paassen’s alleged 1922 discovery of photographic X-ray evidence:
The Jewish community of Atlanta at that time seemed to live under a cloud. Several years previously one of its members, Leo Frank, had been lynched as he was being transferred from the Fulton Tower Prison in Atlanta to Milledgeville for trial on a charge of having raped and murdered a little girl in his warehouse which stood right opposite the Constitution building. Many Jewish citizens who recalled the lynching were unanimous in assuring me that Frank was innocent of the crime.
I took to reading all the evidence pro and con in the record department at the courthouse. Before long I came upon an envelope containing a sheaf of papers and a number of X-ray photographs showing teeth indentures. The murdered girl had been bitten on the left shoulder and neck before being strangled. But the X-ray photos of the teeth marks on her body did not correspond with Leo Frank’s set of teeth of which several photos were included. If those photos had been published at the time of the murder, as they should have been, the lynching would probably not have taken place.
Though, as I said, the man died several years before, it was not too late, I thought, to rehabilitate his memory and perhaps restore the good name of his family. I showed Clark Howell the evidence establishing Frank’s innocence and asked permission to run a series of articles dealing with the case and especially with the evidence just uncovered. Mr. Howell immediately concurred, but the most prominent Jewish lawyer in the city, Mr. Harry Alexander, whom I consulted with a view to have him present the evidence to the grand jury, demurred. He said Frank had not even been tried. Hence no new trial could be requested. Moreover, the Jewish community in its entirety still felt nervous about the incident. If I wrote the articles old resentments might be stirred up and, who knows, some of the unknown lynchers might recognize themselves as participants in my description of the lynching. It was better, Mr. Alexander thought, to leave sleeping lions alone. Some local rabbis were drawn into the discussion and they actually pleaded with Clark Howell to stop me from reviving interest in the Frank case as this was bound to have evil repercussions on the Jewish community.
That someone had blabbed out of school became quite evident when I received a printed warning saying: “Lay off the Frank case if you want to keep healthy.” The unsigned warning was reinforced one night or, rather, early one morning when I was driving home. A large automobile drove up alongside of me and forced me into the track of a fast-moving streetcar coming from the opposite direction. My car was demolished, but I escaped without a scratch (Pierre van Paassen, To Number Our Days, 1964, p. 237-8).
Basic Fact Checking
Since Dinnerstein was an academic professor, perhaps he should ask current freshman students majoring in medicine if it was even possible to X-ray bite marks on skin in 1913 or 2012, because it’s not. Not only that, but in 1913, X-ray technology was in its infancy and was never used in any criminal case until many years after Leo Frank was hanged. Was Frank’s lawyer named “Harry Alexander” or Henry Alexander? Why would the famous attorney who represented Leo Frank during his most high-profile appeals say he didn’t have his murder trial yet and want to submit evidence to a grand jury? Leo Frank was not lynched on his way to trial in Milledgeville in late June of 1915; he was convicted at his trial in August of 1913 and was lynched in Marietta on August 17, 1915 (not Milledgeville, but 170 miles away). It defies high school level physics, logic, and reason that any person driving a motor vehicle in 1922 — when there were virtually no safety features in autos — and slamming into a head-on collision with another car would survive without a scratch.
I cannot fathom why a former career university professor emeritus of Judaic studies would surreptitiously rewrite history, when one can now easily check all the sources, facts, evidence, and testimony of the Leo Frank case by accessing the primary sources and official legal documents online at the official State of Georgia’s Archive know as “Virtual Vault.” Did Leonard Dinnerstein think these official legal records buried in dusty government vaults would never make their way online? Did Dinnerstein think Georgia’s three major newspapers (1913 to 1915) — Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta Journal, and Atlanta Georgian, from April of 1913 to August of 1915 — would never make their way online?
Leonard Dinnerstein’s Shameless Cover-up of a Racist Plot Against Two African-Americans
What Leonard Dinnerstein shamelessly left out of his books are the juicy details of how Leo Frank botched a racist plot to frame the murder of Mary Phagan on his night watchman, Newt Lee, a bald, married, old, tall, slim, and dark-complected Negro. Leo Frank told the police on Sunday, April 27, 1913, Newt Lee’s time card indicated he had punched it perfectly during his shift, once every half hour, on the evening of the day the Phagan murder occurred. But the next day, Leo Frank showed Atlanta police the same time card, but altered, with four hours of unaccounted for time (busted!). Frank also had a bloody shirt planted at Newt Lee’s shack as the coup de grace, but he made a huge mistake and used a clean shirt smeared with blood. After that intrigue failed, he changed course and tried to frame his accomplice-after-the-fact, James “Jim” Conley, but that also failed. Leo Frank’s legal defense team played every white racist card they could muster against Jim Conley at the trial, thinking Southerners were too stupid to see right through the ignorant white against black racism.
Jewish Racism against African-Americans
Since the end of the Frank’s trial, the anti-Gentile blood libel smears and false accusations of anti-Semitism conspiracies against European-American and African-American Southerners have never ceased by charlatans who refuse to tell their readers what really happened at the Leo Frank trial. With that, Dinnerstein perpetuates the racist lie that a bumbling semi-literate Negro janitor, James “Jim” Conley committed the murder alone and then framed his well-educated white boss.
Mockery of Jurisprudence
The Leo Frank Case by Leonard Dinnerstein is a mockery of legal history, because he intentionally left out volumes of the damaging incidents about Leo Frank documented in the GA Supreme Court Case File. Thus, Dinnerstein misleads the reader by retelling the case with nonsensical half-truths that would never stand up to even the slightest academic inquiry.
Dinnerstein has created a book that will be remembered by history as a shameless, over-the-top attempt to create a mythology of Leo Frank as a “martyr to anti-Semitism.” In doing that, he seems to care not at all that he may be rehabilitating the image of a serial pedophile, rapist, and strangler. To Dinnerstein, the fact that Leo Frank is Jewish, and his belief that Southern whites were anti-Jewish, are all-important realities – far more important than the facts of the case, which he presents very selectively to persuade us that his ethnocentric view is the only correct one. Leonard Dinnerstein’s partisanship borders on the pathological, and his integrity is, like Pierre van Paassen’s, essentially nonexistent.
The definitive, comprehensive, objective book on the Leo Frank case has, unfortunately, never been written. But as an antidote to Dinnerstein’s myth-making, you might want to read The Murder of Little Mary Phagan by Mary Phagan Kean. Although her book is amateurishly written, she did make a refreshingly honest effort to present both sides of the case in an unbiased manner.
This doesn’t mean I haven’t found errors in Kean’s book – I have – but compared to all the major Leo Frank authors (Oney, Dinnerstein, Alphin, Melnick, the Freys, and Golden) who have written about the case in the last 99 years, Mary Phagan Kean made the best and most honest attempt to be fair, balanced, and neutral, despite her belief in Leo Frank’s guilt. The same cannot be said for Leonard Dinnerstein (American Mercury, October 5, 2012).
I have studied the several thousand pages of Leo Frank trial and appeals records (1913 – 1915), read every book (1913 – 2010) on the subject, and reviewed more than once, the three local primary Atlanta newspapers, the Journal, Constitution, and Georgian (1913 – 1915), concerning of the case, so I feel compelled to state that the jury made the correct decision in the summer of 1913, and so did the State and Federal appeals courts in their majority decisions, sustaining the verdict and fairness of the Leo Frank trial.
Governor John Slaton, on June 21, 1915, sustained the trial jury and appeals courts on the last page of his commutation order too. Finally, March 11, 1986, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles sustained the verdict of the jury, by NOT EXONERATING Leo Frank of the murder, even though they gave him a highly political posthumous pardon as an appeasement to the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and other Jewish pressure groups and individuals involved in the petition.
The Real Crowning Achievement of Intellectual Cowardice by Leonard Dinnerstein, PhD
Leo Frank told Atlanta police officer John Black and Pinkerton Detective Harry Scott on Sunday, May 4, 1913, that he had never left his office from *noon to 12:45 p.m. on April 26, 1913*. Frank was sworn under oath (May 5 and 8, 1913) during the coroner’s inquest (April 30, 1913 to May, 8, 1913) stating he had never left his office between noon and 12:20 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, 1913, when Mary Phagan came into his office. He maintained this alibi until his trial, when he made a newfangled admission that amounted to an incriminating statement!
In sifting the Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence (1913), on August 18, 1913, at 2:15 p.m., Leo Frank mounted the witness stand, changed his four-month long maintained murder alibi and admitted to the jury he might have “unconsciously” been in the metal room (at the real scene of the crime) using the bathroom, to explain why his office was empty between 12:05 p.m. and 12:10 p.m. on April 26, 1913, which was the same time he formerly gave the murder alibi to the Atlanta police that Mary was with him inside his office, and that he never left his office until 12:45 p.m.
Leo Frank changed his murder alibi about being alone with Mary Phagan between 12:05 and 12:10 p.m. and said on August 18, 1913 (direct quote on witness stand):
Now, gentlemen [of the jury], to the best of my recollection from the time the whistle blew for twelve o’clock [noon on Saturday April 26, 1913] until after a quarter to one [12:45 p.m.] when I went up stairs and spoke to Arthur White and Harry Denham [on the fourth floor], to the best of my recollection, I did not stir out of my office [located at the front of the second floor]; but it is possible that in order to answer a call of nature or to urinate I may have gone to the toilet [in the metal room located at the back of the second floor]. Those are things that a man does unconsciously and can not tell how many times nor when he does it (Leo Frank Trial Statement, August 18, Brief of Evidence, 1913, p. 186).
I would highly suggest anyone who is interested in learning about the Leo Frank trial to read State’s Exhibit B (Leo Frank’s deposition to Atlanta police where he stated Mary Phagan had arrived at his office “between 12:05 p.m. and 12:10 p.m., maybe 12:07 p.m. on April 26, 1913”); Monteen Stover’s testimony about going to Leo Frank’s office and it being empty between 12:05 p.m. and 12:10 p.m. on April 26, 1913; and Leo Frank’s response to Stover’s testimony — reversing himself — with an “unconscious” bathroom visit to the metal room between 12:05 p.m. and 12:10 p.m. on April 26, 1913.
Be sure to also read State’s Exhibit J (Who was Leo Frank saving his kisses for? And why did Leo Frank so thoughtfully buy his wife a one-pound box of chocolates from Jacobs’ Pharmacy on the evening of the murder?), and study the National Pencil Company floor plan diagrams (Defendant’s Exhibit 61 and State’s Exhibit A) to see the only set of bathrooms on the second floor were located in the metal room. Finally, read the testimony of Jim Conley, where he describes finding Mary Phagan dead in the bathroom area of the metal room, after Leo Frank allegedly confessed to him privately about assaulting her there. This evidence ties it all together when you consider Mary Phagan’s bloody hair was found on Monday morning, April 28, 1913, tangled around the solid iron handle of Robert Barret’s bench lathe paces away from a five inch wide bloodstain found diagonally in front of the metal room’s bathroom door. Both Mary Phagan’s blood and hair were found in the metal room.
Dinnerstein simply does not have the honesty or intellectual bravura to look back on the case one hundred years later with the fearless eyes of a truly dispassionate historian. In fact, I find his book to be one of the most cunning, cowardly, and underhanded renditions of the Leo Frank affair, in the same league as Elaine Marie Alphin’s book, An Unspeakable Crime, 2010 (available on Amazon.com).
The real life Leo Frank case is filled with Frank’s failed anti-black racist plots, followed by his gutter mouth legal defense team leader, Luther Zeigler Rosser, spewing every sort of vile racial epithets and stereotypes against African-Americans (Leo Frank Trial Closing Arguments, American State Trials, Volume 10, 1918).
Even though the vast majority of people are not trained in properly analyzing or evaluating legal documents, most sensible people who carefully study the Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence (1913) agree with the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision that the testimony and exhibits were sufficient enough to convict Frank beyond a reasonable doubt.
Buy this book!
The Leo Frank Case (1991) revised edition with The Tennessean Story about Alonzo Mann authored by Leonard Dinnerstein, does not stand up to even the most basic fact checking.
Despite the fact Dinnerstein’s book is filled from beginning to end with easily disproven falsehoods and obfuscations, I must admit the gold leaf sprayed on the page edges is rather nice. I encourage everyone to buy a copy of this book and compare it with the official legal files, records, and documents of the Leo Frank case in the Georgia Supreme Court Archives to learn why this book is nothing more than an anti-Gentile racist morality tale sham that makes a baseless mockery of U.S. legal history.
Publication Date: May 1, 2008 | ISBN-10: 0820331791 | ISBN-13: 978-0820331799 | Edition: Revised
Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
The events surrounding the 1913 murder of the young Atlanta factory worker Mary Phagan and the subsequent lynching of Leo Frank, the transplanted northern Jew who was her employer and accused killer, were so wide ranging and tumultuous that they prompted both the founding of B’nai B’rith’s Anti-Defamation League and the revival of the Ku Klux Klan. The Leo Frank Case was the first comprehensive account of not only Phagan’s murder and Frank’s trial and lynching but also the sensational newspaper coverage, popular hysteria, and legal demagoguery that surrounded these events.
Forty years after the book first appeared, and more than ninety years after the deaths of Phagan and Frank, it remains a gripping account of injustice. In his preface to the revised edition, Leonard Dinnerstein discusses the ongoing cultural impact of the Frank affair. This edition includes for the first time letters written by Jim Conley. The state’s main witness against Frank, Conley would in later years come to be regarded by many as the actual killer of Mary Phagan. The letters shed light on his thought processes, interests, and preoccupations.
Dinnerstein’s analysis should interest students of southern history, anti-Semitism, civil liberties and social change.
Since the racist anti-Gentile hate mongering Jewish extremist Leonard Dinnerstein intentionally falsified so many facts of the Leo Frank case to rehabilitate a Jewish pedophile, we are going to have to do a life time fact checking audit on all of his so-called academic and “scholarly” treatments to see how much damage he has actually done subverting the American educational system and perpetuating fear mongering, using his credentials and writing to maliciously smear and defame non-Jews and exaggerate anti-Semitism as a cultural weapon to subvert and deracinate our Republic. Dinnerstein’s resume will serve as an outline to acquire his articles and fact check them. It will be a study of how Jews destroy nations by falsifying history and using racist anti-Gentilism to attack the “other” or “out-group” host and exalt the “in-group” Jewish people as long-suffering noble victims. By studying Dinnerstein’s writings, we will delve into the terrifying collective consciousness of Jewry, study the Jewish mental illness of tribal paranoia and pathology of instigating anti-Semitism as a sadomasochistic persecution complex.
Leonard Dinnerstein Resume
Emeritus Professor of History
University of Arizona
1970-2004 Professor of History
1993-2000 Director, Judaic Studies
University of Colorado Summer, 1985
Visiting Professor New York University 1969-70; Summers: 1982, 1986
Columbia University Summers: 1969, 1972, 1974, 1981, 1987, 1989
Fairleigh Dickinson University 1967-1970 Assistant Professor
City College of New York 1951-1955 B.S.S., 1955
Columbia University 1958-1966 M.A.,1960; Ph.D., 1966
Antisemitism in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994; paperback, 1996. Winner: National Jewish Book Award, History, 1994.
Uneasy at Home: Antisemitism and the American Jewish Experience. Columbia University Press, 1987 (a collection of my own previously published essays).
America and the Survivors of the Holocaust. Columbia University Press, 1982; paperback, 1986.
Natives and Strangers: Ethnic Groups and the Building of Modern America. Coauthored with Roger L. Nichols and David M. Reimers. Oxford University Press, 1979; 2nd edition, 1990; 3rd edition, 1996; 4th edition, 2003.
Ethnic Americans: A History of Immigration and Assimilation. Coauthored with David M. Reimers. Dodd, Mead, 1975. 2nd edition, Harper & Row, 1982; 3rd edition, 1988; 4th edition, Columbia University Press, 1999.
The Leo Frank Case. Columbia University Press, 1968; paperback, University of Georgia Press , 1987. Notable Trials Library edition, 1991. Co-Winner: Saturday Review’s Anisfield-Wolf Award, 1969.
America Since World War II: Historical Interpretations. Co-edited with Jean Christie. Praeger, 1976.
Decisions and Revisions: Interpretations of 20th Century American History. Co-edited with Jean Christie. Praeger, 1975.
Jews in the South. Co-edited with Mary Dale Palsson. Louisiana State University Press, 1973.
Antisemitism in the United States. Holt, Reinhart & Winston, 1971.
American Vistas. Co-edited with Kenneth T. Jackson. Oxford University Press 1971. 2nd edition, 1975. 3rd edition, 1979. 4th edition, 1983. 5th edition, 1987; 6th edition, 1991; 7th edition, 1995.
The Aliens: A History of Ethnic Minorities in America. Co-edited with Fred Jaher. Appleton , Century, Crofts, 1970. 2nd edition published by Oxford University Press, 1977, under the title, Uncertain Americans.
2. Book Chapters
“A History of American Antisemitism,” in Michael W. Grunberger, ed., From Haven to Home: 350
Years of Jewish Life in America, Library of Congress, 2004, pp. 163-177.
“The Leo Frank Murder Case,” in True Stories From The American Past, edited by William Graebner. New York : McGraw-Hill Companies, 2nd edition, 1997; 3rd edition, 2003.
“The Democratic Party, 1993-2001,” in Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., History of U.S. Political Parties, 1972-2001: The Politics of Consensus ( Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2002), pp. 4297-4322.
“Britische und amerikanische DP-Politic,” in Fritz Bauer Institut, Uberlebt und unterwegs: Judische Displaced Persons im Nachkriegsdeutschland, Jahrbuch 1997 zur Geschichte und Wirkung des Holocaust. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 1997.
“Introduction,” Liberation. Washington: United States Holocaust Museum, 1996, pp. 11-22.
“Who Were the Displaced Persons,” in Michael D’Innocenzo and Josef P. Sirefman, eds., Immigration and Ethnicity. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992.
“Antisemitism in Crisis Times in the United States: The 1920s and 1930s,” in Sander L. Gilman and Steven Katz, editors, Anti-Semitism In Times of Crisis. New York: New York University Press, 1991.
“From Desert Oasis to the Desert Caucus: The Jews of Tucson,” in Moses Rischin and John Livingston, eds., Jews of the American West. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991.
“The United States and the Displaced Persons,” in SHE’ERIT HAPLETAH, 1944-1948: Rehabilitation and Political Struggle. Proceedings of the Sixth Yad Vashem International Historical Conference, Jerusalem, October, 1985. Edited by Yisrael Gutman and Avital Saf. Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1990.
“Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Jewry, and the New Deal,” in Wilbur J. Cohen, ed., The Roosevelt New Deal: A Program Assessment Fifty Years After . Austin , TX : Lyndon Baines Johnson Policy School of Public Affairs, 1986.
“Harry S. Truman and the Displaced Persons (1945-1949),” in William F. Levantrosser, ed., Harry S. Truman: The Man From Independence. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1986.
“American Jewish Organizational Efforts to Combat Antisemitism in the United States Since 1945,” in Michael Curtis, editor, Antisemitism in the Contemporary World. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1986.
“The Funeral of Rabbi Jacob Joseph,” in David A. Gerber, ed., Anti-Semitism in American History, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986.
“Ethnic Movements,” in Jack P. Greene, ed., Encyclopedia of American Political History: Studies of the Principal Movements and Ideas. 3 volumes. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1984.
“Education and the Advancement of American Jews,” in Bernard J. Weiss, ed., American Education and the European Immigrant: 1840-1940. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982.
“German Attitudes Toward the Jewish Displaced Persons (1945-50),” in Hans L. Trefousse, editor, Germany and America: Essays on Problems of International Relations and Immigration. New York: Brooklyn College Press, 1980.
“The East European Jewish Migration to the United States,” in Leonard Dinnerstein and Frederic Cople Jaher, editors, Uncertain Americans. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.
“The Gilded Age,” with George Lankevich, in The Study of American History. 2 volumes. Dushkin Publishing Group, 1973.
“The Progressive and States Rights Parties of 1948,” in A. M. Schlesinger, ed., History of United States Political Parties. 4 volumes. New York: Chelsea House, 1973.
“The Election of 1880,” in A. M. Schlesinger, ed., History of American Presidential Elections. 4 volumes. New York: Chelsea House and McGraw-Hill, 1971; revised and republished in Arthur M. Schlesinger, ed. Running for President. 2 volumes. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.
“Joseph Rucker Lamar,” in Leon Friedman and Fred L. Israel, eds., The Justices of the United States Supreme Court, 1789-1969: Their Lives and Major Decisions. 4 volumes. New York: Chelsea House and R. R. Bowker Co., 1969.
“Atlanta in the Progressive Era: A Dreyfuss Affair in Georgia,” in F. C. Jaher, ed., The Age of Industrialism in America. New York: The Free Press, 1968.
“John Higham and Immigration History,” coauthored with David M. Reimers. Journal of American Ethnic History, 24 (Fall, 2004), 3-25.
“Is There a New Anti-Semitism in the United States?” Society, 41 (January/February 2004), 53-58.
“Immigration After World War II, 1945-48,” co-authored with David M. Reimers, Insights on Law and Society, Spring, 2001, pp. 7-9.
“Judaic Studies at the University of Arizona,” transversal. Zeitschrift des David-Herzong-Centrums fur Judische Studien, January, 2001.
“The Presidents and the Jews,” Reform Judaism, November, 2000.
“Jews in the ‘Old Southwest,'” Journal of the West, 38 (January, 1999).
Winner of best “About the West” essay in journal in 1999.
“The Fate of Leo Frank,” American Heritage, October, 1996, pp. 98-109.
“Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Jews: Another Look,” Dimensions, 10(1), (1996), 3-8.
“Our Fellow Americans: The Place of Immigration in the United States History Survey,” Perspectives (AHA Newsletter), 33 (January 1995), 3-6.
“Antisemitism in the 1990s: A Symposium,” Patterns of Prejudice, 25 (Winter, 1991), 20-22.
“When Henry Ford Apologized to the Jews,” Moment, 15 (February, 1990), 20-27, 54-55.
“Antisemitism in the United States Today,” Patterns of Prejudice, 22 (Autumn, 1988), 3-14.
“Strangers in the Land: Then and Now,” American Jewish History, 76 (December, 1986), 107-116. Coauthored with David Reimers.
“The Origins of Black Antisemitism,” American Jewish Archives, 38 (November, 1986), 113-122.
“The Supreme Court and the Rights of Aliens,” This Constitution, #8 (Fall, 1985), pp. 25-35.
“The Historiography of American Antisemitism,” Immigration History Newsletter, XVI (November, 1984), 2-7; revised, expanded and reprinted in Uneasy At Home, 1987; revised, expanded and reprinted again in Michael Brown, ed., Approaches to Antisemitism (New York: The American Jewish Committee, 1994), pp. 318-328.
“Immigration,” Humanities (NEH publication), 4 (August, 1983), 12-13, 27.
“Jews and the New Deal,” American Jewish History, 72 (June, 1983), 461-476.
“Editing a Reader,” The History Teacher, 16 (February, 1983), 209-217.
“Anti-Semitism Exposed and Attacked, 1945-1950,” American Jewish History, 71 (September, 1981), 134-149.
“America, Britain, and Palestine: The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry and the Displaced Persons, 1945-1946,” Diplomatic History, 4 (Summer, 1980), 283-302.
“The United States Army and the Jews: Policies Toward the Displaced Persons After World War II,” American Jewish History, 68 (March, 1979), 353-366.
“Anti-Semitism in the 80th Congress: the Displaced Persons Act of 1948,” Capitol Studies [now Congress and the Presidency ], VI (Fall, 1978), 11-26. Reprinted in Joel H. Silbey, ed., The Congress of the United States, 1789-1989. 3 volumes. Brooklyn, New York: Carlson Publishing, Inc., 1991, III, 693-708.
“Jews and the Desegregation Crisis in the South,” American Jewish Historical Quarterly, LXII (March, 1973), 231-241.
“A Neglected Aspect of Southern Jewish History,” American Jewish Historical Quarterly, LXI (September, 1971), 52-68.
“A Note on Southern Attitudes Toward Jews,” Jewish Social Studies, XXXII (January, 1970), 43-49.
“Leo M. Frank and the American Jewish Community,” American Jewish Archives, XX (November, 1968), 107-126. Reprinted in Maurianne Adams and John Bracey, eds., Strangers & Neighbors: Relations between Blacks & Jews in the United States. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999, pp. 271-282.
“The Senate’s Rejection of Aubrey Williams as Rural Electrification Administrator,” The Alabama Review, XXI (April, 1968), 133-43. Reprinted in Sarah Wiggins, ed., From Civil War to Civil Rights: Alabama, 1860-1960 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1987).
“The Accession of John Tyler to the Presidency,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 70 (October, 1962), 447-58.
“The Impact of Tammany Hall on State and National Politics in the 1880s,” New York History, XIII (July, 1961), 237-52.
4. Book Reviews in the following publications:
AJS, American Historical Review, American Jewish Historical Quarterly, American Jewish History, American Journal of Education, American Journal of Sociology, Arizona and the West, Business History Review, Colorado Heritage, Congress Monthly, Congressional Studies, Diplomatic History, East Central Europe, Florida Historical Quarterly, Georgia Historical Quarterly, Hispanic American Historical Review, The Historian, History: Review of New Books, History of Education Quarterly, Immigrants and Minorities, International Migration Review, Jewish Social Studies, Journal of American Ethnic History, Journal of American History, Journal of Ethnic Studies, Journal of Social History, Journal of Southwest Georgia History, Journal of Southern History, Journal of the Early Republic, Journal of the West, Journal of Social History, Labor History, Midstream, Mississippi Quarterly, Montana, Near East Journal, New Jersey History, New York History, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, Religious Studies Review, Reviews in American History, Shofar, Simon Wiesenthal Center Annual, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Western Historical Quarterly.
IV. PAPERS/TALKS/CONFERENCE PARTICIPATION
“Is There a New Antisemitism in the United States ?” Conference on 350th Anniversary of American Jewish History? Tutzig, Germany, May 24, 2005.
“How America Has Been Different for Jews,” at conference on “Why is America Different?” Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, Boston University, October 27, 2004.
“FDR and the Jews During World War II,” conference sponsored by Judaic and Holocaust Studies, FDR AND THE HOLOCAUST, Youngstown State University, April 15, 2004.
“Leo Frank: Was Jewishness a Factor in His Demise?” session on “Religion and Violence in ‘New South’ Georgia,” Southern Historical Association, 69 th Annual Meeting, Houston, Texas, November 7, 2003.
Participant in Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies Interdisciplinary Workshop on the Holocaust for Jewish Studies Scholars, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Holocaust Museum, August 25-28, 2003.
“Antisemitism in the South: Real and Perceived,” Organization of American Historians, Memphis, April, 2003.
“The United States: Is there a New Antisemitism?” at conference on “ ANTISEMITISM: The Politicization of Prejudice in the Contemporary World,” University of Toronto, Munk Centre, February 10-11, 2003.
“Primary Issues Facing Jewish Americans,” President and Provost’s Diversity Lecture Series, Ohio State University, May 15, 2002.
“America and the Survivors of the Holocaust,” at program on “Life Reborn,” Houston Holocaust Museum, Houston, Texas, April 8, 2002.
Panelist for symposium on “A Journey in Common: The Immigrant, The Theatre and The Community,” Denver Center for Performing Arts, Denver, CO, February 10-11, 2002.
“America and the Survivors of the Holocaust,” Florida Atlantic University, December 2, 2001.
Chair for session, “Creating American Jewish Identity,” Midwest Jewish Studies Association Meeting, Chicago, October 28, 2001.
Moderator for session, “Racial Science, Radical Theology, And Raunchy Pop Culture: Cultural Constructions of Jews and Race in Germany, 1870-1945,” German Studies Conference, Washington, D. C., October 5, 2001.
“Jews and Other Americans in the Interwar Period (1919-1941).” Workshop Session, Trading Cultures, Nordic Association of American Studies Conference, Copenhagen, August 8-11, 2001.
“German and East European Jews: The Complexities of a Relationship, 1890-1948,” Distinguished Humanist Lecture, Melton Center for Jewish Studies, Ohio State University, May 20, 2001.
Commentator for session, “American Jewish-Christian Relations in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” American Historical Association, Boston , January 7, 2001.
“Antisemitism in America.” In Twelfth Annual Resnick Lecture Series, Program for Jewish Studies, SUNY-New Paltz, October 4, 2000.
“America and the Survivors of the Holocaust.” The Baumler-Kaplan Holocaust Commemoration Lecture. University of Minnesota, Duluth. April 17, 2000.
Chair and Commentator for “Liberation and Interracial Coalition,” Organization of American Historians meeting, St. Louis, March 30, 2000.
“Antisemitism in America, 1942-1945,” at University of Michigan’s Annual Conference on the Holocaust, March 23, 2000.
“American Responses to the Holocaust, 1942-1945,” California State University Long Beach, March 21, 2000.
“Allied Policies Toward the Displaced Persons: the United States,” at LIFE REBORN: Jewish Displaced Persons, 1945-1951. Conference sponsored by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., January 14-17, 2000.
“Making it in America : German Jewish Immigrants and Russian Jewish Immigrants in the Twentieth Century.” Third Stein Lecture, Emory University, October 26, 1999.
“The Decline of American Antisemitism Since 1945,” for conference on “Dynamics of Antisemitism in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century,” Hebrew University of Jerusalem, June 13-16, 1999.
“American Jews in Palestine, 1939-1948,” for conference on “New Records – New Perspectives: World War II, the Holocaust, the Middle East and the Rise of the State of Israel,” December 15, 1998, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Chair and Discussant for session on “Causes and Consequences of Immigration-Related Policies,” Annual meeting of Social Science History Association, Chicago, November 22, 1998.
“Jew as ‘Other’” in session on “Jews in America,” for conference on “Jews Around the World: Cultural Intersections,” Arizona State University Department of Religious Studies, Tempe, Arizona , November 16, 1998.
Panel discussant for “Leo Frank: The Case That Will Not Die,” Southern Jewish Historical Society Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee, November 14, 1998.
“The Jews: A Minority or Not a Minority,” Purdue University Jewish Studies Program, October 8, 1998; repeated at Temple Emeth, Teaneck, New Jersey, November 1, 1998.
Chair for session on “The Foundations of West Coast Jewry,” at American Historical Association – Pacific Coast Branch, San Diego, August 9, 1998.
Chair and commentator for “Post-War Jewish Identities,” Third Scholars’ Conference on American Jewish History, June 10-12, 1998, Cincinnati.
“The Jew as Other,” in panel on “Jews and Muslims as the ‘Other’” in A Symposium Presented by the Henry R. Luce Forum in Abrahamic Religions entitled “Jews and Muslims in American Society,” University of Hartford and Hartford Seminry, November 10, 1997.
Chair of Book Session on “Ewa Morawska: Insecure Prosperity,” Social Science History Association, Washington , D.C. , October 17, 1997.
“Jews in the American Southwest,” 12 th World Jewish Studies Conference, Jerusalem, August 3, 1997.
Chair for session, “Jews in the Slave Trade,” Western Jewish Studies Association Conference, Tucson, AZ , April, 1997.
Panelist and Moderator for session on “Nazi Medical Ethics,” at Conference on The Ethics of Health Care and Healing, University of Arizona, April 3, 1997.
“Jews in the United States during World War II,” at conference on Ethnic Groups in the United States during World War II, New York University, March 9-10, 1997.
Chair and commentator for session, “American Jews and Political Conservatism,” American Historical Association meeting, New York City, January, 1997.
“American Jews and the Challenge to Racial Intolerance in the United States ” at Presidential Forum on Turning Points in History, “Nazism, the Holocaust and the Genesis of the Modern Civil Rights Movement, Mississippi State University November 12-14, 1996.
Chair, “Economics,” Midwest Jewish Studies Association, Chicago, October, 1996.
“Jews in the American Southwest,” at conference on Jewries At The Frontier, University of Cape Town, August 13, 1996.
Chair and Commentator for session on “Jews and Blacks – Mutual Images,” Second Scholars Conference on American Jewish History, New York City, June, 1996.
Chair, for session on “Philanthropy In America,” Western Jewish Studies Association Conference, Denver, April 28, 1996.
“Displaced Persons and Anglo-American and Palestinian Politics,” at conference on Uberlebt und Unterwegs, Munich , July 19-21, 1995.
Commentator for session on “Memory and Politics: the United States and Central Europe,” Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations meeting, Annapolis , June 23, 1995.
“Antisemitism in America Today.” Commencement speech at Baltimore Hebrew University , May 18, 1995.
“America and the Survivors of the Holocaust.” Robert Siegel Memorial Lecture, Western Jewish Studies Conference, San Diego, April 3, 1995.
“Antisemitism in the South,” South Carolina Jewish Historical Society, Charleston, March 19, 1995.
“Antisemitism in America.” The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT, November 2, 1994; repeated at Tucson Jewish Federation DISCOVERY series, January 30, 1995; Phoenix’s JEWISH PASSAGES XVIII, February 26, 1995.
“A Perspective on the State of Antisemitism in America Today,” National Commission Meeting of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, New York City , June 10, 1994.
“Leo Frank — Again?” Banquet speaker at Immigration History Society Dinner, Atlanta, April, 1994.
“Black Antisemitism,” at Remembering for the Future II Conference, Berlin, Germany, March, 1994.
“America and the Survivors of the Holocaust,” U.S. Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C., February 3, 1994.
Chair for session on “Anti-Semitism and the Fight Against It In America,” Association for Jewish Studies meeting, Boston, December, 1993.
Commentator for session on “Holocaust Survivors and the Untied States: A Comparative Analysis,” American Historical Association, Washington, D.C., December 30, 1992.
Commentator for session, “Beyond Black and White: Jews and Asians in the South,” Southern Historical Association, Atlanta, November 6, 1992.
Commentator for session, “Cultural Ideology and Recent American Foreign Relations,” Duquesne Forum, Pittsburgh, October 24, 1992.
“Antisemitism in the United States Since the New Deal,” Humanities Lecture Series, University of Fairfield, Fairfield CT, March 4, 1992.
“Anti-Semitism in the United States During the Depression” for a session on “American Jews and the Great Depression,” Association for Jewish Studies Annual Meeting, Boston, December, 1991.
“The State of Antisemitism in America,” at ADL International Conference on Antisemitism, Montreal, November 3, 1991.
Chair and Commentator for session on “Groups, Identity, and Power in Germany, 1941-1945,” Duquesne History Forum, Pittsburgh, October, 1991.
Chair and commentator for session on “Immigrants and Modern America,” Mid-America Conference on History, Springfield, Missouri, September, 1991.
Chair and commentator for session on “Right to Left: Barry Goldwater, Frank Church and the Politics of the Cold-War Era,” American Historical Association — Pacific Coast Branch, Hawaii, August 18, 1991.
Chair for session on “Registering Aliens and Civilians in World War II,” American Historical Association – – Pacific Coast Branch, Hawaii , August 17, 1991.
“The Study of Antisemitism in American History,” for workshop on University Teaching of Antisemitism in the Contemporary Context. International Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization, Jerusalem , July, 1991.
“Racism and Antisemitism in American History,” concluding lecture in series on “Racism, Genocide, and the Holocaust,” University of California, La Jolla, June 5, 1991.
“The Fedorenko Case,” at a session on “American Justice and Nazi Crimes,” American Historical Association, New York City, December, 1990.
“Anti-Semitism in America,” Center for Jewish Studies, University of Florida, October 24, 1990.
“Anti-Semitism During World War II,” at a conference on National and Racial Minorities In Total War, University of Keele (England), September, 1990.
Chair and commentator for session on “Ethnic Mobility in the South,” Organization of American Historians Meeting, March, 1990, Washington, D.C.
“Anti-Semitism in Historical Perspective,” for session on “Anti-Semitism in America as We Enter the 1990s,” plenum session of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, Phoenix, Arizona, February 20, 1990.
Commentator for session on “Mendicants, Menace and Spies: Hawaii ‘s Anti-Japanese Movement,” Organization of American Historians, St. Louis , April, 1989.
“Jews in Tucson ,” at session on “Ethnic Groups and the Rise of the Sunbelt,” Organization of American Historians, St. Louis, April, 1989.
“Christian-Jewish Relations in the United States, 1920s-1940s,” at a session on “American Christians and Jews,” American Historical Association, Cincinnati, December, 1988.
“America and the Survivors,” at a symposium on “The Holocaust: A Retrospective 50 Years after Kristallnacht,” Arizona State University, November, 1988.
Banquet Speaker, “Leo Frank: The Case that Will Not Die,” Southern Jewish Historical Society Conference on “New Perspectives on Southern Jewish History,” Birmingham, Alabama, November, 1988.
“Antisemitism in the United States, 1920-1945,” at a conference entitled, “Remembering for the Future: The Impact of the Holocaust and Genocide on Jews and Christians,” Oxford University, Oxford, England, July 10-13, 1988.
Keynote Address on “The Morality of the American Response to the Holocaust, 1933-1950,” at 7th Annual Conference on the Holocaust, Millersville University, Millersville, Pennsylvania, April 17, 1988.
“Gentleman’s Agreement and Anti-Semitism in America,” at Minneapolis Jewish Community Center Book Festival, November 7, 1987.
Commentator, session on “The Dominant Culture and the Immigrant Minorities,” Duquesne History Forum, Pittsburgh, October 31, 1987.
“Whom Shall We Welcome? Refugees and Displaced Persons in the Holocaust Era,” at conference on “New Americans and Our Changing Constitution: Dream and Reality for Immigrants to America,” William Paterson College, Wayne, N.J., October 23, 1987.
“Who Were the Displaced Persons?” at Hofstra Conference, “Immigration and Ethnicity, American Society: ‘Melting Pot’ or ‘Salad Bowl’?” Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y., October 8, 1987.
“Jews in the South: A Different Heritage,” at conference entitled “South of Hester Street: Reflections on Three Centuries of Southern Jewry.” Sponsored by Duke Office of Continuing Education and the Durham County Library, September, 1987.
“The Allies and the Displaced Persons,” at Yeshiva University ‘s Conference on “The Survivors of Nazism and the Reconstruction of Jewish Communities in the Early Post War Years, 1945-1950,” New York City, November 2, 1986.
Panelist for discussion section on John Higham’s STRANGERS IN THE LAND, Duquesne Forum, Pittsburgh, October 31, 1986.
“From Oasis in the Desert to the Desert Caucus: The Evolution of the Tucson Jewish Community,” Conference of Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society on “The Jewish Experience in America: A View From the West,” Denver, May, 1986.
“Jewish Immigrants to the United States, 1945-1952,” at a conference on “A Nation of Immigrants,” New York State Historical Society, New York City, May, 1986.
“The Origins of Black Antisemitism,” at a session on “Black Antisemitism,” Organization of American Historians, New York , April, 1986.
“Anti-Semitism in Times of Crisis in America,” at conference on Anti-Semitism in Times of Crisis, Cornell University, April 8-10, 1986.
“Jews, the Supreme Court and Released Time,” at a session on “The Jews, The Courts, and Religion,” American Historical Association, New York, December, 1985.
“Jews and Blacks in the Civil Rights Era: The Jewish Perspective,” Conference on Black-Jewish Relations in the United States, Center for Applied Research and Urban Policy, University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C., November, 1985.
“Tom Watson and the Jews,” Southern Historical Association, Houston, November, 1985.
“The United States and the Displaced Persons,” at a conference on “The Image and Activities of the Surviving Remnant After World War II,” Yad Vashem, Israel , October, 1985.
“The Leo Frank Case,” Organization of American Historians, Minneapolis, April, 1985.
“The Funeral of Rabbi Jacob Joseph: Ethnic Conflict in Urban America,” American Historical Association, Chicago, December, 1984.
Commentator for “American Jewish Response to 19th Century America,” Duquesne Forum, Pittsburgh, November, 1984.
“American Jewish Efforts to Combat Antisemitism in the U. S. Since World War II,” at conference on Anti-Semitism in the Contemporary World, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., November, 1983.
“The Historical Background of the D. P. Experience,” for conference on “The D. P. Experience: Ukrainian Refugees After World War II,” sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies and the Multicultural History Society of Ontario, St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, November, 1983.
Discussant for session on “ Pawns of Yalta by Mark Elliot,” Duquesne History Forum, Pittsburgh, Pa., October, 1983.
“Jews and the New Deal,” a conference on The New Deal: Fifty Years After, LBJ Library, Austin, Texas, March 2, 1983.
“American Jews and the New Deal,” American Historical Association, Washington, D.C. , December, 1982.
“Antisemitism in the United States in the 1940s,” at the York University Conference, “Anti-Semitism: A Historical and Contemporary Perspective,” Toronto, November, 1982.
Commentator on “Emigration and Immigration,” Western History Association, Phoenix, October, 1982.
“Editing a Textbook: Problems of Content, Audience, and Publication,” Organization of American Historians, Philadelphia, April, 1982.
“The United States and the Displaced Persons, 1945-1948,” American Historical Association, Los Angeles, December, 1981.
“American Antisemitism Exposed and Attacked, 1945-1950,” Duquesne History Forum, Pittsburgh , October, 1981.
“From the DP Camps to the USA , 1945-1952,” YIVO Institute Annual Conference, New York City, November, 1980.
“The Voluntary Agencies and the Displaced Persons, 1945-1952,” Duquesne History Forum, Pittsburgh, October, 1980.
“Nazism in the D. P. Camps: The Harrison Report,” Organization of American Historians, San Francisco, April, 1980.
“America and the Survivors of the Holocaust,” Southern Jewish Historical Association, Charleston, S.C., November, 1979; repeated at Columbia University American Studies Seminar, November, 1979; repeated at the Tauber Institute, Brandeis University, October, 1981; repeated at the University of Illinois, February, 1982; repeated at the Judaic Studies Program breakfast, Arizona State University, September, 1982; repeated at the Jack P. Eisener Institute for Holocaust Studies, CUNY Graduate Center, NYC, October, 1982; repeated at the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, July, 1985; repeated at Suffolk County (New York) Community College, October, 1985.
“German Reactions to Jewish Displaced Persons, 1945-1950,” Carl Schurz Conference on German American Relations and Immigration, Brooklyn College, October, 1979.
“The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry,” American Historical Association, San Francisco, December, 1978.
“Education and the Advancement of East European Jews,” Duquesne History Forum, Pittsburgh, October, 1978.
“Anti-Semitism in the 80th Congress: The Displaced Persons Act of 1948,” Duquesne History Forum, Pittsburgh, October, 1977.
Discussant for “Nativism in the 1930s: Gerald L. K. Smith as a Test Case,” at Southwestern Social Science Association, Dallas, Texas, April, 1977.
Commentator on “Native Blacks and Immigrants in the South, 1865-World War I,” Southern Historical Association, Washington, D.C., November, 1975.
“The East European Jewish Migration to the United States, 1880-1924,” XIV International Congress of Historical Sciences, San Francisco, August, 1975.
Commentator on “Jewish Strategy for Minority Survival,” American Historical Association, Chicago, December, 1974.
Moderator for panel on “Americanization and the Immigrant Experience,” Duquesne History Forum, Pittsburgh, October, 1974.
“Jews and the Desegregation Crisis in the South, 1954-1970,” Southern Historical Association, Houston, Texas , 1971.
“Jews in the Antebellum South,” American Historical Association-Pacific Coast Branch Meeting, San Diego, August, 1969.
“Jews in the South,” Southern Baptist-Jewish Scholars Conference, Louisville , Kentucky, August, 1969.
V. HONORS AND AWARDS
Fulbright German Studies Seminar Participant, 2002: International Migration and National Identities.
Distinguished Humanist Award from Ohio State University, May, 2001.
Member, Academic Council, American Jewish Historical Society, 1980-
Member, Executive Council, Immigration History Society, 1980-1983.
Judge, category of biography/autobiography, Kenneth B. Smilen Present Tense Literary Awards, 1984.
Chairman, Program Committee, Immigration History Society, 1980-1982.
Chair, Program Committee, American Historical Association— Pacific Coast Branch, 1998.
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships: 1970 (Summer); 1977 (Summer); 1978 (Calendar Year); 1985 (Travel Grant); 1987 (Summer); 1989 (Travel Grant); 1991-1992 (academic year).
National Endowment for the Humanities, Director, Summer Seminar for College Teachers: “Minorities in the Southwest,” University of Arizona, Summers, 1980, 1983.
Referee, Division of Fellowships, NEH, 1982, 1983, 1992, 1994.
Consultant, US Holocaust Museum, 1994.
University of Arizona : Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Professor, 1990.
Research Grants from the Immigration History Research Center (1975), Harry S. Truman Library (1976), Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (1977), University of Arizona Foundation (1979), Herbert Hoover Library (1979), American Philosophical Society (1979, 1982), University of Arizona (1971, 1972, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989); American Jewish Archives (1992).
Scholar-in-Residence, Temple Beth-Israel, Phoenix , February 27, 1987-March 1,1987.
Check this out, Students of the Leo Frank Epic Saga…
POLITICS, PREJUDICE, AND PERJURY
Published in Flagpole Magazine, p. 9 (March 1, 2000).
Author: Donald E. Wilkes, Jr., Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law.
The Leo Frank Case
University of Georgia Press, 1987, 1999
248 pp., paperback, $15.95
The case of Leo M. Frank, the most important Georgia criminal proceeding of the 20th century, has been the subject of dozens of books, and hundreds of articles in magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals. The best single article on the case is still the one by Clement Eaton Moseley, published in the Georgia Historical Quarterly in 1967. Notable among the books are Charles and Louise Samuels, Night Fell on Georgia (1956), Harry Golden, A Little Girl is Dead (1965), Mary Phagan Kean, The Murder of Little Mary Phagan (1987), and Robert Seitz Frey and Nancy Thompson-Frey, The Silent and the Damned (1988).
The best and most authoritative book, however, is Leonard Dinnerstein’s The Leo Frank Case (1987), reprinted by the UGA press in March 1999. Dinnerstein, formerly an Atlanta resident, and now a history professor at the University of Arizona, wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on the Frank case, and his book is an expanded version of the dissertation.
The Frank case remains, as Dinnerstein reminds us, “one of the most lurid displays of intolerance in the Progressive Era,” and “one of the causes celebres of the century.”
The story of the Leo Frank case reads like a Greek tragedy. As The New Republic wrote at the time: “In ancient times when a man was treated as Leo Frank has been treated people felt that an obscene god was pursuing him. No mortal could be so relentless. No mortal could surround another with such ingenious cruelty. Only a conspiracy of fate could make horror so massive. We try nowadays to think differently, but in the case of Frank it is not easy.”
Around noon on Saturday, April 26, 1913, a 13-year old girl was robbed and murdered, but probably not sexually abused, at the National Pencil Factory in downtown Atlanta, where she was employed. The crime caused tremendous public excitement and outrage, fanned by a massive amount of sensationalistic newspaper coverage. Leo Frank, the Jewish manager of the factory, was one of several persons arrested for the crime and the only one who was actually placed on trial. Born in Texas, the 29-year old Frank had moved to Atlanta from New York about five years earlier. His mob-dominated, month-long trial in Fulton County Superior Court in July and August of 1913 was the longest criminal trial in Georgia history up to then, and resulted in his being convicted and sentenced to death. After Frank had exhausted his appeals without obtaining a reversal of his conviction, his hanging was fixed for June 22, 1915. The day before his scheduled execution, however, Gov. John M. Slayton commuted the sentence to life imprisonment, and Frank was transferred to a state prison near Milledgeville. Less than two months later, on the night of August 16/17, 1915, a group of 25 men from Cobb county, angered by the commutation and determined to execute a death sentence anyway, drove to the prison in automobiles, broke into the prison, overpowered the guards, seized Frank, drove him to Cobb county (where the murdered girl had once lived and where she was buried), and murdered him by hanging him from a tree. None of the lynchers was ever prosecuted or even identified by law enforcement officials. Frank received a posthumous pardon in 1985.
The modern historical consensus, as exemplified in the Dinnerstein book, is that, in addition to being apparently the only Jewish person ever lynched in American history, Leo Frank was an innocent man convicted at an unfair trial. As two historians who closely studied his case wrote in 1956: “Leo Frank was the victim of one of the most shocking frame-ups ever perpetrated by American law-and-order officials.” History has thus vindicated the contemporary observer who witnessed the monstrous injustices committed against Frank and wrote shortly after the lynching: “Future writers … will unanimously admit that Leo M. Frank was the victim of a biased sentiment, that his judicial rights were denied him, and that his hanging on a lonely oak was the climax of a series of flagrant violations of justice which ignominiously but undoubtedly will raise him to the position of … [a] martyr.”
History has also vindicated another contemporary observer who wrote in 1915 that “for brevity, the heart of the Frank case may be summed up in three words-politics, prejudice, and perjury.”
The questionable activities of the prosecuting attorney, Hugh Dorsey, provide a good example of how Frank was victimized by politics and politicians. Dorsey was an ambitious, unscrupulous politician who used the Frank case to propel himself into two terms as Governor of Georgia. Dorsey was quite willing to use false evidence to secure a conviction, and in other ways made plain that he would use any tactic he thought necessary, whether fair or not, to prevent Frank’s acquittal. As Dinnerstein bluntly puts it: “In 1913, when Hugh Dorsey prosecuted Leo Frank, he convinced many people that his primary concern was with his political reputation and not with obtaining justice.”
Few criminal defendants have been as victimized by popular prejudices as Leo Frank. Prior to his trial yellow journalism and what Dinnerstein calls “newspaper hysteria” resulted in numerous headlines and stories containing false or misleading information extremely damaging to Frank. It was falsely but widely reported and believed that Frank was a sex pervert. As a Northerner and a factory manager he was the victim of prejudice against Yankees and the corporations that employed child labor. He was also the victim of anti-Semitism. One ugly rumor widely circulated at the time, Dinnerstein tells us, was “that the tenets of the Jewish faith forbade the violation of Jewish, but not Gentile, women.” During Frank’s trial crowds outside the courthouse chanted, “Hang the Jew.”
As for perjury, it is quite clear from the Dinnerstein book that much of the testimony from various prosecution witnesses at Frank’s trial was perjurious. The key witness against Frank was Jim Conley, the factory’s janitor, who almost certainly was the actual murderer of the young girl Frank was charged with killing. The material parts of Conley’s testimony, so damaging to Leo Frank, were lies, and were known to be lies by prosecutor Dorsey and by the police.
The courageous conduct of Gov. Slayton in personally investigating the case and commuting the sentence of Leo Frank constitutes one of the most admirable, heroic, and noble episodes in the history of the office of governor in this state. His 31-page commutation order, in which he expresses doubt about Frank’s guilt and his suspicions about Conley, is one of the great state papers in American gubernatorial history.
Gov. Slayton, who acquired the sobriquet “the incomparable Georgian” due to his actions in the Frank case, accompanied his order with this sublime statement:
“Two thousand years ago another Governor washed his hands of a case and turned a Jew over to a mob. For two thousand years that Governor’s name has been accursed. If today another Jew were lying in his grave because I had failed to do my duty I would all through life find his blood on my hands and would consider myself an assassin through cowardice.”
At the end of his book Dinnerstein concludes that “if the laws of civilization are to be respected, societies must eradicate the conditions which turn men into beasts.” That, he says, is the only sure way to avoid a continuing series of Leo Frank cases. Dinnerstein therefore appears to believe that only systematic inculcation of deep respect for human rights, especially the rights of those charged with or convicted of horrible crimes, can assure that all citizens will receive what they most deserve from government-liberty, justice, and rights, the very things Leo Frank was deprived of to Georgia’s enormous shame.
Dinnerstein’s book is must reading for all Georgians who believe that knowledge of their state’s history is necessary to avoid repeating the mistakes that have blemished this great state’s past.
To read the several-part series of articles about the Leo Frank case by Donald E. Wilkes on Flagpole.com magazine, visit: https://www.leofrank.org/donald-e-wilkes-jr/.
“The Fate of Leo Frank,” American Heritage, October 1996 | Volume 47, Issue 6,
By Leonard Dinnerstein
He was a Northerner. He was an industrialist. He was a Jew. And a young girl was murdered in his factory.
ON DECEMBER 23, 1983, THE LEAD EDITORIAL IN THE ATLANTA Constitution began, “Leo Frank has been lynched a second time.” The first lynching had occurred almost seventy years earlier, when Leo Frank, convicted murderer of a thirteen year-old girl, had been taken from prison by a band of vigilantes and hanged from a tree in the girl’s hometown of Marietta, Georgia. The lynching was perhaps unique, for Frank was not black but a Jew. Frank also is widely considered to have been innocent of his crime. Thus the second “lynching” was the refusal of Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Paroles to exonerate him posthumously.
Frank’s trial, in July and August 1913, has been called “one of the most shocking frame-ups ever perpetrated by American law-and-order officials.” The case became, at the time, a cause célèbre in which the injustices created by industrialism, urban growth in Atlanta, and fervent anti-Semitism all seemed to conspire to wreck one man.
Until the discovery of Mary Phagan’s body in the basement of Atlanta’s National Pencil Company factory, Leo Frank led a relatively serene life. Born in Cuero, Texas, in 1884, he was soon taken by his parents to Brooklyn, New York. He attended the local public schools, the Pratt Institute, and Cornell University. After graduation he accepted the offer of an uncle, Moses Frank, to help establish a pencil factory in Atlanta and become both co-owner and manager of the plant. He married Lucille Selig, a native Atlantan, in 1910, and in 1912 he was elected president of the local chapter of the national Jewish fraternity B’nai B’rith. Then, on the afternoon of April 26, 1913, Mary Phagan, an employee, stopped by Frank’s factory to collect her week’s wages on her way to see the Confederate Memorial Day parade and was murdered.
A night watchman discovered the girl’s body in the factory basement early the next morning. Sawdust and grime so covered her that when the police came they could not tell whether she was white or black. Her eyes were bruised, her cheeks cut. An autopsy would reveal that her murderer had choked her with a piece of her own underdrawers and broken her skull. The watchman, Newt Lee, summoned the police; they suspected that he might have committed the murder, and they arrested him. After inspecting the scene, the officers went to Frank’s home and took him to the morgue to see the body. The sight of the corpse unsettled him, and he appeared nervous. He remembered having paid the girl her wages the previous day but could not confirm that she had then left the factory. The police would find no one who would admit to having seen her alive any later.
Hugh Dorsey built a case around Frank’s alleged perversions. Four weeks after the murder the grand jury granted the indictment he sought.
A NUMBER OF UNSOLVED MURDERS HAD taken place in Atlanta during the previous eighteen months, and the police were under pressure to find the culprit. Early newspaper reports erroneously suggested that Mary Phagan had been raped, and crowds of people were soon milling about the police station, anxious to get their hands on whoever had committed the crime. Frank’s uneasy behavior and the public’s hunger for justice made him a prime suspect. He was arrested two days later.
Shortly thereafter some factory employees told a coroner’s jury, convened to determine the cause of death and suggest possible suspects for investigation, that Frank had “indulged in familiarities with the women in his employ.” And the proprietress of a “rooming house” signed an affidavit swearing that on the day of the murder Frank had telephoned her repeatedly, seeking a room for himself and a young girl. Both these charges were later proved false (many witnesses recanted their accusations later), but newspapers headlined them, fueling talk of Jewish men seeking Gentile girls for their pleasure. The solicitor general, Hugh Dorsey, built a case for the prosecution around Frank’s alleged perversions. Four weeks after the murder the grand jury granted the indictment Dorsey sought.
Unknown to the members of the grand jury, however, another suspect had also been arrested. He was Jim Conley, a black janitor at the factory who had been seen washing blood off a shirt there. He admitted having written two notes found near the body. They read: “Mam that negro hire down here did this i went to make water and he push me down that hole a long tall negro black that hoo it was long sleam tall negro i wright while play with me” and “he said he wood love me land dab n play like the night witch did it but that long tall black negro did buy his slef.”
At first almost all investigators assumed that the author of these items had committed the crime. But Conley claimed to have written them as Frank dictated the words, first the day before the murder occurred, then, according to Conley’s second affidavit, on the day of the crime.
Conley ultimately signed four affidavits, changing and elaborating his tale each time. Originally he said he had been called to Frank’s office the day before the murder and asked to write phrases like “dear mother” and “a long, tall, black negro did this by hisself,” and he claimed to have heard Frank mumble something like “Why should I hang?” But the newspapers found the idea of Frank’s having prepared for an apparent crime of passion by asking a black janitor to write notes about it utterly ridiculous. So Harry Scott, the chief detective, said he then “pointed out things in [Conley’s] story that were improbable and told him he must do better than that.” Another lengthy interrogation led to the second affidavit. It stated that Frank had dictated the notes just after the murder and that Conley had removed the dead body from a room opposite Frank’s office, on the second floor, and taken it by elevator to the basement. (Later evidence showed that the elevator had not been in operation from before the time of the girl’s death until after her body was discovered.) A third affidavit spelled out in greater detail the steps Conley had allegedly taken in assisting Frank with the disposal of the dead girl. The Atlanta Georgian had already protested after the janitor’s second statement that with Conley’s “first affidavit repudiated and worthless it will be practically impossible to get any court to accept a second one.” But Atlantans had been so conditioned to believe Frank guilty that few protested the inconsistencies in the janitor’s tale.
Among those who questioned the prosecution’s case against Frank were the members of the grand jury that had originally indicted him. They wanted Dorsey to reconvene them so that they could charge Conley instead. Dorsey refused, so the jury foreman did it on his own. It was the first time an Atlanta grand jury had ever considered a criminal case against the wishes of the solicitor general. Then Dorsey came back before the group and pleaded with them not to indict the black man. Exactly what he told them was not made public, but the next day the Atlanta Constitution reported that “the solicitor did not win his point without a difficult fight. He went in with a mass of evidence showing why the indictment of the negro would injure the state’s case against Frank and stayed with the grand jurors for nearly an hour and a half.”
It is difficult to say why the grand jury ultimately supported Dorsey. Perhaps they accepted the Atlanta Georgian’s explanation: “That the authorities have very important evidence that has not yet been disclosed to the public is certain.” Or, given Southern values, they may have assumed that no attorney would base his case on the word of a black man “unless the evidence was overwhelming.” In any case, the solicitor prevailed and prepared to go to trial.
THE TRIAL BEGAN ON JULY 28, 1913, AND brought forth large and ugly-tempered crowds. The heinous nature of the crime, rumors of sexual misdeeds, newspaper reports of “very important evidence that has not yet been disclosed,” the solicitor general’s supreme confidence, and anti-Semitism (a Georgia woman had written that “this is the first time a Jew has ever been in any serious trouble in Atlanta, and see how ready every one is to believe the worst of him”) combined to create an electric tension in the city. Gossip about Frank had been widespread, and many Georgians wondered if an unbiased jury would be possible. But jury selection was swift, and in an atmosphere punctuated by spontaneous applause for the prosecuting attorney and shouts of “Hang the Jew” from throngs outside the courthouse, the proceedings unfolded.
Solicitor Dorsey opened his presentation by trying to establish where and when the crime had occurred. He elicited testimony from several witnesses about blood spots on the floor and strands of hair on a lathe that Mary Phagan had allegedly fallen against in the room opposite Frank’s office. (The state biologist had specifically informed the prosecution that the hair was not Mary Phagan’s, and many witnesses testified that the bloodstains could have been merely paint spots; Dorsey ignored them.)
The heart of the state’s case, however, revolved around Jim Conley’s narrative. Although his story had gone through several revisions during the previous weeks—all of them published in the newspapers—his courtroom account mesmerized the spectators. Conley told how he had served as a lookout in the past when Frank “entertained” women in the factory (no such women ever appeared at the trial), how after an agreed-upon signal he would lock or unlock the front door or go up to the superintendent’s office for further instruction. He claimed that on the fatal day Frank had summoned him to his office, and when he arrived there, he had found his boss “standing up there at the top of the steps and shivering and trembling and rubbing his hands.…He had a little rope in his hands.…His eyes were large and they looked right funny.…His face was red. Yes, he had a cord in his hands.…After I got up to the top of the steps, he asked me ‘Did you see that little girl who passed here just a while ago?’ and I told him I saw one.…‘Well…I wanted to be with the little girl and she refused me, and I struck her and…she fell and hit her head against something, and I don’t know how bad she got hurt. Of course you know I ain’t built like other men. The reason he said that was, I had seen him in a position I haven’t seen any other man that has got children.” Conley did not explain that last sentence; instead he went on to detail how Frank had offered, but never given him, money to dispose of the body. He said Frank had then asked him if he could write and, when he said yes, had dictated the murder notes.
When Dorsey concluded his presentation, Frost’s Magazine of Atlanta, which had previously made no editorial comment about the case, condemned both the solicitor and Atlanta’s chief detective for misleading the public into thinking that the state had sufficient evidence to warrant an accusation against Frank. “We cannot conceive,” the commentary read, “that at the close of the prosecution, before the defense has presented one single witness, that it could be possible for any juryman to vote for the conviction of Leo M. Frank.”
Frank had retained two of the South’s best-known attorneys to defend him: Luther Z. Rosser, an expert at cross-examination, and Reuben R. Arnold, a prominent criminal lawyer. Despite their brilliant reputations, they failed to display their forensic talents when they were most needed. Rosser and Arnold cross-examined Conley for a total of sixteen hours on three consecutive days and could not shake his basic tale. He continually claimed to have forgotten anything that tended to weaken the case against Frank, and some observers thought Conley had been carefully coached by the solicitor general and his subordinates. The murder and disposal of the body would have taken at least fifty minutes to accomplish as the janitor described them, yet witnesses corroborated Frank’s recollection of his whereabouts for all but eighteen minutes of that time. Furthermore, much of Conley’s narrative depended on his having removed the body to the basement via the elevator, but floor markings, the absence of blood in the elevator, and other incontrovertible evidence proved that he hadn’t. Why Frank’s attorneys failed to exploit these facts, and why they also failed to request a change of venue before the trial began, has never been explained. But their inability to break Conley undermined their client’s case. A reporter who attended every session of the hearings later observed, “I heard Conley’s evidence entire, and was impressed powerfully with the idea that the negro was repeating something he had seen.…Conley’s story was told with a wealth of infinitesimal detail that I firmly believe to be beyond the capacity of his mind, or a far more intelligent one, to construct from his imagination.”
Rosser and Arnold’s biggest error was probably their attempt to delete from the record Conley’s discussion of times he had “watched for” Frank. For a day the two men got the janitor to talk about Frank’s alleged relationships with other women, hoping to poke holes in the testimony; then they tried to get the whole discussion stricken. Even one of Dorsey’s assistants agreed this information should not have been allowed into the record but added that once Conley had been examined and cross-examined on the subject, it was wrong to try to expunge it. “By asking that the testimony be eliminated,” the Atlanta Constitution noted, the defense “virtually admit their failure to break down Conley.”
One juror had allegedly been overheard to say, “I am glad they indicted the God damn Jew. They ought to take him out and lynch him.”
It did not matter thereafter that witnesses came in to attest to Frank’s good character and his whereabouts before, during, and after the murder. It also made little difference that Frank’s explanation of his activities on the day of the murder carried, according to the Constitution, “the ring of truth in every sentence.” Conley’s narrative absolutely dominated the four-week trial.
In their summations Arnold and Rosser accused the police and solicitor general of having fabricated the evidence. Arnold stated that “if Frank hadn’t been a Jew, there would never have been any prosecution against him,” and he likened the entire case to the Dreyfus affair in France: “the savagry [sic] and venom is…the same.”
But once again Dorsey emerged the winner. The Constitution described his closing argument as “one of the most wonderful efforts ever made at the Georgia bar.” The solicitor reviewed the evidence, praised his opponents as “two of the ablest lawyers in the country,” and then reemphasized how these men could not break Conley’s basic narrative. He went on to state that although he had never mentioned the word Jew, once it was introduced he would use it. The Jews “rise to heights sublime,” he asserted, “but they also sink to the lowest depths of degradation.” He noted that Judas Iscariot, too, had been considered an honorable man before he disgraced himself. The bells of a nearby Catholic church rang just as the solicitor was finishing. Each time Dorsey proclaimed the word guilty the bells chimed, and they “cut like a chill to the hearts of many who shivered involuntarily” in the courtroom.
The jury took less than four hours to find Frank guilty, and the judge, fearing mob violence, asked the defense to keep their client out of court during sentencing. Rosser and Arnold agreed. Solicitor Dorsey requested that they promise not to use Frank’s absence as a basis for future appeals—even though barring a defendant from his own sentencing might constitute a denial of his right to due process of law—and the two defense attorneys assented.
Frank’s attorneys kept their word and ignored the issue in their appeals for a new trial. According to state law, appeals in a capital case could be based only on errors in law and had to be heard first by the original trial judge. Rosser and Arnold based their appeal on more than 115 points, including the alleged influence of the public on the jury, the admissibility of Conley’s testimony about Frank’s alleged sexual activities, and affidavits from people who swore that two of the jurors were anti-Semitic. (One had allegedly been overheard to say, “I am glad they indicted the God damn Jew. They ought to take him out and lynch him. And if I get on that jury I’d hang that Jew sure.”) Dorsey and his associates countered with affidavits from the jurors swearing that public demonstrations had not affected their deliberations. In his ruling, Leonard Roan, the trial judge, upheld the verdict and commented that although he was “not thoroughly convinced that Frank is guilty or innocent. The jury was convinced.”
THE NEXT APPEAL, TO THE GEORGIA Supreme Court, centered on Roan’s doubt of Frank’s guilt, but the justices went along with the earlier decision. This court concluded that only the trial judge could decide whether the behavior of the spectators had prevented a fair trial and whether the jurors had been partial. The judges also ruled Conley’s testimony relevant and admissible and dismissed Roan’s personal expression of doubt.
At this point Frank replaced his counsel. The new attorneys did not feel bound by their predecessors’ promise to Dorsey, and they pressed the argument that Frank had been denied due process by being absented from his sentencing. But the state supreme court responded that “it would be trifling with the court to…now come in and…include matters which were or ought to have been included in the motion for a new trial.”
The new attorneys went on to try to get the United States Supreme Court to issue a writ of habeas corpus, on the ground that the mob had forced Frank to absent himself from the court at the time of his sentencing, and thus he was being held illegally. The Court agreed to hear arguments on that question and, after two months, rejected the plea by a vote of 7-2.
Justice Mahlon Pitney explained that errors in law, no matter how serious, could not legally be reviewed in a request for a writ of habeas corpus but only in a petition for a writ of error. And Frank’s contention of having been denied due process “was waived by his failure to raise the objection in due season.…” In a celebrated dissent, Justices Oliver Wendeil Holmes and Charles Evans Hughes concluded, “Mob law does not become due process of law by securing the assent of a terrorized jury.”
It is difficult for those not well versed in the law to follow the legal reasoning behind such procedural and constitutional questions, especially when judges are not even considering disputes in testimony or blatantly expressed prejudices. Thus many people assumed that the Court was reconfirming the certainty of Frank’s guilt. Afterward his attorneys sought commutation to life imprisonment rather than a complete pardon because they concluded that after all the judicial setbacks they would have a better chance with the governor that way.
Once the case came before him, Gov. John M. Slaton moved with dispatch. He listened to oral presentations from both sides, read the records, and then visited the pencil factory to familiarize himself with the scene of the crime. Since the two sides differed in their arguments on where the murder had actually taken place—the metal-lathe room on the second floor versus the factory basement—and whether the elevator had been used, the governor paid particular attention to those parts of the building. Besides the voluminous public records, Slaton received a personal letter written by the trial judge recommending commutation, a secret communication from one of Hugh Dorsey’s law partners stating that Jim Conley’s attorney believed his own client was guilty, and a note from a federal prisoner indicating that he had seen Conley struggling with Mary on the day of the murder.
For twelve days Slaton wrestled with the materials. On the last day he worked well into the night, and at 2:00 A.M., on June 21, 1915, he went up to his bedroom to inform his wife. “Have you reached a decision?” she asked.
“Yes.” he replied, “…it may mean my death or worse, but I have ordered the sentence commuted.”
Mrs. Slaton then kissed her husband and confessed, “I would rather be the widow of a brave and honorable man than the wife of a coward.”
A ten-thousand-word statement accompanied the governor’s announcement. Slaton appeared thoroughly conversant with even the minutiae of the case. He saw inconsistencies in Conley’s narrative and zeroed in on them. The first significant discrepancy dealt with the factory elevator. Conley had admitted defecating at the bottom of the shaft on the morning before the murder. When police and others arrived the next day, the feces remained. Not until someone moved the elevator from the second floor was the excrement mashed, causing a foul odor. Therefore, Slaton concluded, the elevator could not have been used to carry Mary Phagan’s body to the basement. Furthermore, according to scientific tests, no bloodstains appeared on the lathe or on the second floor—where the prosecution had contended that the murder had taken place—or in the elevator. But Mary’s mouth, nostrils, and fingernails had been full of sawdust and grime similar to that in the basement, not on the second floor.
OTHER DETAILS ALSO INCRIMINATED CONLEY. The murder notes found near the body had been written on order pads whose numerical sequence corresponded with those stored in the basement and not at all with those in Frank’s office. Another major discrepancy that Slaton noticed concerned the strand of hair found on the metal lathe. Since the state biologist had determined that it could not have come from Mary’s head, testimony from Dorsey’s witness that “it looked like her hair” had to be dismissed.
Privately Slaton told friends that he believed Frank was innocent, and he claimed that he would have pardoned him except that he had been asked only for a commutation and he assumed the truth would come out shortly anyway, after which the very people clamoring for Frank’s death would be demanding his release. Slaton’s announcement of the commutation sent thousands of Atlantans to the streets, where they burned Frank and the governor in effigy; hundreds of others marched toward Slaton’s mansion, where state troopers prevented them from lynching him.
A wave of anti-Semitic demonstrations followed. Many Georgians assumed that the governor’s “dastardly” actions resulted from Jewish pressures upon him. Atlanta Jews feared for their lives, and many fled the city. Responding to these actions a few days later, Slaton declared: “Two thousand years ago another Governor washed his hands of a case and turned over a Jew to a mob. For two thousand years that Governor’s name has been accursed. If today another Jew were lying in his grave because I had failed to do my duty I would all through life find his blood on my hands and would consider myself an assassin through cowardice.”
But the mob would not be thwarted. A fellow inmate at the state prison farm cut Frank’s throat. While he was recovering in the hospital infirmary, a band of twenty-five men, characterized by their peers as “sober, intelligent, of established good name and character—good American citizens,” stormed the prison farm, kidnapped Frank, and drove him 175 miles through the night to Marietta, Mary Phagan’s hometown, where, on the morning of August 17, 1915, they hanged him from an oak tree. Although most of the people in Marietta knew who the killers were, a coroner’s jury concluded that Frank had been lynched by persons unknown. The Pittsburgh Gazette restated that finding: “What the coroner’s jury really meant was that Frank ‘came to his death by hanging at the hands of persons whom the jury wishes to remain unknown.’”
Although most of Marietta knew who the killers were, a coroner’s jury concluded that Frank had been lynched by persons unknown.
Many of Frank’s friends and later defenders attributed the hanging to unbridled mob passions, but the explanation cannot suffice. “The very best people,” a local judge opined at the time, had allowed the Frank case to go through all the courts, letting the judicial process take its course. Then, after every request for a new trial had been turned down, the governor had outrageously stepped in. “I believe in law and order,” the judge said. “I would not help lynch anybody. But I believe Frank has had his just deserts.”
OBVIOUSLY, MUCH MORE THAN JUST A wish to carry out the court’s decision motivated Frank’s killers. The man symbolized all that Georgians resented. He was the Northerner in the South, the urban industrialist who had come to transform an agrarian society, a Jew whose ancestors had killed the Savior and whose coreligionists rejected the truth of Christianity. Thus, despite the fact that the state used a black man as its key witness, something that would have been unthinkable had the accused been a Southern white Christian, Atlantans could easily believe the worst about this particular defendant.
Over the years scores of people have wondered why many Georgians were loath to suspect that a black man might have committed the murder. The answer may have come from the pastor of the Baptist church that Mary Phagan’s family attended. In 1942 the Reverend L. O. Bricker wrote: “My own feelings, upon the arrest of the old Negro night-watchman, were to the effect that this one old Negro would be poor atonement for the life of this little girl. But, when on the next day, the police arrested a Jew, and a Yankee Jew at that, all of the inborn prejudice against the Jews rose up in a feeling of satisfaction, that here would be a victim worthy to pay for the crime.”
As time passed, people no longer remembered the specific facts of the case, but they told the story of Mary Phagan and Leo Frank to their children and grandchildren. As with all folktales, some details were embellished, others were dropped; however, as the first three verses of “The Ballad of Mary Phagan” unfold, no listener can have any difficulty knowing what happened:
Little Mary Phagan
She left her home one day;
She went to the pencil-factory
To see the big parade.
She left her home at eleven,
She kissed her mother good-by;
Not one time did the poor child think
That she was a-going to die.
Leo Frank he met her
With a brutish heart, we know;
He smiled and said, “Little Mary,
You won’t go home no more.”
People have argued the Frank case again and again, but usually without specific knowledge, falling back on hearsay to support their positions. However, in 1982 a dramatic incident put the case back in the public spotlight. Alonzo Mann, who had been a fourteen-year-old office boy in the Atlanta pencil factory in 1913, swore that he had come into the building on the day of the murder and witnessed Jim Conley carrying Mary Phagan’s body toward the steps leading to the basement. The janitor had warned him, “If you ever mention this, I’ll kill you.” Lonnie Mann ran home and told his mother what he had seen and she advised him to “not get involved.” He obeyed her but eventually began telling his tale to friends. Finally, in 1982, two enterprising reporters filed the story in the Nashville Tennessean.
Mann’s revelations stimulated a renewed effort to achieve a posthumous pardon for Leo Frank. Newspapers editorialized on the need to clear his name, public-opinion polls showed a majority in Georgia willing to support a pardon, and the governor of the state announced in December 1983 that he believed in Frank’s innocence. But three days before Christmas the Board of Pardons and Paroles denied the request. It asserted that Mann’s affidavit had provided “no new evidence to the case,” that it did not matter whether Conley had carried the body to the basement or taken it via the elevator, and that “there are [so] many inconsistencies” in the various accounts of what had happened that “it is impossible to decide conclusively the guilt or innocence of Leo M. Frank.”
Once again a storm broke as editorials and individuals excoriated the Board of Pardons and Paroles. The Tennessean said that “the board turned its back on the chance to right an egregious wrong.”
The Tennessean, and others that were so certain about what the board should have done, had the advantage of hindsight. While this historian believes there is no question that Frank was an innocent man, the fact is that his case was much more complex than those who have read about it afterward recognize. One should not dismiss the impact of Jim Conley’s performance on the witness stand or the electrifying effects of the innuendos and charges in the courtroom that Frank might have engaged in improper sexual activities with the young people who worked in the pencil factory. Aside from the defendant’s partisans, most people who heard the evidence or read about it in the newspapers during the summer of 1913 accepted its truthfulness. No reporter who attended the proceedings daily ever wrote of Frank’s innocence. Long after the trial ended, O. B. Keeler and Herbert Asbury, newspapermen who covered the case, still regarded him as guilty; Harold Ross, another writer and later the founding editor of The New Yorker, stated merely that the “evidence did not prove [Frank] guilty beyond that ‘reasonable doubt’ required by law.”
Another factor is the ineptitude of Frank’s counsel. They failed to expose the inaccuracies in Conley’s testimony, and they blundered by asking him to discuss occasions when Frank had allegedly entertained young women. This opened the door for a great deal of titillating but irrelevant material and allowed Dorsey to bring in witnesses to corroborate Conley’s accusations. The defense attorneys demonstrated their limitations once more by ignoring relevant constitutional questions in their original appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court. Thus a reinvestigation of the case in the 1950s led one observer to write that “the defense of Leo Frank was one of the most ill-conducted in the history of Georgia jurisprudence.”
Still another consideration is the environment in which the trial took place. Today judicial standards have been tightened, and it is unlikely that any court proceedings would be conducted in so hostile an atmosphere as that in which Frank met his doom. But that does not necessarily outweigh the effect of the witnesses’ testimony and the subsequent cross examinations. To be sure, many of the jurors feared going against popular opinion, but perhaps they might have reached an identical judgment in a hermetically sealed chamber.
There is no reason to doubt that Alonzo Mann’s affidavit is accurate. Had he ignored his mother’s advice and gone to the police with his information right away, Conley would surely have been arrested, the police and district attorney would not have concentrated their efforts on finding Frank guilty, and the crime would most likely have been quickly solved. But by the time the trial began, in July 1913, Mann’s testimony might hardly have even seemed important.
WHEN REVIEWING THE CASE, ONE need not be so one-sided as to ignore the very real gut reactions that Atlantans had to Mary Phagan’s murder, the trial, and Leo Frank. Prejudice did exist in Atlanta, some people did lie at the trial, and anti-Semitism did contribute to the verdict. There were also contradictions in the case that people could not understand. Rational persons believed Conley’s tale, and there is no denying that the janitor made a tremendously good impression on the stand. A reporter listening to him wrote that “if so much as 5 per cent” of his story was true, it would suffice to convict Frank.
The struggle to exonerate Leo Frank continued, and in March 1986 the state Board of Pardons and Paroles reversed itself and granted a pardon. It had been granted, said the accompanying document, “in recognition of the state’s failure to protect the person of Leo Frank and thereby preserve his opportunity of continued legal appeal of his conviction, and in recognition of the state’s failure to bring his killers to justice, and as an effort to heal old wounds.”
Not, that is, because Frank was innocent.
In the late 1980s a Georgia citizen, firmly convinced of Frank’s guilt, vehemently underscored the point in a letter to the Marietta Daily Journal: “The pardon expressly does not relieve Mr. Frank of his conviction or of his guilt. Rather, it simply restored to him his civil rights, permitting him to vote and serve on juries, activities which, presumably, at this date are meaningless.”
Meaningless they may be. Still, Leo Frank’s unquiet spirit continues to vex the conscience of many Georgians eighty-one years after he died on an oak tree in Marietta.
Leonard Dinnerstein is a professor of history and the director of Judaic Studies at the University of Arizona. His books include The Leo Frank Case (available in paperback from the University of Georgia Press), America and the Survivors of the Holocaust, and Antisemitism in America.
Source: American Heritage, October 1996 | Volume 47, Issue 6, http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1996/6/1996_6_98.shtml
Single Page Version: http://www.americanheritage.com/content/fate-leo-frank?page=show
The 21st Century Analysis of “Framed” by Steven J. Goldfarb
American Mercury Expose on Leonard Dinnerstein’s Pseudo-History by Elliot Dashfield: http://theamericanmercury.org/2012/10/the-leo-frank-case-a-pseudo-history/.
“Dinnerstein, Leonard. “Leo M. Frank and the American Jewish Community” American Jewish Archive Journal, November, 1968, Volume 20, Number 2.
Van Paassen, Pierre. To Number Our Days – The 1964 origin of the Mary Phagan bite mark hoax, see pages 237 and 238. Leonard Dinnerstein helps to perpetuate this fraud in his PhD dissertation and later versions of his book, The Leo Frank Case.
“The Fate of Leo Frank” and “Framed,” American Heritage Magazine, October 1996, pages 99 to 108, Adobe PDF 1: https://www.leofrank.org/library/fate-of-leo-frank-leonard-dinnerstein.pdf.
PDF 2: Dinnerstein, Leonard. “The Fate of Leo Frank,” American Heritage Magazine, October 1996.
Be sure to read “Framed” by Steven J. Goldfarb, published in American Heritage Magazine: http://www.americanheritage.com/content/framed.
Dinnerstein, Leonard. The Leo Frank Case: http://www.archive.org/details/TheLeoFrankCaseByLeonardDinnerstein.
Leonard Dinnerstein was Professor Emeritus of Judaic Studies at the University of Arizona. Dinnerstein completed his master’s degree and PhD dissertation on the Leo Frank case in 1966 at Columbia University. To learn more about Leonard Dinnerstein, visit his information page at the University of Arizona: history.arizona.edu/dinnerst.
Leonard Dinnerstein’s PhD Thesis / Dissertation on the Leo Frank Case. Digital Copy of the Leonard Dinnerstein 1966 PhD dissertation at Columbia University (political science) on the Leo Frank case in PDF: https://www.leofrank.org/library/dissertation-thesis/leonard-dinnerstein-dissertation-leo-frank-case-1966.pdf.
What you won’t find in Leonard Dinnerstein’s fifty years of pseudo-scholarly research and pseudo-history analysis is the truth about what really happened in the Leo Frank case.
The Roustabout Alleged Leo Frank Murder Confession #1 made to Jim Conley between noon and 1:20 p.m.
The Magnolia “Minola” McKnight Hearsay Alleged Leo Frank Murder Confession #2 made to Lucille Selig Frank.
Leo Frank’s Murder Trial Incriminating Statement Reversal that Some Claim Amounts to Confession #3 made to the Trial Jury on August 18, 1913, between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. (REQUIRED READING) is left out of fifty years of Dinnerstein’s writings on the Leo Frank case.
The Infamous Leo Frank Jailhouse Interview Post Trial: “Leo Frank Answers List of Questions Bearing on Points Made Against Him,” Atlanta Constitution, March 9, 1914: https://www.leofrank.org/library/atlanta-journal-constitution/leo-frank-answers-list-of-questions-bearing-on-points-made-against-him-mar-9-1914.pdf.
Want to see how pseudo-historian Leonard Dinnerstein’s spin works? Read what he included and left out concerning the Frank case by reading the Georgia Supreme Court Case File on Leo Frank (volumes 1 and 2). It’s light reading at 1,800 pages: https://www.leofrank.org/images/georgia-supreme-court-case-files/. It will blow your mind what Donald and Leonard failed to mention to their readers.
Donald E. Wilkes says, “Notable among the books are Charles and Louise Samuels, Night Fell on Georgia (1956), Harry Golden, A Little Girl is Dead (1965), Mary Phagan Kean, The Murder of Little Mary Phagan (1987), and Robert Seitz Frey and Nancy Thompson-Frey, The Silent and the Damned (1988).” These books are available on www.Amazon.com and should be purchased for cross-referencing them with the official legal records of the Leo Frank case.
Purchase a copy of each edition of The Leo Frank Case by Leonard Dinnerstein, on www.Amazon.com and cross reference them with each other, along with all the articles Dinnerstein has written about the case (available online); then compare them against the official Leo Frank legal records of trial and appeals. What can we conclude about Dinnerstein’s integrity?
Last Updated: April 26, 2013.