Catalog Archive
Auction 192, Lot 737

Lynching of Leo Frank and Rebirth of the KKK

"The Celebrated Case of the State of Georgia vs. Leo Frank [in] Watson's Magazine Vol. XXI: No. 4. August 1915",

Subject: Document - Lynching, KKK

Period: 1915 (published)


Color: Black & White

7 x 10 inches
17.8 x 25.4 cm
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This is the August 1915 issue of the scarce Watson’s Magazine. It contains the 54-page article entitled "The Celebrated Case of the State of Georgia vs. Leo Frank," penned by Thomas E. Watson, a Georgia lawyer and politician who served in both the U.S. House and the Senate and ran for president as a populist.

Watson’s lasting fame is for his role in the lynching of Leo Frank, shortly after publication of this extremely anti-semitic and venomous article. Frank, manager of a Georgia pencil factory, was convicted in 1913 of the murder of an employee, Mary Phagan. National media attention questioned the fairness of the conviction and led to a large-scale write in campaign on Frank’s behalf. The Governor commuted the death penalty to life in prison in June, 1915. This action outraged Watson who in response penned this article, complete with illustrations, in the August issue of his magazine. On August 16, 1915 an organized group of 25 men, known as the Knights of Mary Phagan, stormed the minimum-security prison, kidnapped Frank and lynched him the next morning. In November some of the same men reestablished the modern KKK at nearby Stone Mountain. No one involved in the lynching was ever brought to justice. Watson went on to become a Senator from Georgia. The prosecutor became Governor.

Original wrappers. 61 pages.


Condition: B

Contents have light toning, minor staining, and some small edge tears confined to the bottom margins. Wrappers have some edge chips and minor stains.

Estimate: $180 - $220

Sold for: $120

Closed on 4/26/2023