• Unidentified individuals at a dinner given by J. D. Robinson for Governor Hugh Dorsey (standing) and his staff in Atlanta, Georgia. Courtesy of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center via Digital Library of Georgia.

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    Dinner for Governor Hugh Dorsey
    • Date
    • 1920
    • Creator
    • Reeves,
    • Description
    • View of unidentified individuals at a dinner given by J. D. Robinson for Governor Hugh Dorsey (standing) and his staff in Atlanta, Georgia. Hugh M. Dorsey (1871-1948) was an attorney, judge and Democratic politician. In 1910, he was appointed solicit... more
      View of unidentified individuals at a dinner given by J. D. Robinson for Governor Hugh Dorsey (standing) and his staff in Atlanta, Georgia. Hugh M. Dorsey (1871-1948) was an attorney, judge and Democratic politician. In 1910, he was appointed solicitor general of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit. During his tenure, Dorsey successfully prosecuted Leo Frank in his highly publicized trial for the murder of Mary Phagan. In 1916, Dorsey was elected Governor of Georgia. He was reelected in 1918. After he left the governor's office, he became a judge on the city court of Atlanta and later served as superior court judge on the Atlanta Judicial Circuit. less
    • Rights
    • Courtesy of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center via Digital Library of Georgia. This material is protected by copyright law. (Title 17, U. S. Code) Permission for use must be cleared through the Kenan Research Center at the Atlant... more
      Courtesy of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center via Digital Library of Georgia. This material is protected by copyright law. (Title 17, U. S. Code) Permission for use must be cleared through the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Licensing agreement may be required. less
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia; Atlanta History Center
    • Contributing Institution
    • Atlanta History Center

  • Georgia governor John Slaton. Courtesy of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center via Digital Library of Georgia.

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    Slaton, John
    • Date
    • 1913
    • Creator
    • Unknown
    • Description
    • Portrait of Georgia governor John Slaton.
    • Rights
    • Courtesy of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center via Digital Library of Georgia. This material is protected by copyright law. (Title 17, U.S Code) Permission for use must be cleared through The Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta ... more
      Courtesy of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center via Digital Library of Georgia. This material is protected by copyright law. (Title 17, U.S Code) Permission for use must be cleared through The Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Licensing agreement may be required. less
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia; Atlanta History Center
    • Contributing Institution
    • Atlanta History Center

  • Thomas E. Watson. Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries via Digital Library of Georgia.

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    Thomas E. Watson
    • Description
    • Photograph of legislator Thomas E. Watson. He leans back in his chair and looks forward. Watson was elected to the Georgia General Assembly (1882), the U.S. House of Representatives (1890), and the U.S. Senate (1920), where he served for only a short... more
      Photograph of legislator Thomas E. Watson. He leans back in his chair and looks forward. Watson was elected to the Georgia General Assembly (1882), the U.S. House of Representatives (1890), and the U.S. Senate (1920), where he served for only a short time before his death. Nominated by the Populist Party as its vice presidential candidate in 1896, he achieved national recognition for his egalitarian, agrarian agenda. Although his terms of elective office were short, for more than thirty years his support was essential for many men running for public office in Georgia. In addition to his political achievements, Tom Watson was a practicing lawyer, publisher, and historian. He is remembered for being a voice for Populism and the disenfranchised, and later in life, as a southern demagogue and bigot. less
    • Rights
    • Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries via Digital Library of Georgia. If you wish to use any Hargrett Library Materials (whole or in part) for publication in electronic or any other form, you must obta... more
      Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries via Digital Library of Georgia. If you wish to use any Hargrett Library Materials (whole or in part) for publication in electronic or any other form, you must obtain the specific written permission of both the owner of the physical property and the holder of the copyright. less
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia; New Georgia Encyclopedia (Project)/ Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • New Georgia Encyclopedia (Project)

The Leo Frank case impacted the careers of people involved with it.

Two whose careers advanced:

  • Hugh Dorsey was relatively unknown before the trial. Before the Frank case, Dorsey had lost two highly publicized cases. But his victory in the Frank case propelled him upward. Dorsey was elected governor in 1916, and re-elected in 1918. Perhaps surprisingly, he was a progressive who openly campaigned against mob violence.
  • Tom Watson: With his editorials on the Leo Frank case, circulation of Watson's Jeffersonian Magazine and The Jeffersonian increased dramatically. From this, Watson gained some wealth. Elected to the United States Senate in 1920, he died in office.

Two whose careers were damaged:

  • John Slaton, a popular governor and one-time favorite for a US Senate seat, saw his political career end with his commutation of Frank’s sentence. Threatened by mob violence, Slaton and his wife fled Georgia. He eventually returned, but never sought political office again.
  • William Smith, Jim Conley’s attorney, had misgivings about the sentencing of Frank. He had carefully studied the evidence, and concluded that his client, in fact, was guilty of Phagan’s murder. His letter to Governor Slaton was instrumental in the decision to commute Frank’s sentence. Unpopular because of this stance, he lost his legal clients, and later spent time working at shipyards in Virginia and New York.