Mary Phagan

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Mary Anne Phagan

Mary Phagan

Born June 1, 1899
Died April 26, 1913
Nationality American
Ethnicity White
Occupation Laborer

Mary Anne Phagan (June 1, 1899 – April 26, 1913) was the 13-year old murder victim of her employer Leo Frank, the Jewish superintendent of the National Pencil Company in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mary Phagan was born in Florence, Alabama, on June 1, 1899, to John and Frances (Fannie) Phagan, a posthumous child, she was born four months after her father John Phagan died, into a family that had farmed in Georgia for generations. Frances Phagan eventually re-married to a man named John William Coleman. They lived briefly in Alabama before moving back to Marietta, Georgia.

Mary Phagan's paternal grandfather, William Joshua Phagan, offered Mary Phagan's mother and four siblings a home near his in Marietta, but Phagan's mother moved her family instead to East Point, where she opened a boarding house, and the children took jobs in the local mills. Mary Phagan left school at the age of ten to work part-time in a textile mill, then was hired in 1911 by a paper manufacturer. In 1912 her mother remarried, and she and the children moved to a poor neighborhood in the city of Atlanta.

Phagan took a job with the National Pencil Company in the Spring of 1912, where she ran a knurling machine that inserted rubber erasers into the brass bands at the end tip of pencils. [1]

Mary Phagan, had been laid off the previous Monday, April 21, 1913, as a result of a shortage of bras sheet metal supplies. Phagan worked on the same floor as Leo Frank, which was the second floor of the National Pencil Company, though Phagan worked in a different area. Phagan labored in a section of the metal room known as the the tipping department.

Most of the child laborers, like Phagan, worked 11 hour shifts, 5 to 6 days a week, in horrendous conditions and for just pennies an hour. Mary Phagan lived at 146 Lindsey Street, near Bellwood and Asby Streets in Atanta, Georgia.

Mary Phagan was bludgeoned, raped and strangled to death five weeks before her fourteenth birthday by her boss Leo Frank, the superintendent of the National Pencil Company.

See also


Phagan Kean, Mary (1987) The Murder of Little Mary Phagan. Adobe PDF Format, 287 pages and 4.7 MB.

  1. The Murder of Little Mary Phagan, by Mary Phagan Kean (namesake, and great grand niece of Mary Phagan)

External link