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Hunter S. Thompson Archive of Letters Heads to Auction

Gonzo journalist’s letters to childhood friend span from 1955 to 1974 and include writings on Hells Angels, John F. Kennedy assassination

Hunter S Thompson

A collection of over 180 letters gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson wrote to a childhood friend will hit the auction block this week.

Michael Ochs Archives/GettyImages

A collection of over 180 letters gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson wrote to a childhood friend will hit the auction block this week.

The letters – which Thompson sent to Paul Semonin, a friend from their native Louisville, Kentucky – span from 1955, when Thompson was 17 years old, to a December 1974 letter typed out on Rolling Stone stationary.

Nate D. Sanders Auctions will host the sale of the entire archive of letters – 25 of which previously featured in the collection The Proud Highway: The Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman 1955-1967 – on September 27th. Bidding for the archive begins at $110,000.

The subjects of the letter touch on much of what Thompson’s encountered over those two decades, including his experience with the Hells Angels and a letter penned one day after the John F. Kennedy assassination.

“I am not going to be either the Fitzgerald or the Hemingway of this generation,” Thompson writes in one letter. “I am going to be the Thompson of this generation…”

In addition to some of Thompson’s hand-drawn illustrations, the archive also includes a telegram Thompson sent to the late author Tom Wolfe and another to an unnamed friend.

“This is a rare, personal, first-hand depiction of Hunter S. Thompson’s life,” auction owner Nate Sanders said in a statement. “It is clear in reading these letters that Thompson believed it was imperative to document the turmoil of the 1960’s and share his perspective with his best friend from childhood.”

Check out the auction site for more details regarding the letters, over 150 of which were never published in any form.

In This Article: Hunter S. Thompson

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