The Hunter S. Thompson Letter Archive being offered on auction by Nate D. Sanders Auctions offers a unique look at one of the most influential journalists and authors in American history. Thompson popularized “gonzo journalism,” a type of journalism that is written without objectivity, and more often than not includes the author as a part of the story.
Thompson pioneered the style, using a first-person approach that is both social critique and self-satire. Thompson was noted for his article about the Hell’s Angels, for which he actually lived and rode with the motorcycle gang for a year to be able to accurately portray the lifestyle. Thompson was also a successful author, with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas being perhaps his most noted book.
The archive being offered includes many of Thompson’s most famous letters, including the letter he wrote the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The letters also chronicle his time with the Hells Angels, as well as his time in Big Sur working as a caretaker. He includes insights into his struggles to get published. The letters start with a 17-year-old Thompson in February 1955, and continue through 1969. The lot includes 182 letters.
Thompson is arguably one of the most important writers of the turbulent 1960s and 70s. His contribution of creating gonzo journalism may be his most noteworthy accomplishment, but the keen and often poignant insights he shares in these letters are his true legacy.