Hess, Karl, 1923-1994

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1923-05-25
Death 1994-04-22
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Editor and journalist. Was at one time a speechwriter for Barry Goldwater, but later became involved in various libertarian and anarchist organizations in the seventies and eighties. In the nineties he participated in local politics in rural West Virginia.

From the description of Neighborhood self-sufficiency / Karl Hess, 1976. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 301485817

Author. Libertarian. Welder. Survivalist. Philosopher. Folk hero. Born May 25, 1923 to a wealthy father and working class mother in Washington D.C., Karl Hess moved to the Philippines as a child. His mother divorced, refused alimony and returned to Washington D.C. to raise her son alone. From an early age, Karl Hess questioned authority, demonstrated a single-minded independence and effectively dodged school officials as a chronic truant. He dropped out of school at age 15 and began a long and colorful career as a journalist, speech writer, editor and author of numerous books.

Early on he wrote politically conservative columns and contributed to numerous conservative publications. His writings subsequently drew the attention of the Republican Party. Hess has been credited with writing the Republican Party platforms for the 1960 and 1964 presidential campaigns. Senator Barry Goldwater first hired him as a speech writer. Hess then went on to ghost-write his news columns in the Los Angeles Times. He had the temerity to call Goldwater "El Jefe." Both shared a wit and view of the world that were very much alike. See Correspondence, Series I. in the Personal and political papers of Senator Barry M. Goldwater for correspondence between both men.

After the 1964 election, Hess grew disillusioned with the political right and swung to the New Left protesting the Vietnam War, joining the Students for a Democratic Society, and working with the Black Panthers. Through it all, he and Goldwater maintained contact and a degree of tolerance and patience rare in both men. For more information about Hess's later career and his political and philosophical evolution, read Mostly on edge : an autobiography.

Karl Hess died April 22, 1994 two years after receiving a heart transplant.

From the description of Karl Hess collection, 1937-1970 [manuscript]. (Scottsdale Public Library). WorldCat record id: 404228692

Born May 25, 1923 to a wealthy father and working class mother in Washington D.C., Karl Hess moved to the Philippines as a child. His mother divorced, refused alimony, and returned to Washington D.C. to raise her son alone. From an early age, Karl Hess questioned authority, demonstrated a single-minded independence, and effectively dodged school officials as a chronic truant. He dropped out of school at age 15 and began a long and colorful career as a journalist, speech writer, editor, and author of numerous books.

Early on Hess wrote politically conservative columns and contributed to numerous conservative publications. His writings subsequently drew the attention of the Republican Party. Hess has been credited with writing the Republican Party platforms for the 1960 and 1964 presidential campaigns. Senator Barry Goldwater first hired Hess as a speech writer. Hess went on to ghost-write Goldwater's news columns in the Los Angeles Times and had the temerity to call Goldwater El Jefe. The men shared a wit and view of the world that were very similar.

After the 1964 election, Hess grew disillusioned with the political right and swung to the New Left protesting the Vietnam War, joining the Students for a Democratic Society, and working with the Black Panthers. Through it all, he and Goldwater maintained contact and a degree of tolerance and patience rare in both men. Hess's later career and his political and philosophical evolution are described in his Mostly On Edge: An Autobiography . Drafts of this book can be found in Box 6.

Karl Hess died on April 22, 1994, two years after receiving a heart transplant.

From the guide to the Karl Hess Papers, 1937-1996, (Arizona State University Libraries Arizona Collection)

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Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6r522tq
Ark ID:
w6r522tq
SNAC ID:
50640895

Subjects:

  • American newspapers--Sections, columns, etc
  • Neighborhoods--Self-sufficient living
  • Libertarians
  • Conservatism
  • Cooperative societies--Self-sufficient living
  • Philosophers
  • Journalists
  • New Left
  • Anarchism

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)