Hess, Karl, 1923-1994

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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)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Goldwater, Barry M. (Barry Morris), 1909-1998. The personal and political papers of Senator Barry M. Goldwater (1909-1998), 1880s-2008. Arizona State University Libraries
referencedIn National Land for People collection, Bulk, 1972-1983, 1850-1991 Special Collections Research Center, California State University, Fresno
creatorOf Hess, Karl, 1923-. Karl Hess collection, 1937-1970 [manuscript]. Arizona State University Libraries
creatorOf Hess, Karl, 1923-. Neighborhood self-sufficiency / Karl Hess, 1976. University of Michigan
creatorOf Karl Hess Papers, 1937-1996 Arizona State University Libraries Arizona Collection
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Arizona Historical Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith Ballis, George Elfie, 1925-2010 person
associatedWith Ballis, Maia person
associatedWith Goldwater, Barry M. (Barry Morris), 1909-1998. person
associatedWith Hess, Karl, 1947- person
associatedWith Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
American newspapers--Sections, columns, etc
Neighborhoods--Self-sufficient living
Libertarians
Conservatism
Cooperative societies--Self-sufficient living
Philosophers
Journalists
New Left
Anarchism
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1923-05-25

Death 1994-04-22

Americans

English

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