Virginia Ray Davison was head librarian at the Louisville Public Library and more famously, the mother of HST [1,2].  There is little doubt that the lovingly deviance of Librarianship shaped young HST, and after pondering the fact much may seem clear.

In 1952 HST was a   Athenaeum Literary Association, however …”but the group ejected Thompson in 1955, citing his legal problems. Charged as an accessory to robbery after being in a car with the robber, Thompson was sentenced to 60 days in Kentucky’s Jefferson County Jail. He served 30 days and, a week after his release, enlisted in the United States Air Force [3].”

But the way…”While imprisoned, the superintendent of his high school denied him permission to take his final examinations, and subsequently, Thompson failed to graduate.

Thompson received an early release on the condition that he would join the United States Air Force. Before leaving Kentucky, he purchased a case of beer and spitefully threw each bottle one by one through the windows of the superintendent’s house. [4]”

It was in there on the horrid base did the Gonzo Arts start to take shape…

More specifically, Thompson stated that gonzo journalism is a style of reporting that bases itself on William Faulkner’s idea “that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism and the best journalists have always know this.” [4]


But more to the point of this post, the library help launch the Gonzo Arts.

In an interview with The Paris Review by Douglas Brinkley and Terry McDonell, Thompson describes how he learned the fundamentals of journalism: “I went to the base library and found three books on journalism. I stayed there reading them until it closed. Basic journalism. I learned about headlines, leads: who, when, what, where, that sort of thing. I barely slept that night. This was my ticket to ride, my ticket to get out of that damn place.” [4]