Hunter S. Thompson’s wife returns antlers he stole from Ernest Hemingway’s house
An interior view of the house formerly owned by Ernest Hemingway outside Ketchum, Id., in 2007. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
A young Hunter S. Thompson went to Idaho to write about Ernest Hemingway and decided to take a piece of his hero home with him — a set of trophy elk antlers.More than half a century later, the gonzo journalist’s wife returned the antlers to Hemingway’s house in the mountain town of Ketchum.
“He was embarrassed that he took them,” Anita Thompson said Thursday, noting the deep respect her husband had for Hemingway’s work. “He wished he hadn’t taken them. He was young, it was 1964, and he got caught up in the moment.
“He talked about it several times, about taking a road trip and returning them,” she said.
She gave back the antlers Aug. 5 to Ketchum Community Library, which helps catalog and preserve items in the residence where the author took his own life. It’s now owned by the Nature Conservancy.
In 1964, Hunter Thompson, then 27, came to Ketchum when he was still a conventional journalist. He had not yet developed his signature style, dubbed gonzo journalism, that involved inserting himself, often outrageously, into his reporting and that propelled him into a larger-than-life figure.
Thompson was writing a story for the National Observer about why the globe-trotting Hemingway shot and killed himself at his home three years earlier at age 61. Thompson attributed the suicide in part to rapid changes in the world that led to upheavals in places Hemingway loved most — Africa and Cuba.