The Los Angeles Free Press, often called the "Freep" by its readers, was founded in 1964 by Arthur Glick "Art" Kunkin. Prior, Kunkin was an active labor organizer and resident editor of the Johnson-Forest Tendency until 1958 and briefly served as chairman of the Los Angeles Local Branch of the Socialist Party in 1959.
Plans for the Los Angeles Free Press began in 1964 with a goal of catering to "liberal-intellectuals" in the Los Angeles area and with a focus on city issues and politics. In May 1964, Art Kunkin sold the first issue of the newspaper at the KPFK Renaissance Pleasure Faire. After a successful trial run, Kunkin secured the funds to publish the Los Angeles Free Press weekly for almost a decade, going from an 8-page tabloid to a 55-page weekly newspaper in six years. The Los Angeles Free Press was an influential periodical of its day as one of the first members of the Underground Press Syndicate, an alternative media equivalent to the associated press. Kunkin and the Freep have been recognized as helping hundreds of other national and international underground periodicals and covering topics including police brutality, women's liberation, the Chicano movement, gay liberation, and mystic and esoteric areas.
The Arthur Kunkin / Los Angeles Free Press Collection documents the life of Art Kunkin from his time as a socialist organizer to his role as publisher and editor of the Los Angeles Free Press and to his later life as a new age practitioner. The surviving Los Angeles Free Press administrative and business records document 1960s journalism, the counterculture, anti-war activism, civil rights, revolutionary politics, and the expression of personal freedom.
The Arthur Kunkin / Los Angeles Free Press collection was acquired by the Gerth Archives and Special Collections in 2021. Prior to the archive's acquisition, the collection was in a storage shed in Joshua Tree, packed so tightly and just secure enough to be saved from complete deterioration.
The collection is still being processed and will be made accessible in Spring 2024.
The following are a selection of books that discuss the Los Angeles Free Press and underground press. To search for more books in the library and for helpful tips on how to navigate our database, follow our OneSearch guide.
Below are relevant and helpful resources from other institutions.