Ralph Steadman

Patti Hearst

40 years ago: it was 9:40 A.M. on 15th April in 1974.

Customers were going to the Hibernia Bank in the Sunset district of San Francisco to make their usual transactions. Suddenly four white women and a black man walked in and yelled, "It's a hold-up! Down on the floor! On your faces, you motherfuckers!"

In under four minutes, they robbed the bank of over $10,000, wounded two bystanders, and fled in a getaway car.

When reviewing the videotape afterward, the police were in for a surprise. Among the hold-up gang they saw the face of a nineteen-year-old woman who'd been missing for over two months: Patricia Campbell Hearst. Not only that, she was brandishing a carbine and acting excited, as if she were one of them. It was to be one of the most incongruous events of that period, the truth of which is still under debate.

Patty is the granddaughter of the legendary newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst. Two black men and a white woman had kidnapped her at gunpoint from her Berkeley apartment on February 4th and taken her captive. They identified themselves as members of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA).

By her account, Patty was kept blindfolded for two months in a closet at the group's headquarters, unable even to use the bathroom in privacy. DeFreeze realized that her visibility as a social figure that had gained the nation's sympathy would showcase his cause, so he worked to turn her into an angry revolutionary.

Steadman was present at the trial and as a result created drawings which subjectively documented what happened there.

Also in the collection, are original stills from the CCTV footage shown at the trial. Steadman says: 'I guess someone gave them to me…I can't remember who though'.


The images shown in this preview represent a cross section on this collection but there are many others available. Click an image to enlarge.

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