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Penelope Hearst was born in 1954 in San Francisco to William R. Hearst III, grandson of William R. Hearst. She was brought up in San Francisco. In 1967 her grandfather, father and uncle were killed in a plane crash, from then on Penelope was largely brought up by her great uncle, David R. Hearst, and a series of carers. In 1972 Penelope (Penny) went to study at the University of Ontario.
It was here she first met Adam Gustav. Gustav was the son of an SS officer, and a profound neo-fascist. The two fell in love, and Penelope sympathised with his views. In 1973 they both joined the small American Nazi Party, and attended their 1973 congress in Dallas. By the end of the year, the two were fulfledged Nazis
In 1974 the two started a splinter group from the party, the 1889 Club. The group was little more than a gathering of 17 young students but in a matter of months developed into a minor terrorist group. The group advocated militant action to bring the party into power and topple the democratic system. Although Penny was the founder of the group, she didn't partake in any of the terrorism plans that the group later developed, and in 1975 she left the group.
Her time with right wing extremism wasn't over though. In 1977 she announced her membership of the Nazi Party (much to the embarrassment of other Hearst family members) and married Adam Gustav. However Gustav remained a member of the 1889 Club.
In 1978 the 1889 club attempted to hijack a plane, and blow up the Empire State Building. Gustav was involved and subsequently an arrest warrant was issued. With Hearst's help, he fled to Argentina but was assassinated by MOSSAD agents a few weeks after his arrival. The incident deeply affected Hearst who then left the movement.
By this time Hearst was 24 and had inherited her share of the family business. She remarried, and supported the Reagan administration.
But in 2001 her alignment with the right wing returned. She supported the White Nationalist, American Empire Movement and tied some links with the more moderate forces in the American Nazi Party. But she made it clear she was a "ultra conservative, not a fanatic or an extremist". She supported Sarah Palins Tea Party, and New America movements.