Skip to Main Content
Ask Us!
University of Washington Libraries

Library Guides

UW Ethnomusicology Archives: Thom Hess Collection

The UW Eth­no­mu­si­col­ogy Archives has been col­lecting and curating unique ethnographic music recordings, films, and video since 1962.

Thom Hess Collection


About Thom Hess

Thomas M. Hess (1936-2009) was a linguist from Flint, Michigan. He earned his BA from the University of Colorado and his MA and PhD from the University of Washington. His dissertation was on the grammatical structure of the Snohomish dialect of Lushootseed, a Coast Salish language. During his career, he went on to study languages used by other surrounding tribes of the Puget Sound. Hess helped create a dictionary of Lushootseed words and is credited with helping to preserve the language, which is in danger of disappearing. He also worked closely with native speaker Vi Hilbert, whose collection is also held by the UWEA.

Collection Overview

World map with the United States and Canada highlighted

The Thom Hess Collection contains Lushootseed songs, stories, and other spoken material by numerous consultants. Lushootseed is a language of the Coast Salish peoples, who live along the coast of the Pacific Northwest of North America. 

Thom Hess with Vi Hilbert

Thom Hess and Vi Hilbert, 1970s

Text sources:,

Photo with Hilbert:

Title image sources (left to right):,,,,

UW Libraries | UW Bothell/CC Campus Library | UW Tacoma Library | Health Sciences Library
Responsible Use of Electronic Resources | Privacy | Terms