Preliminary Guide to the Loran Olsen Papers circa 1958-2009

Summary Information

Washington State University Libraries, Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections
Olsen, Loran
Preliminary Guide to the Loran Olsen Papers
Date [inclusive]
circa 1958-2009
25 Boxes
(MASC STAFF USE) MS.2010.29: 1-38-5-3, MS.2011.16: 1-38-10-3, MS.2011.18: 1-38-15-2, MS.2015.05: 1-38-11-5.
Collection materials are in English.
This collection consists of teaching and research materials of Loran Olsen, former professor of Music at Washington State University.

Preferred Citation

[Item description]

Preliminary Guide to the Loran Olsen Papers, circa 1958-2009 (MSSM.054)

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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From 1970 to 1993, Loran Olsen, then a member of the Washington State University Music faculty, did extensive research on the music of the Native peoples, chiefly of the American northwest. His varied activities included field trips to document Native traditions in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana; the production of educational media in close collaboration with Native tradition bearers; the scholarly examination of published and unpublished written materials; collecting, editing, organizing, and documenting his own and previously existing sound recordings; developing and teaching courses in Native music at Washington State University; and giving lectures and workshops in various public forums. In addition to producing a body of primary source material, he also collected a variety of secondary materials that more broadly document the culture and life of North America's native peoples.

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Scope and Content

This collection consists of materials related to Loran Olsen's teaching, and to his research as an ethnomusicologist specializing in the music and culture of Native American peoples. It was received in multiple installments, and detailed transmittal lists for each are on file in the collection.

MS.2010.29: Mainly collected research materials and audiovisual media, about Native American peoples of the Puget Sound area, the Southwest, California, and Alaska.

MS.2011.16: This installment includes audiovisual media (reel-to-reel audio recordings, 8 mm film recordings); and clippings and issues of the Peninsula Daily News (Port Angeles, WA) covering the 9 tribes of the Olympic Peninsula (Suquamish, Twana/Skokomish, Port Gamble S'Klallam, Jamestown S'Klallam, Lower Elwha Klallam, Makah, Quileute/Queets, Hoh, Quinault). Loran Olsen used these materials in his research and teaching.

MS.2011.18: Most of the materials in this accession are audiovisual media related to Loran Olsen's research and teaching about Pacific Northwest American Indian culture. The main groups represented are Swinomish, Tulalip, and Nez Perce, with a small amount of Plains material. There is a substantial amount of material related specifically to two individuals, Vi Hilbert and Johnny Moses, and the Lushootseed language.

MS.2015.05: Primarily materials related to Loran Olsen's "Music and Dance" contribution to the Handbook of North American Indians, and his work on the Sacred Encounters exhibit (music committee). Also includes collected research materials (mainly reproductions) and audiovisual media.

Dr. Olsen provided detailed transmittal lists for each installment, and copies of these are filed in the collection.

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This is an unprocessed collection. Arrangement reflects a pre-existing order from the records’ creators or previous custodians.

The materials are generally grouped by subject, source, or physical format. Each entry in the preliminary inventory below includes a reference to the original box number assigned by the donor, to provide a cross-reference to the detailed transmittal lists on file with the collection.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Washington State University Libraries Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections  © 2020

Terrell Library

P.O. Box 645610

Pullman, WA, 99164-5610 USA


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open and available for research use, but some materials may have access and/or reproduction restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Acquisition Information

Loran Olsen donated these materials to the Washington State University Libraries in multiple installments beginning in 2010 (MS.2010.29, MS.2011.16, MS.2011.18, MS.2015.05). MS.2011.18 was initially donated to the WSU Plateau Center for American Indian Studies, and was transferred to MASC in 2011.

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Related Materials

Related Material

Loran Olsen Papers, 1960-1993 (Cage 658)

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Names and Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

Subject(s) :
  • Swinomish Indians -- Social life and customs.
  • Tulalip Indians -- Social life and customs.
  • Washington State University -- Faculty -- Archives.

Personal Name(s)

Subject(s) :
  • Olsen, Loran -- Records and correspondence.
  • Hilbert, Vi.
  • Moses, Johnny.


  • Indians of North America -- West (U.S.) -- Social life and customs.
  • Indians of North America -- West (U.S.) -- Music.
  • Indians of North America -- Music.
  • Puget Sound Salish languages -- Study and teaching.
  • Ethnomusicologists -- Archives.
  • Music
  • Native Americans
  • Washington (State)

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Detailed Description of Collection

MS.2010.29 circa 1974-2005 


Lewis and Clark. Includes conference material and ephemera. (Olsen box 32) 


Northwest Coast. Collected material. (Olsen box 27) 


Southwest. Collected material. (Olsen box 36) 


Library and archive collections. Includes archives catalogs, collection lists, and other research material. (Olsen box 38) 


Makah. Collected material and media. (Olsen box 31) 


Media. Kwakiutl songs "Robert Gardner tapes" (dubs), 7" reel-to-reel. (Olsen box 1) 3 Indian Music on 5" reel-to-reel tapes. (Olsen box 2) 


Film case, containing "Sla-hal, the Bone Game" (Olsen box 31-A) 


Northwest Coast (Olsen boxes 26, 28) 


Eskimo, Aleut, Athabaskan (Olsen box 34) 


California (Olsen box 25) 


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MS.2011.16 circa 1958-2008 


Audio recordings (5-inch reel-to-reel; 7-inch reel-to-reel). May include materials with reproduction restrictions. (Olsen boxes 51 and 52) 


Newspapers: Peninsula Daily News (Olsen box 53) 1998-2005 


Newspapers: Peninsula Daily News (Olsen box 54) 2006-2008 


8 mm (Super-8) film (Olsen boxes 55-56) 


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MS.2011.18 circa 1965-2009 


Plains (Olsen box 45) 


Vi Hilbert (Olsen box 46) 


Johnny Moses, Swinomish Indian Reservation, Tulalip Indian Reservation (Olsen box 47) 


"Blue slide show units" (Olsen box 48) 


Audio recordings (7-inch reel-to-reel) (Olsen box 49) 


Swinomish and Tulalip Indian Reservations; includes slides with digital reproductions (Olsen box 50) 


Nez Perce. Collected materials: pamphlets, reproductions of selections from books, and Nelda Williams thesis with audio recording (Olsen box 24) 


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MS.2015.05 circa 1970-2004 


Sacred Encounters material, related to Olsen's work on the exhibit's music committee. Includes background research material, musical syncretism at the missions (Olsen and Connolly), bibliography sources (reproductions), interviews by Larry Johnson, and grant documentation. (Olsen box 57) 


Handbook materials (Music and Dance). Includes correspondence, photographs (copies), handbook preparation, Plateau grid, "Doing research on Native Americans" guide, grant applications, bibliography cards, and audio recordings (3 compact discs). Also "Styles by area" files. (Olsen boxes 58-59) 


"Styles by area" (continued); video recordings (5 VHS cassettes) by Lawrence Johnson Productions; collected materials copied from museums and archives; Handbook contribution on "Music and Dance" (several versions). (Olsen boxes 60-61) 


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