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Robert W. Hess collection

Call Number: RH AD 10


This collection contains the drawings and plans of designs by Robert W. Hess during his time as a practicing architect, focusing on his work in Kansas, Washington, California, and a few other geographical areas. The collection also includes some material from his student work, as well as an autobiographical account of his career.


  • Creation: 1945 - 2013


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Robert W. Hess

Robert Hess grew up in Hiawatha, Kansas, serving briefly in the Army Air Corps during World War II, then entering into the Univeristy of Kansas School of Architecture in 1945. During his senior year he designed and constructed a new house for his parents on a lot located next to campus in Lawrence.

Hess graduated in 1949 with a B.S. in Architecture and moved to work in Seattle, Washington where his brother lived at the time. After a year he returned to Kansas, working for the State Architect in Topeka until he obtained his license and began designing homes in nearby Lawrence.

Hess later moved to Los Angeles and worked with the firm Pollack, Drazen and Hess. When Hess became licensed in the state of California, he began his own private practice, designing and renovating homes for clients for the next 25 years. Semi-retiring in his 50s, Hess moved to Santa Barbara, California and designed his own home overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Robert W. Hess passed away on September 10, 2013.


1.5 Linear Feet (2 boxes + 3 oversize boxes, 122 oversize folders)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The bulk of the Robert Hess collection is drawings and design documentation for the many residential and commercial structures he designed or updated for clients. These materials have been organized geographically by state where the project was located, the bulk of which were from Hess' time in California. Kansas and California projects have been further sub-divided by whether the project was commercial or residential. Where possible, more specific address information has been included in the description. There are also some plans and drawings for which the project is unknown. The bulk of these drawings are located at RH AD 10, but some materials are also housed at RH MS R413.

Also in the collection and located at RH MS 1415 is Hess' life book, a chronological accounting of his career.

Physical Location

RH AD 10

Physical Location

RH MS 1415

Physical Location

RH MS R413

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Robert W. Hess, 2012; Estate of Robert W. Hess, 2014, 2015.

Guide to the Robert W. Hess Collection
Robert W. Hess collection
Finding aid prepared by rmk. Finding aid encoded by rmk.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Robert Hess collection, RH AD 10, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States