Can You Dig It? Diamonds in Your Own Blackyard: Excavating and Preserving Audiovisual Gems Within the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company Records

  • Yasmin Dessem UCLA Library
  • Kelly Besser UCLA Library
Keywords: African Americans, home movies, moving images, sound recordings, digitization, archives


UCLA Library Special Collections is home to the records of the Golden State Mutual (GSM) Life Insurance Company, one of the first Black-owned and operated insurance companies in the country. Among the company’s rich documentation exists a large selection of audiovisual materials that tell a story of African American entrepreneurship and Los Angeles history, and which have recently started being digitized to be made available online through generous grant funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation.

Author Biographies

Yasmin Dessem, UCLA Library

Yasmin Dessem is the Audiovisual Preservation Specialist for UCLA Library.

Kelly Besser, UCLA Library

Kelly Besser is a processing archivist for UCLA Library Special Collections.

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