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Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company Records
2006_07  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Additional collection guides

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company Records
    Dates: 1823-1992
    Collection Number: 2006_07
    Creator/Collector: Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company of California.
    Extent: 14 boxes and 1 oversize folder.
    Repository: Sherman Library and Gardens
    Abstract: The Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company was founded in 1868 Initially the company offered life and endowment policies and began investing in community improvements. In 1885, the company began offering accident insurance, and in March 1906 it consolidated with Los Angeles-based Conservative Life. The collection consists of records related to the activities, history and real estate investment interests of the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company. Among the development projects represented in the collection, the most extensive amount of material relates Pacific Mutual’s design, construction and opening of the Norwalk Square shopping center in the early 1950s in Southern California.
    Language of Material: English

    Access

    Materials are open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company Records. Sherman Library and Gardens

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was donated to the Sherman Library by the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company, 2006.

    Biography/Administrative History

    The Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company, founded in 1868 in Sacramento, California, as a stock company, had Leland Stanford (1824-1893), Central Pacific railroad magnate and former California governor, serve as its first President from 1868-1876. Initially the company offered life and endowment policies and began investing in community improvements, and by the end of its first year Pacific Mutual had five hundred life insurance policy owners and had paid its first death benefit. In 1885, the company began offering accident insurance, and in March 1906 it consolidated with Los Angeles-based Conservative Life. The company’s first home office, located in Sacramento on Second Street near the corner of J Street, was in use until 1881, when Pacific Mutual moved its headquarters to San Francisco. After the destruction of their landmark building at Montgomery and Sacramento Streets from the 1906 earthquake and fire which had just opened thirteen years before, the board of directors voted to move the company headquarters south to Los Angeles. Their new home office, located near Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles, opened in 1908 and remained the company’s headquarters until they moved south to their current location in Newport Beach, California, in 1972.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection consists of correspondence, publications, photographs and other documents related to the activities, history and real estate investment interests of the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company. Among the development projects represented in the collection, the most extensive amount of material relates Pacific Mutual’s design, construction and opening of the Norwalk Square shopping center in the early 1950s in Southern California in response to the expanding population and demographic changes in the vicinity. The collection also contains various publications, some office and subject files, and a large collection of photographs reproduced from the collections of various libraries and historical organizations to create an exhibit commemorating the company’s one hundredth anniversary in 1968. Of note in the collection are the papers of three Presidents of the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company: George Alden Moore, Asa V. Call, and Walter B. Gerken. The George Alden Moore papers, by far the most extensive of all the presidents’ papers in the collection, consist primarily of personal and family materials rather than business records. There are a few materials related to his activities and years of service for Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company (1876-1905), including contracts with the organization in 1881 and congratulatory letters sent to him upon his retirement in 1905, but the bulk of the Moore materials consist of his various accounts of his travels abroad, a sizable autobiography and reminiscences, family correspondence, materials from his earlier business years in Kansas, and photographs. The family correspondence reflects social life and customs in mid- to late nineteenth century America, and they include a small cache of letters sent to and from two family members who came to California in 1849 at the beginning of the Gold Rush. Asa V. Call served as President for Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company for seventeen years (1942-1956) and as Chairman of the Board (1956-1964) for another eight years. Call’s papers contain several of his speeches and presentations, extensive clippings files, a scrapbook and numerous photographs likely generated as official portraits for distribution by the company. Walter B. Gerken joined Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1967, became President in 1972, and was elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1975. His papers consist primarily of clippings files from the 1960s through the 1990s, and there are also some photographs and slides.

    Indexing Terms

    Insurance companies - California - History - Sources.
    Newport Center (Newport Beach, Calif.) - History - 20th century.
    Norwalk Square (Norwalk, Calif.) - History - 20th century.
    Real estate development - California, Southern - History - Sources.
    Norwalk (Calif.) - History - 20th century.

    Additional collection guides