Norvil Beeman (1890-1969) and his brother Carl (1883-1972)
documented their families and their lives with an 8mm
Cine-Kodak camera.  For much of the 1920s, Norvil's family
lived in China and traveled the world.  Carl and Norvil sent
movies to each other so that their families could keep up with
the changes going on in the U.S. and share the far-off sights
of Asia, Africa, and Europe. Over 50 reels of their films
survive along with their own meticulous notes and are
preserved as HD digital transfers.

The preservation of the reels is made possible through contributions from many of the descendants and loved ones of Carl and Norvil. Other projects underway include transcribing the diaries of Cleo Beeman, Norvil's wife and life-long traveling companion, that detail the family's time in pre-communist China.

Help support the Beeman Archives. Just $5 pays our video hosting bill for one month:

My name is Ethan and I'm a filmmaker like my great-grandfather Norvil. You can email me at
ethan (at sign) or watch my films and learn about my other projects at my website: