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Pearlstine Distributors Inc. records

Identifier: Mss 1114

Collection Overview

The collection contains records and artifacts documenting the history of Pearlstine Distributors and its parent company, I. M. Pearlstine & Sons. These documents and objects were originally on display in the Pearlstine Distributors' North Charleston headquarters. The collection contains business records, mainly from the 20th century, including legal and financial records, business correspondence, and a ledger. It also contains a small number of photographs and printed materials, such as catalogs, business cards, clippings, and ephemera, as well as items relating to the family's community involvement and charity. The artifacts include materials created or used for the exhibit at the company's headquarters, such as replicas of a Confederate States of America hat and belt (goods sold by I. M. Pearlstine to soldiers during the Civil War), bottles, collectible Budweiser trucks, Budweiser lederhosen, and commemorative hats and t-shirts celebrating company milestones.


  • Creation: 1899-2012


Language of Material

Materials in English

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical and Historical Note

Pearlstine Distributors Inc., a distributor of Anheuser-Busch beers, was a family-owned Charleston-based company incorporated in 1972. The original Pearlstine business in South Carolina was founded by Isaac Moses Pearlstine (1844-1911) and his father, Tanchum "Thomas" Pearlstine (1817-1877), who emigrated from Russia to the United States in the mid-1850s. They opened their first general store in Colleton County, South Carolina, in 1865. I. M. went on to establish several businesses in Charleston in the 1880s, including a grocery and grain business called I. M. Pearlstine & Sons which opened in 1885. The company sold groceries, grain, wagons, surreys, tack, hardware, roofing, and wire fencing. When I. M. Pearlstine died in 1911, his sons Shep and Hyman assumed leadership of the company and began operating a network of wholesale and retail stores throughout South Carolina, with locations in Walterboro, Eutawville, Mount Holly, Hampton, Kingstree, Sumter, and Florence.

I. M. Pearlstine & Sons acquired the Farline Supply Company in 1918, and began a long-lasting affiliation with Anheuser-Busch. After the death of Hyman Pearlstine, control of the business went to a cousin, Sam Cohen, and Hyman's two sons, Milton and Edwin. In 1950, after the retirement of Sam Cohen, the Pearlstines liquidated the wholesale grocery and hardware business and focused on distribution, gradually closing or selling their satellite stores. In 1971 Milton's nephew, Edwin Pearlstine Jr., purchased the beverage division and Pearlstine Distributors was incorporated. I. M. Pearlstine & Sons became a real estate and investment management firm and finally the name of a holding company managed by Milton Pearlstine and his heirs. In order to concentrate entirely on beer distribution, Pearlstine Distributors sold their wine business in 1995. After over 100 years of operation by members of the Pearlstine family, the company was acquired by Southern Eagle in 2012.


2.75 linear feet (1 document box, 5 flat boxes, 3 artifact boxes, 2 oversized items, 2 oversize folders)


Business records, correspondence, photographs, printed materials, and artifacts relating to the history and operation of Pearlstine Distributors Inc. (est. 1972), a Charleston-based distributor of Anheuser-Busch products, and its parent company, I. M. Pearlstine & Sons, founded by Isaac Moses Pearlstine in 1885.

Collection Arrangement

Materials are described at the folder level.

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated in 2012 by Susan Pearlstine.

Related Material

Related materials in Special Collections include the Pearlstine-Strauss family papers (Mss 1062), the Pearlstine family papers: real estate and financial documents (Mss 1027), the Milton A. Pearlstine and Cecile M. Pearlstine papers (Mss 1104), and the Rittenberg-Pearlstine family papers (Mss 1008). Related materials also include an oral history interview with Edwin Strauss Pearlstine Jr. and Jane Pearlstine Meyerson (Mss 1035-357), an oral history interview with Hanna Pearlstine (Mss 1035-088), an oral history interview with Henry Rittenberg (Mss 1035-104), and an oral history interview with Sura Wolff Wengrow (Mss 1035-212).

Processing Information

Processed by Amy Lazarus, March 2015.



Inventory of the Pearlstine Distributors Inc. Records, 1899-2012
Processed by: Amy Lazarus; machine-readable finding aid created by: Amy Lazarus
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424
(843) 953-8016
(843) 953-6319 (Fax)