Dr. Kivy Pearlstine

49 George Street

This was the office of Kivy Pearlstine (1884–1937) in 1915. He and Dr. Richard M. Pollitzer were the only Jewish doctors in Charleston in the early 20th century. Pearlstine was the “go-to” physician for much of Charleston’s Jewish community, and others as well, but oral histories and other information suggest that he often went to them: in 1915, his office hours were listed as 11 A.M. to Noon, and 7 P.M. to 8 P.M. He was making house calls in the times between.

A 1907 graduate of Johns Hopkins, Pearlstine began his career at Roper Hospital in Charleston that same year. His office location shifted over time; in 1918, it was at 276 King, and in 1932, back near this site, on the opposite side of the street. According to his November 26, 1937, obituary in The State (Columbia, S. C.), “Dr. Pearlstine handled a large portion of the practice among seamen on ships entering Charleston. Few foreign ships entered Charleston without Dr. Pearlstine boarding them to treat one or more sailors. He was a favorite with officers and crew on almost every ship and received cards from all corners of the earth from seamen who had been treated by him in Charleston.”

After Kivy Pearlstine’s death, a room at Baker Sanatorium, a private hospital, was named for him and made available to indigent patients at minimal rates. The affordable room was funded by the Happy Workers’ Association, a Jewish women’s organization founded in 1889 “for the purpose of assisting as many poor children as possible, [and] also to aid parents of sick children with sewing work.”

The sites of Dr. Pearlstine’s George Street offices have been redeveloped with modern buildings.