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Kerstine Family Business Records

 Unprocessed Collection
Identifier: AM96-40


Business records and photographs of several stores owned by the Kerstine family in Clarksdale, Mississippi.


  • circa 1927-1969

Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical / Historical

Ms. Margery Kerstine of Ridgeland, Mississippi has donated to the department of Manuscripts and Archives in the McCain Library and Archives of the USM University Libraries seven cubic feet of business ledgers from mercantile stores owned by two generations of the Kerstine family in Clarksdale in the Delta.

The first member of the family to arrive in Clarksdale was Ms. Kerstine's grandfather Adolph Kerstine, who travelled from his home in Prussia in 1873 as a stowaway aboard ship when he was about thirteen years old.

Mr. Adolph Kerstine was a prominent businessman in the Clarksdale area until his death in 1936. He owned several stores, a saloon, and extensive real estate holdings. Two older brothers were the postmasters in Friars Point and Jonestown.

His eldest son Max is, according to Ms. Kerstine, who is researching a book on the history of the Jews in the Delta, the first Jewish boy to be born in the Delta. Mr. Max Kerstine and his brothers Isidor, who was Ms. Kerstine's father, and Caesar, also owned and operated several businesses in Clarksdale, including several that were located on Issaquena Street, now a center of blues music and historic restoration.

Ledgers in the collection are from stores operated by Adolph Kerstine, Max Kerstine, and Isidor Kerstine. The majority of the ledgers relate to Isidor Kerstine's business, which existed between 1927 and 1969. They are an important source of information about the way of life and cost of living of the Clarksdale area of the Delta during that period. There are also photographs of Mr. Adolph Kerstine, his three sons, and two of their stores.


8.10 Cubic Feet (total) : 107.B7.F5-G2

Language of Materials



Donated by Ms. Margery Kerstine.

Kerstine Family Business Records
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001