Filene, Edward Albert (fĪlēnˈ, fĭl–) [key], 1860–1937, American merchant, b. Salem, Mass. As president of the Boston firm of William Filene's Sons he pioneered in scientific and ingenious methods of retail distribution—the "bargain basement" was one of his innovations. He planned and helped organize the Boston Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce of the United States and served in World War I as chairman of the War Shipping Committee. He was active in civic reform movements and was the founder (1919) of the Cooperative League, which became the Twentieth Century Fund. He wrote several books on business methods and on economics. His liberal economic and political views made him a controversial figure.
See G. W. Johnson, Liberal's Progress (1948).
His brother, Lincoln Filene, 1865–1957, b. Boston, also directed William Filene's Sons and served as business counsel to the federal government after 1933. He played a prominent role in business associations and wrote a number of books and articles on economic problems.
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