Edward Albert Filene was an American businessman, social entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is best known for building the Filene's department store chain, and for his decisive role in pioneering credit unions across the United States.
Edward was one of 5 children of William Filene and Clara Ballin. William Filene was a German Jewish immigrant from Posen, Prussia, who immigrated to the US in 1848. “A peddler, chiefly of women’s apparel” he built up a company composed of several small retail shops and in 1881, founded a department store in Boston.
After attending high school in Lynn, Massachusetts, Edward passed his entrance exams for Harvard University but gave up his educational ambitions to take over the family business in 1890 when his father became seriously ill. Together with his younger brother Abraham Lincoln Filene, he built the Boston firm of William Filene's Sons, later known as Filene's into a great retail success story.