Kirstein, Louis Edward

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KIRSTEIN, LOUIS EDWARD (1867–1942), U.S. department store executive and public worker. Kirstein was born in Rochester, New York. Leaving home at 16, he spent seven years as a traveling salesman. In 1912 he joined Filenes, the Boston department store, as vice president, subsequently becoming a director of the other stores in the Federated Group. Kir stein did much to develop Filenes and to advance employee relationships. He played an important part in the public life of Boston, serving as president of the public library and chairman of the port authority. Within the Jewish community his most significant contribution was as president of the Federation of Jewish Charities, where he first assumed leadership in 1919, enlarging its activities and encouraging it to cope with the responsibilities of the depression period. He was also president of the Beth Israel Hospital and chairman of the General Committee of the American Jewish Committee.

[Sefton D. Temkin]