Max L. Schwartz, 66, former chairman and president of Philipsborn, Inc., a Washington-based retail women's apparel chain, died of congestive heart failure Monday at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.

Mr. Schwartz came to Washington in 1944 and opened his first retail store, the Wardrobe, in Arlington a year later. In 1947, he opened the first of the Greta Stevens chain stores. In 1962, he bought the Philipsborn company, which had a store in downtown Washington.

The firm continued its expansion with the acquisition of Beyda's Petites, another chain, and the Clayton stores in Baltimore. Mr. Schwartz operated all of these stores under the Philipsborn corporate structure and at one time had 81 outlets from Virginia to New Jersey.

In 1971, Philipsborn stock was traded to the public. In 1975, after a period of financial difficulties, the firm was bought by the Outlet Company. Mr. Schwartz retired at that time.

Mr. Schwartz was born in Brooklyn and worked as an insurance investigator in New York before coming to Washington. He spent his first year in Washington working in the clothing store of some relatives. It was the only retail experience he has before opening his first store.

Mr. Schwartz was a noted collector of antique clocks. He also was a Mason and a member of the Washington Hebrew Congregation.

Survivors include his wife. Sylvia, of the home in Potomac; a son, Steven, of New York City; two daughters. Ellen Baker, of Potomac, and Greta Faigen, of Washington and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; a brother, Irving, and a sister, Doris Daszko, both of New York City, and six grandchildren.