chapter  13
American Institute of Architects
WithDreck Spurlock Wilson
Pages 4

On the 36th anniversary of entering the profession in 1942, and not until Horace Trumbauer had been in the grave four years did Julian Abele begrudgingly apply for membership in the American Institute of Architects his profession’s association. Begrudgingly because for almost a decade he resented the Philadelphia chapter organizationally swallowing-up Abele’s beloved Philadelphia T-Square Club. The challenge for Abele, notwithstanding his race, was recruiting endorsers who were dues paying, respected members and willing to endorse a Negro. Abele turned to three august members of the local chapter with whom he collaborated on the Pennsylvania Museum of Art: Fiske Kimball, FAIA, museum director, Charles Louis Borie, Jr., FAIA, national past-president of the AIA and Erling Pedersen the museum’s in-house architect. On May 7, 1942, Julian Abele was notified of the favorable recommendation of his application for membership. He was the 447th member admitted that year raising the Institute’s year-to-date membership to an all-time high of 3,301. The 19-year gap between Paul Revere Williams the first Negro admitted and Julian Abele can be explained by the degree of racism infecting their respective local chapter. The chapter representing the “City of Angels” gaining more liberality sooner than the chapter representing the “City of Brotherly Love.” Abele became the first Negro member of the Philadelphia chapter.